Clip Joint
Off the Wall, Sept 25, 2009

Last month, I stopped in at a local office and chit-chatted with an employee for a few minutes. One thing led to another and before you knew it, we got on the subject of paper clips. She told me she had accumulated quite a number and didn’t know what to do with them all. I was truly amazed, for there are so many uses. I told her there are 1000 uses for paper clips. Looking down at some papers, she rolled her eyes upward, never changing her expression. I could sense her disbelief. I then blurted out, “Would you like me to write a story about them?” She nodded affirmatively and told me she would be looking forward to it. After departing from the clip joint, I knew I better get to it. I didn’t want her to think I forgot.

First of all, I have to admit, I don’t think there are 1000 uses, but then who am I to tell you something that just may be true. What will follow are definite examples of what others and I have done with these four or six-inch pieces of wire to make them useful other than holding papers together. Are you ready? Let’s start by telling you my ways. Then if there is still room, I will add the others and their applications.

Using the bigger clips, they have worked fantastic to hold doors closed, bent over screws or through eye screws. I have one hanging off my desk to hold my air hose to my oxygen tank so I not only know where to find it, but keep it off the ground. When I had my store, I used to bend them inserting one end into pegboard holes and the other end bent to hold products. I could put clips where hooks could not be placed.

I use paper clips for fishing. I stick the wire through one of the rod line guide rings allowing me to clip on a wooden bobber of any weight for optional distance.

I have a desk lamp which provides illumination for my reference material. Onto it, I tied a rubber band. Hanging from it is a paper clip allowing me to suspend a calendar.

I couldn’t tell you how many Christmas ornaments I have hung from the dozens of trees using paper clips. A matter of fact, they are most useful hanging most anything from anything as long as what one is hanging is not too heavy.

Here we go with the others taken from Yahoo! Answers website: Hem holder, cigar filter unstopper, spray bottle unclogger, eye glass repair, hair barrette, zipper tab (helped me keep the barn door closed many times), clean fingernails, unclog Elmer’s glue bottle, belt holder, emergency cotter pin (used one for my axle on my cart, recently), emergency diaper pin, unclog baby bottle nipples, strawberry huller, cherry pit remover, hymn marker (for organists), a substitute for the thingy that holds the scotch tape in a tape dispenser, a substitute for a twisty-tie to close a plastic bag, poke snoozing parishioner (none of those in our church!!!), clean the little roller thingies in your mouse ( a computer tool), and a pastor’s helper to assist in making sure he turns the right number of pages in the altar book while conducting the Communion liturgy.

Oh, but wait, there are more, lots more. Here we go: clean the shaft on your mechanical pencil, let children make a necklace or bracelet by letting them string them together, toenail cleaner, emergency tie tack (used this many times behind my ties – works really great!) , spell “happy birthday” on a cake for the office workaholic, sprint for minor injuries of fingers and toes, makeshift antenna for small electronics, nose weight for paper airplanes (can’t tell you how many airplanes my dad and I built where we used these for weights), emergency key chain (funny, just thought of this idea when I found a loose key in my pocket. Guess it wasn’t original), pipe cleaner, lottery ticket scratcher, chain link, hold temple to glasses when screw is lost (been there, done that), hold up the exhaust system under the car, let the air out of your tire when you over-fill it, and hold the cavity closed while baking your Thanksgiving turkey.

A gent had a whacky contribution as well. “Take a box to the beach and scatter them about to drive the guy with the metal detector nuts!”

Maybe these will provide some insight?

- Paul J. Volkmann
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