A Tangle is a loop of macaroni-like plastic pieces linked together into a single band like the Pop-it beads of yore. You can twist and turn and coil and loop - and never actually tangle the thing into anything untanglable.

Think of it as finger-fodder - something to keep your hands occupied so you can free your mind to concentrate on what people may or may not be actually saying. There's just enough complexity in the way the thing coils and twists to intrigue you out of boredom, enough flexibility and pliancy to ease you out of anxiety. They're a kind of "don't-worry beads." Instead of worrying, you worry your Tangle.

Give everyone a Tangle at your next meeting and you set the stage for the convoluted conceptual calisthenics of concentrated creativity. So to speak. You also create a possibility for some highly playful interaction, should the need arise. Because the Tangle is made of pieces that can be relatively easily popped apart and, with sufficient force, snapped together, Tangle-equipped participants can, should the spirit so move them, tangle their Tangles together. Tangles can be linked like loops in a chain or joined into one big chain. Colors can be combined. Patterns created. Tangles can be knotted together to create actually tangled Tangles.

Tangles can set the stage for an informal, unstructured, nonverbal, creative dialogue that can bring people together just when the diversity of perspectives and understandings threatens to set them apart. In the joining and separating of Tangles, people create an undercurrent of communication. The toy not only helps minds stay constructively occupied, but also helps whole human beings stay connected. Combining, exchanging and untangling tangled Tangles, people connect and affirm their presence in each other's lives.