Perhaps it’s their simplicity that makes me hate them so. Perhaps it’s the way that they hold on to everything around themselves with a stubborn tenacity. What are we talking about here? Well, paperclips obviously.
I remember as a kid one of my grade school teachers talking about great inventions. Her example of the day was the paperclip. She explained that because of their low material cost as well as the simple design consisting of three bends of a stiff wire, the paperclip could be one of the most profitable and useful inventions ever! Millions are sold every day worldwide! I can remember hearing her enthusiasm for the point she was trying to make and the rally for inspiring young minds to become the next great inventor of our future. I was sitting in the back of the room thinking, “when’s recess?”
Greatest most useful invention ever? I don’t think so. My criteria for judging the “greatest invention ever” would be based upon what it can do for you if you become stranded on a desert island. Good inventions: signal flares, satellite phone, the kayak. If you find yourself alone with nothing but a box of paperclips, water surrounding your every direction, I think in a day or so you’ll find yourself in exactly that same position, hungry and growing weary but in possession of one nifty paperclip chain. You’ll probably poke your eye out too.
I’ll admit that I have taken drastic action within the walls of my own home. I have banished all paperclips from my dwelling. It’s true. Maybe I have serious issues, but whenever I spot one, I immediately grab it toss it directly into the trash can. I’ll bet my wife probably has a stash hidden somewhere. I’ll find them one day and I’ll dispose of them on my own accord. She’ll be better off for it.
I understand that people can become more organized with this wonderful invention. However, every time that I have tried to group more than one pile of papers together with a paperclip, and then stack the two piles up, chaos ensues. I’m sure I did everything right as I stacked the groups of papers together, but whenever I return to retrieve my sorted goodness, the paperclip in the first group has magically grabbed a few papers in the second group and the third group has behaved just as badly. My neatly paper clipped group of three organized sets of papers always turns into one large paper and paperclip mosh pit.
I’m sure I did everything correctly, but there are no directions on the box. If there were directions they would read something like: 1) Gather papers. 2) Apply a paperclip to the group of gathered papers. 3) Handle with the utmost care because soon you will have a jumbled mess on your hand no matter how well you handle these instructions.
And I can almost hear those nasty little paperclips talking. “And you actually thought we would be willing to help you stay organized? We know you think signal flares are more useful than us. Fellow paperclips, rebel! Latch on to several pieces of paper outside of your current group! Rise up and let us join together to form one massive paper montage! And when the day comes that you head to that big shredder in the sky, jam that machine with every last bend of your metal little being!”
Well my little bent pieces of useless wire, I hope you are enjoying the new world order: the paperless office!