7 July 2017

Published July 5, 2017 by rochellewisoff

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Genre: Hysterical Fiction

Word Count: 100

GEM OF AN IDEA

            Darren scratched his ear with a straightened paperclip. Gina slapped it from his hand. “Stop! You’ll perforate your eardrum!”

            “Then I won’t havta hear your nagging.”

            “Ohhh, just do your homework.”

            “Do your own.” He rolled his eyes. “Sisters.”

            “My report’s done.” She stacked three typewritten pages and paper-clipped the corners together. “Consider the lowly paperclip. Know who invented it?”

            “Who cares?”

            “Some think it was Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian. But it was actually an American, William D. Middlebrook, who even patented the machine to make them in 1899. Whaddya think?”  

            “I think you need to get a life.”

*

*

107 comments on “7 July 2017

    • Dear Neel,

      There’s more than one way to tell a story ;). It’s those mundane articles we use every day that we don’t think of as having historical value. We take the paperclip for granted, don’t we? Thank you for your lovely comment. You started my day with a smile.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 2 people

  • You do manage to ferret out the most unusual facts from the dusty pile of history and bring them to life, Rochelle. Well done! When you investigate the pedigree of a discovery it generally turns out that many people were involved, though history likes heroes (patent law even more so) and likes to assign credit to a single individual. As Isaac Newton (not the most self-effacing of men) said, “If I have seen further than others, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Real history can be fascinating. Alexander Graham Bell beat another inventor to the patent office with the telephone, by only a few hours. Guglielmo Marconi stole the radio from Nikola Tesla, who was too much of an absent-minded professor to notice, or care. 😯

      Liked by 4 people

        • In elementary school I composed a Public Speaking piece about Thomas Edison. Research revealed that he was not an inspired genius , but rather, a hardworking drudge. He saw a need, and toiled toward filling it. A visitor once commented on the failure of a battery that he was trying to develop. Edison denied that the test was a failure. “We now know 10,000 ways that it doesn’t work.”
          I’ve since been able to visit his workshops at the Ford Museum, on a Detroit trip. Well worth it. 🙂

          Like

    • Dear Neil,

      Thomas Edison is credited with the invention of moving pictures. The widow of inventor Louis Le Prince accused Edison of murdering her husband. Nothing was ever proven, but the question remains. I like the Isaac Newton quote…he was probably more honest and honorable than the others.
      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Björn,

      I wasn’t much of a student in high school and, by then, my brother was off serving in the US Air Force. But we did have the fine art of sibling rivalry down to a science. 😉 Thank you for coming by. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I love this story, Rochelle. Besides the true-to-life little scene of quarreling siblings, there’s the interesting bit of information about the history of paper clips. I love them and have a couple boxes of plastic -coated ones in different colors. They have a longer shelf life. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  • I love this. I wrote a story once about King C Gillette, whose good friend had invented the bottle cap and become fabulously rich. Gillette stumped himself for weeks trying to come up with a similarly profitable and useful invention. One morning he sliced hell out of his cheek with his straight razor and thus began his quest to invent a safer way to shave.

    Like

    • I don’t know how true this is, but my wife told me that women shaving their legs and armpits is relatively recent. Some razor company marketed the idea as a way to double their sales, not because women shaving has any sort of hygiene benefits.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I checked several sources, and at Today I Found Out, I discovered the following quote:

          When did our modern-day obsession with silky-smooth armpits and legs first take hold? As far as armpits are concerned, we can pinpoint it almost to the day. In May of 1915, the upscale magazine Harper’s Bazaar ran an ad featuring a young model in a sleeveless, slip-like dress posing with both arms over her head.

          You may be thinking, “So what?” Well, up until that time, fashion – and propriety – dictated that women were covered to the wrist and to the ankle. A dress that exposed the underarms was nothing short of revolutionary. In fact, just the utterance of the word “underarm” out loud was enough to call for the smelling salts mere weeks earlier. Now, it was becoming perfectly acceptable. It also meant since underarms were body parts that had always been covered, whether or not they needed shaving had been a moot point and little discussed. If it didn’t show, why bother? And yet, here was an ad cajoling women that it was necessary to remove “objectionable” hair. To think just days earlier women had no idea such a problem even existed!

