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Off-Balance Sheet: Foam Fingers Under Attack

By the foam finger industry sits back and coolly counts their money, a small but vocal coalition of outraged citizens is finally starting to be heard.


Relax, it's only money. Here in the 'Ville we like to keep things smart, but we also love to laugh. All work and no know how it goes. With that in mind we give you The "Off-Balance Sheet," a place where Minyans can experience humorous takes on the world of finance, personal stories from our Professors and Minyans and all the other stuff that makes life worth living. So take a break from the flickering ticks and dive in.

With attendance at sporting events, both amateur and professional, at an all-time high, the foam finger industry is enjoying record profits and continuing expansion. Now that the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament is upon us, foam fingers are once again in the national spotlight.

The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry, working in conjunction with the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Industry Producers' Statistics Group, regularly produces a variety of data and reports for the polyurethane industry-polyurethane being the traditional base material for foam fingers.

They cover everything one needs to know about the business, including:

When I realized that the reports were going to set me back $1500 plus $50 shipping, I decided to take a pass on the numbers and just say that the foam finger companies are doing very, very well.

Traditionally, the most popular design has always been the "We're #1" foam finger, as pictured below:

Other designs include:

  • The slightly less popular, but equally communicative "We're #2" foam finger:

  • The "We're #3" foam finger for the more modest sports fan:

  • The "We're #4" foam finger for those fans who are just happy to be there:

  • The brutally honest "We're #5" foam finger:

  • The official finger of the Wichita State Shockers:

  • And, the foam finger for the sports fan who just can't get enough shellfish racing:

But, as the foam finger industry sits back and coolly counts their money, a small but vocal coalition of outraged citizens is finally starting to be heard. And who are these people who protest, as they say, the "public's callous use of oversized fingers for their own amusement?"


Macrodactylics are people (most commonly males) afflicted with a condition called macrodactyly, which, in layman's terms, means "the state of having abnormally large digits." In most cases, only one finger is involved-usually the index finger. Surgical treatment is complex and sometimes, amputation is the only solution.

Several theories exist about the cause of macrodactyly. Some believe that the condition is due to an abnormal nerve supply to the affected digit while others blame an abnormality in the blood vessels and blood supply in the area. Although neither theory has been proven, evidence suggests that nerves have some control over the growth of tissue.

Although it occurs at birth, macrodactyly is not an inherited condition. It can occur in association with neurofibromatosis and vascular malformations. Children with multiple echondromatosis, Maffuci syndrome and tuberous sclerosis can have enlarged fingers, as well.

A macrodactyly sufferer and a man who obviously missed breakfast

"St. John's changed the name of their basketball team from the Redmen to the Red Storm, so as not to offend Native Americans," one macrodactylic told me. "Why is it okay for tens of thousands of sports fans to humiliate us time and time again with these incredibly hateful giant foam fingers?"

Verging on tears, she paused to compose herself, then continued.

"All the foam finger companies want to do is make a buck. They don't care about our feelings. We're people, too. Why can't they pick on someone with fingers their own size?"

I contacted the owner of, a foam finger company out of the confusingly-named Indiana, Pennsylvania, to ask him what he thought the future held for foam fingers, given the recent emergence of anti-foam finger groups.

Even though he claimed not to have heard anything about it, I could tell he was downplaying the seriousness of the situation.

"Where did you hear about this?" he asked cagily.

When I told him that the anti-foam finger movement was all over the press, he got testy and quickly hung up.

Where do foam finger makers go from here? That's something for them to worry about after March Madness. Like CPA's during tax season, foam finger manufacturers don't come up for air until the final buzzer sounds.

Once they do, they'd better be prepared to fend off a whole lot of macrodactylics looking to serve up a nice, cold dish of revenge.

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