Some things are indescribable but according to the enquiring friend, I have been making ‘doinks’, “a ball of a single material.” Yay! A new term to help place these pieces. I asked him about the origin of ‘doink’, which he said was a word supplied by another artist friend, and could possibly be Finnish or Mennonite.
I was so hoping it was Finnish as those are my people but all translator sites came up zip for ‘doink.’ I became obsessed and pushed him to supply the contact info for this friend (all while he was en route to Paris) and before long this friend-of-a-friend and I were tangled up in possible roots of this nice, naughty-sounding word.
“I wonder if the word comes from the sound the doink makes when it hits something?” she mused. “Doinks are one of the only things I remember being allowed to throw at someone, and throw inside the house.” She knew the expression from her dad, who grew up in Winnipeg, but her husband was also familiar with ‘doink.’
“It was a generally used word from the ‘70s,” he said. “Always in the context of something crumpled that you could throw, like tape.”
Anecdotal evidence reveals it is not in common usage among kids - in these parts, anyway - and there’s no sign of it as a descriptor for an orb in any online slang dictionaries. It may be an archaeic, onomatopoeiac classroom term referring to any orbital projection that is beaned (another great, graphic schoolyard word) at a classmate when the teacher’s back is turned, resulting in neither noise nor injury.
Based on my research and interviews, I have concluded that I am in fact not making doinks, as any one of these single-material spheres could cause significant bruising (the one made of barge tow rope weighs in at 20 pounds) or at least an uncomfortable sliming (10 pounds of kelp will do that).
So I’ve come up with a term of my own that I hope takes root for these hefty natural-fibre wound balls: Orbbits.