Silly Bandz hit it big in 2010.

Screenshot by HowStuffWorks.com

Certainly we've all looked at a popular invention -- maybe a paper clip, or a series of teen vampire novels -- and thought with a sneer, "I could've thought up that stupid thing, made a billion dollars and finally have shown everyone how very important I could be." When you find yourself filled with this kind of jealous rage and want to make yourself even more insane with anger, consider the case of Silly Bandz.

Silly Bandz are rubber bands. Technically -- as we'll see later on -- Silly Bandz are made of a silicone rubber that can be molded into a shape (say, a dinosaur or a princess). But here's the thing that makes boring old bands into Silly Bandz: You can stretch them out to wear as bracelets, only to have them pop right back into their shape when you take them off.

What, not amazed? Then maybe you'll be impressed to learn that Robert Croak, who is the CEO of BCP Imports, the company that makes Silly Bandz, raked in $200 million dollars' worth of sales in 2010 [source: Sealover]. Cue the jealous rage and add in some bewilderment.

But like all good trends, was this one just another flash in the pan, flaring quickly and sputtering out just as fast? (For reference, you might want to check out How Jelly Shoes Worked for a dramatic fizzle of a fad.)

We'll find out -- and get our silly on-- in the next few pages.