          There were several marketing strategies employed to lure women into jumping on the shaving bandwagon, most of which appealed to the timeless desire to be trendy. The obsession worked its way down to the middle class slowly but surely, as sleeveless and sheer dresses became popular among that demographic. Women’s razors and depilatories were finally being offered for sale in the Sears Roebuck catalog in 1922. This was the same year they started to sell – you guessed it – sleeveless and sheer dresses.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      A little research can takes us farther than we ever expect it to go, can’t it? 😉 We’re all grateful to King Gillette for a clean, blood-free shave. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Rochelle, only you would write a story about the inventor of the paperclip. 😀

    I’m wondering if this is a prompt for *Friday* fictioneers, why are we doing this on Wednesday? Just curious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear James,

      It seems there’s a history behind everything if you take the time to look. This was a fun write. 😉
      Originally, the idea of posting the prompt on Wednesday was to give us a couple of days to write our stories and edit before posting them on Friday. I’m not sure when it became a race to post on Wednesday. At any rate, it was already put into practice when I joined. When I inherited the challenge 6 months later, I chose to leave it alone and to keep the name Friday Fictioneers in deference to the creator and the first followers. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Nanner, nanner, poo, poo! So there, Brother! 😀

    This was not only a fun read but, once again, you have given us something to think about! You are a Beast! (in today’s lingo, that’s a cool thing…)

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I will never see paperclips quite the same again, as you’ve brought them to life in a memorable snippet. Of course paperclips haven’t been there forever, but it’s one of those commonplace things that most of us don’t give a second thought to … except for clever clogs like you 😉

    The banter between brothers and sisters … I remember it well!

    All best wishes,
    Sarah

    Like

  • Lord knows how many offices would have collapsed into chaos without the paperclip. An argument could be made that paperclips saved Western Civilization (along with beer)! 😉 Great story, Rochelle! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • O those lovely paperclips, I have more than I will ever be able to use. Perhaps I should give them to my sister. I think I know what she would say!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Oh the many uses of the lowly paper clip. I’ve given many of them a new purpose. Now as to sibling rivalry, when I teased my sister, I got a hunk of lead, or rock, to the forehead. We still continue to this day. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jan,

      Knowing what an ornery boy you were, I tend to side with Sis. After that haircut you gave her…Now she’s getting back at you by cooking you to high cholesterol 😉
      What would we do without the paperclip…or siblings? ❤

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • It’s these little inventions that we take for granted, isn’t it? What would we do without the paperclip? Without the safety pin? Sellotape? Zips? The world would be a less convenient and duller place without them. Love that early advert and the patent illustration is a joy! Lovely tale, Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      Oh! I might have to do something on the history of the safety pin. I remember using them to fasten diapers–nappies to you 😉 By my third it was all disposable with taped sides. But yes, we do take those little mundane inventions for granted and most certainly have no clue who invented them. Glad you enjoyed. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry for the late reply – finally back online. Yes, the conveniences that just make life so much easier. Can you imagine life without sellotape / Scotch tape? As a florist, I really can’t – we use rolls and rolls of the stuff. Or zips or velcro or press studs or staples or matches … The list goes on forever, doesn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Oholibamah,

    I suppose you’ll follow this up with a sequel about all the ways a paper clip can be employed to enhance personal hygiene? Perhaps Kent could create a little video to accompany it. An enlightening piece as always.

    P.S. – I almost didn’t spot you in box 23. You’re really bouncing around the Hollywood Squares panel these days. Is this a result of entering the witness protection program?

    Happy hiding,
    Fingers

    Like

    • Dear Fingers,

      Actually I slept until the incredibly late hour of 0600 Wednesday morning. After a late night of fun and fireworks I just couldn’t get up. Sorry to confuse you. On the other hand the cat herder likes to keep the kitties on their toes.
      As for paperclip hygiene…there’s a wealth of things they can be used for. Fires the imagination, doesn’t it? Thank you for taking the time to find herself amongst the Hollywood squares.

      Shalom,

      Oholibamah

      Liked by 1 person

  • Querida Rochelle,
    Very clever way of presenting sibling rivalry and the thievery of inventions.
    I must admit I love paper clips. I seem to have an issue with staplers or they with me. They always find my fingers and … OUCH !!!
    Muy bien escrito, mi amiga. La semana sea ido muy ligero.
    Abrazos y Shalom,
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Querida Isadora,

      Staplers can be a lethal weapon against the user, can’t they? Gracias. Estoy contento por tu semana, mi amiga.

      Abrazos y shalom.

      PS If I said that wrong blame Google translate. 😉

      Like

  • Sibling persiflage and this was the scene in my house.

    The humble paper clip has/had enormous use but was always relegated to the corners as other stationery like pen paper were important. with Rochelle’s story and prompt this stationery has taken centre-stage.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’m with Darren here. She seems to be a bit of a know it all. Nothing wrong with knowledge, but there comes a point where it just gets annoying. Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I love trivia and as a school kid knew all sort of irrelevant facts. Gem of story.
    Of course the most common type of wire paper clip still in use, the Gem paper clip, was never patented, but it was most likely in production in Britain in the early 1870s by “The Gem Manufacturing Company. Paper clips are still sometimes called “Gem clips”, and in Swedish the word for any paper clip is “gem”. 😉

    Like

    • Thanks for clicking the link and checking out the story, Nobbin. Yes, Mr. Middlebrook was more savvy than Mr. Hunt. And neither invention is really thought of that much, yet they are important to our everyday existence. Thanks again. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

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