I found these little gems selling for $1.49. The rubber bracelets have titles on them for the wearer like DIVA, VIP and FEARLESS. I couldn’t find any for LAMEWAD, SKEEZY or MEDIOCRE, which I felt were a more accurate reflection of the intended wearer. Ah, c’est la vie…
The phenomena started by cyclist Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong campaign against cancer has become nothing short of incredible. When they first came out, you could buy a bright yellow silicone bracelet for one single dollar and wear it around. I was working in a bar during the height of their popularity and, to me, people seemed to think it made them appear very compassionate and cosmopolitan because the bracelets were charitable-giving public receipts. Apparently it also made buyers feel instantly like athletes of Tour De France caliber.
Although the Livestrong bracelets came from a good cause, the trend it started was one of those things that will forever be associated with the first decade of the millennium. Like flapper dresses from the 1920s, bell bottoms from the 1960s and side ponytails in the 1980s, teenagers for decades to come will wrap their arms in silicone and dress up as douche bags from the 2000s for Halloween.
Anyone trying to raise money for anything has some color of silicone bracelet around. People can give money and feel like they are actually buying something tangible since buying karma doesn’t quite work out and just feeling good about yourself doesn’t last as long as silicone.
The problem with silicone is that it doesn’t biodegrade. Some bacteria can break it down, but if you throw one or two or 500 million in a landfill, they just sit there. Forever. Some get washed into waterways and damage the wildlife. And some sit in people’s homes for the next 50 years and then the kids clean the house out and they all go to a landfill anyway because you can’t exactly sell them, give them away in an estate sale or pay someone other than a Refuse Collections Expert to remove them from your life forever.
People reuse silicone bracelets but not really as something that they couldn’t do without — like as rubber bands or as a means of identifying your beer at a barbeque. It’s too bad Lance didn’t make something out of a natural fiber like hemp or cotton for Livestrong, but he didn’t.