There is nothing so strange and unsettling as a "craze" as embraced by children. Chatter rings. Eating raw jelly crystals. Hula hoops. The popularity of these things spread as easily among the young as do chicken pox or nits. And it doesn't seem to matter whether the inherent appeal is, well, a bit of a mystery. Chatter rings, for instance. They were massive and I never understood why. I mean, spinning a noisy metal loop for hours on end for no pay. Sounds more like something from a Dickensian poor house than an enjoyable childish endeavour.
But I have long since given up trying to figure out the why of such things. Now I simply shrug in acceptance of the simply fact that children are, if not mentally ill, certainly on the "eccentric" side of the human behaviour spectrum.
Mind you, that was before I heard about a recent Japanese school craze for "eyeball licking". Now, the sceptic in me says that the idea of Japanese children licking each other's eyeballs for fun or, as the article claims, as "an expression of intimacy" is blatantly absurd and that someone has taken a break from making crop circles to spread silly ideas on the Internet. But then I remember about kids being super-weird and it starts to sound plausible.
According to the story, this craze has led to a noticeable increase in eye infections and the wearing of eye-patches among certain school populations, so perhaps the next craze could be "pirating" where eye-patches become chic and kids everywhere become unusually interested in parrots, large hoop earrings and Scottish pirate folk metal bands.
Needless to say, I will not be partaking in this particular craze. Though the Silver Fox and I are quite close, I can't see him being interested in any eyeball licking. After all, this is the man who gets squirmy watching me put in my contact lenses each morning (he must have seen this hundreds of times - surely he should be desensitised to it by now?) so the idea that he might be able to make contact with my eyeball and not be completely grossed out by it is slim to non-existent.
There's also the small matter of my experience with upsetting eyeball injury. Once you've had something painful and unpleasant happen to your eye, you're not keen to go there again.
So do you have any thoughts on the quite frankly bizarre (and I'm hoping fictional) practice of eyeball licking? What strange crazes were popular when you were at school? What do you recall being the appeal at the time?