Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ode to the paper clip

I think my friend really likes paper clips.
Well, duct tape is a favorite repair material of mine, of course; although, as with most people, I have never used it on a duct. I have a roll of 3M Black duct tape, which has been used to secure the rubber ends of the temples of my sun glasses, among other uses. The 99¢ Store has colored tape, which allows even more creative uses of the tape.

Paper clips are among my favorite materials for improvised devices and repairs. They can be used, after straightening, to open a stuck optical drive. I sometimes use a straightened one to ream out the hole of the pilot light in a gas kitchen stove.

Paper clips have been used by me to make temporary test connections of low voltage wiring, speaker hookups, etc. I have used straightened paper clips heated over the gas flame of the kitchen stove to burn holes in plastic objects, to make funnels, lubricating oilers, and sieves. They can even make temporary cotter pins. And, who among us has not used a bent clip to open a rudimentary lock, for which the key was lost?

Small snips of copper tubing make dandy, if ugly, sleeves with which to crimp electrical wires together.

Paper clamps rival paper clips in utility. They keep my water bottles form rolling in the refrigerator, close sugar, chips, cracker, and cookie packages, and hold miscellaneous things together, or allow them to hang. Also, I use them to clamp large groups of paper.

Twisties are enormously helpful. You can even buy a coil of the plastic coated wire, with a little cutter, to custom size them. But, re-used twisties seal plastic food bags, and are dandy wire and cable organizers.

And, we have not even started on bungee cords. Further, I have made tools of plastic coat hangers, the barrels of ballpoint pens, parts of nail clippers, and many other common materials.

But, the greatest technical advance in history, along with the process to make huge batches of steel, is the paper clip. How would civilization have survived without it? Was there civilization before its development?

And, other than desktop computers, all digital technology since then has contributed only to the dumbing of citizens, the loss of privacy, and the mass development of nearsightedness.

Not to mention the rudeness of people talking loudly on cell phones in public places. Even smart phones are not smart enough to compensate for such inconsideration.

But, in comparison, the paper clip has surely saved civilization.

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