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Rubber Thimbles

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Rubber thimbles are sometimes called thimblettes. They are little rubber covers which can be fitted over a finger or thumb, approximately as far down as the first knuckle. The inside of the thimble is smooth and unmarked, making it easy to place upon the finger. The outside of the thimble is usually finished off with a neat ridge, or collar, around the opening. Above this is a relatively smooth band where the maker's name may be embossed and above that is row upon row of small rubber pimples, which cover the remaining surface of the thimble.

The idea is that wearing the thimble may assist anybody flicking through a selection of pieces of paper. The rubber pimples give a slight gripping effect, allowing the user to move a single sheet of paper quickly and accurately. This might include counting banking notes, looking up references in books or checking through forms or tickets. In use, the rubber thimble removes the need for the unattractive and often unhygienic habit of licking one's finger when carrying out these tasks.

A rubber thimble is also a most excellent addition to any desk as a simple, but endlessly satisfying, fidget toy. These are some of the most common thimble fidgets:

Turning the Thimble Inside Out

Push one digit into the pimply end of the thimble and then roll it down that digit until it has completely inverted. The pimples are now on the inside and they produce a pleasingly tickling effect against the skin. The fascinatingly smooth and curved interior of the thimble is exposed.

Turning the Thimble the Right Way Around Again

This is not a case of simply reversing the process described above. The pimples will grip onto each other as the end of the thimble is pushed through. It is usually necessary to resort to a more physical, two-handed method of forcing the thimble through. This fidget is popular because of the satisfying ripping noise that the pimples make against each other.

The Navel

Turn the thimble one third inside out and then turn the collar of the thimble down one third. You know have reduced the thimble to a third of its original height. One side is pimply and makes a perfect, neat little round bowl, just big enough for a couple of map pins. The other side is entirely smooth rubber, and looks rather like a belly button.

Flicking the Thimble

The rubber thimble is a more gentle alternative to the use of the rubber band as a projectile. The technique takes a little while to master, but can be surprisingly satisfying. Hold out the little finger on your right hand. Take the thimble, upside down, in your right fist and push the domed end gently onto the little finger of your left hand until the thimble is approximately one third inverted. Aim your little finger and then let go of the thimble with your right hand. The thimble should spring gently into the air and may travel as much as eight feet. Being rubber, it may bounce in surprising directions if it hits anything.

The Suction Cup

As rubber thimbles are, by definition, rubber, it is quite easy to persuade them to stick onto all sorts of surfaces, especially human skin. Try placing the thimble over your thumb, tilting you thumb within the thimble until it blocks the opening entirely, and then squeezing the air from the thimble. It should now be forcibly fastened to your thumb, at a jaunty angle, with the end of the thimble humorously squashed in. Alternatively, try using this process to attach the thimble to your nose, or simply squeeze the open end against your forehead, chin or cheek to attach it there. A word of warning, this practice may leave curious marks on your skin if carried out for any length of time.

Enjoy playing with your rubber thimble. Other than the aforementioned curious marks, the only other drawback to thimble fidgeting is the pervasive smell of rubber on your hands. The average thimble will perish and lose its springiness after approximately 12 months of use, so make the most of any thimble while it is still young and fresh.

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