The paper clip was invented nearly a century ago. Since then,
there have been all sorts of pretenders to the paper clip throne;
plastic triangle clips, Garfield-shaped clips, little tiny binder clips. And yet
none of them are any true threat to the ascendancy of the lowly
metal paper clip, and for an obvious reason: you can't make bendy
shapes out of them. The ability to make bendy shapes at work is
intrinsic to the functioning of high-powered American businesspersons
everywhere; whether animals, sproingy jumping things, or just
abstract expressionist sculpture, bendy paper clip shapes are what
hold this country together.
Most offices are smart enough not to stock the really good pens.
They know that you can give away coffee, pads of paper, floppy disks,
and even low-end computer systems, but the minute you start to
stock nice rollerball pens in an unlocked cabinet, they'll march
on out of there at a rate that would bring the strongest corporation
to its metaphorical knees. Valuable stock has fallen precipitously
on the mere rumor that a company is about to start stocking good pens.
So instead, you get crappy, blotchy, smeary ballpoints in black, red,
and -- if you work for a really off-beat, feel-good company -- blue.
White-Out is not quite as important around the office as it used
to be -- who uses a typewriter anymore? -- but it's still
symbolically vital. It's common knowledge that the mother of former "Monkee" Mike Nesmith
became very wealthy as a result of inventing and patenting
the formula for White-Out. It just goes to show that anyone in
this country can, with sufficient ingenuity and a go-get-it spirit,
make it rich and give birth to a pop star. And isn't that
what we all aspire to? B
Some people like your standard 8.5 x 11 ruled paper.
Others prefer yellow legal paper for its extra doodle space. Me,
I like graph paper. It's great for your basic writing, making it
easy to line up indents in a snappy manner; it's great for graphs,
of course, and I graph things for the heck of it more often than I care to
admit; and it's really great for doodling along the lines to see
what things would have looked like on a late-Seventies video game
system. And there's always the pleasure of impromptu Battleship.
I can see why people might like binders; I prefer unruly stacks. Binders
remind me too much of Junior High, to begin with, and a lot of them
seem like they could take off a couple fingers if you closed the loops
the wrong way. At least in Junior High you had your choice of overexposed
media characters and/or unnecessarily enthusiastic sports slogans on
your binder. At the office you generally get a couple dark shades of
Yet another entry in the fun-but-not-for-what-it's-meant-for race.
I think I've used a staple remover to remove actual staples maybe
twice in my life. I generally just rip the sheets right off the stack; I'm
heartless that way. But I love staple removers anyway, because they represent
one of the few times in life that your employer will supply you with a working
hand puppet. Don't get me wrong; I don't sit and talk out load to my
staple remover. No, I just silently pretend it's talking.
Or sometimes I use it to threaten the phone. A+