Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Homage to the Paper Clip

The other day I was digging around in my desk drawer for a pen, and I had to push aside a few boxes of paper clips to get to the back. I briefly glanced at bilingual labeling on a box of Jumbo Paper Clips and chuckled to myself after reading "Trombones Geants." It brought to mind a marching band of giants all playing giant brass instruments. I put it out of my mind and got back to work. I didn't think anything of it until a few weeks later when I noticed that most of our paper clips were labeled as "Trombones". It turns out that the French call paper clips trombones, and when you consider the shape of the typical wire paper clip it is an apt name. Sadly, the Spanish translation for paper clip, sujetapapeles, is more literal and a lot less interesting.

The Wikipedia article on paper clips is long and boring.  I didn't waste a lot of time reading the details, but here is a good generalization for you.  Nobody quite knows who made the first paper clip or what it looked like because nobody ever bothered to draw it.  A lot of people have come up with odd stories involving paper clips and most of them aren't true.  Probably the most interesting part of that Wikipedia article is the current defacement "i like bologna and cheese."

If you've ever worked on Apple products of almost any vintage you no doubt have or had a straightened paper clip in your tool arsenal.  It was neccessary to remove any stuck disk for a number of years and they even distributed paper clips as an official tool to remove the SIM card from your iPhone at one point.

Even more recently Lindsey Lohan made the news due to some complications with her alcohol detecting leg shackle.  Some gossip magazines say that she once attempted to remove it using a paper clip.  She of course denied anything like that happening.  Maybe she was just trying to swap the SIM card in her iPhone while holding it near her ankle.  It isn't my place to say.

Well there shouldn't be anything stopping you from buying an excess of paper clips and doing whatever you want with them.  Use them to hold papers together or straighten them and use them to fidget around with electronics. If you're extremely outgoing why not try to fold them into the old jumping paper clip toy.


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