Last week, while explaining the Paperclip Bar, it occurred to me that most people probably only have experience with the tamed paperclips we see on our desks: handfuls upon handfuls of the bowed Silverbacks. Sad, listless creatures having finally succumbed to a bitter end.
Before spirits dull and rusting sets in, before the capture and packaging of their mighty Silverbacks, all wild paperclips have surprisingly complex, though tinny social structures, and there are also severe environmental obstacles to their survival. The gargantuan size difference in most objects, for example… It is a little-known story of the lone office supply which is, in fact, not.
Paperclips are sweet, noble creatures who face worse challenges than we do–and this has been true since the onset of the modern age. Paperclips struggle simply because they are so small, made of metal, and sometimes encased in pretty, pretty plastic, and also really, very good at holding delicate things together (whenever a stapler can’t be found). Much as in the wild, where paperclips are closely linked to their own families.
Here, the Silverback protects his family–called a herd, or sometimes a Chain–while they feast on berries in the trees. Paperclips are natural climbers, being able to use strong, smooth jaws to fasten paper-thin leaves up against their flat bodies. Once low-hanging foliage is found, it is then only a matter of sliding up the leaf, clipping successively higher to eventually reach food and safety in the emerald canopy. One can also observe from the picture that the young, called cubs or cliplings**, must link together in order to climb as well as their parents. It is a useful protection technique too, as they will seem much larger and mature in the trees when chained, often dissuading predators from attack.
And, from what do such harmless little creatures have to fear predation? The natural defenses of paperclips seem to suggest many thousands of years of evolution. Paperclips have long been defending themselves against something more ancient and menacing than the large, nationwide office supply conglomerates (we’ll talk about the cruelty of staple-shooting machines later).
Sadly, so much about wild paperclips is still unknown. But thankfully, our photographer, who seems to have gained the trust of the Silverback, has offered to go on safari and risk herself for one week in order to try and unravel so many mysteries…
(To Be Continued)
**Note: Young paperclip cliplings are often packaged as ‘mini-paperclips’ in the black market office supplies trade where, beyond the cruelty of it, that term is a gross misnomer when the little ones don’t possess jaws strong enough to defend themselves, as do their parents.
More Paperclip Safari! and Mi’Raah later this week, homies.
(Randitty-O-Meter: ??, Let’s wait and see how wonderfully weird this gets, first.)