A toy, made of a wooden tube with a dowel rod attached to a bullet-shaped cone. The dowel has a notch near the free end so that when it is inserted into the wooden tube, the notch is supposed to hook over a rubber band passed through the tube near the far end from the opening. It is called an "Idiot stick" because the dowel is not long enough to hook the rubber band so that when it is pulled out it will snap back into the tube when released. The operator must squeeze the bullet end and thereby propel the dowel back with the illusion it is being done by the rubber band. The "victim" will try for a long time to hook the rubber band, therefore looking like an idiot--especially when it is finally explained to him!
Search for "idiot stick" and you will find pictures of them for sale under Americana or folk crafts.
by Doc Conner January 03, 2009