Creativity: An essential use in emergency surgery

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The Independent Culture
A PAPER-CLIP, when baited with an aphid, makes an excellent earwig trap, according to Mollie Caird. That was the oddest response to our request for creative uses for a paper-clip, though others were not far behind, writes William Hartston.

Mark Jones reminds us that the French for paper-clip is trombone, and suggests its use as part of the brass section of a miniature French orchestra. He also recommends it as an executive toy 'to be bent and unbent until it or the user reaches breaking point', although that, surely, is the primary use of paper-clips anyway?

Most popular was clipping them together to make chain mail, with R Naylor proposing the design of matching chastity belts and codpieces made of paper-clips. He also advised hanging them around the coast in long chains to keep out locusts.

Jack Herberg gave a long explanation of how a paper-clip was used to at Witwatersrand University in the 1950s to avoid paying for telephone calls, while Marcia Butterwick's paper-clip experience came on the National Health: The scene is the emergency department of a hospital, the doctor has examined Marcia's painful blood clot under a squashed fingernail: 'Without saying anything, he lit his bunsen burner, unbent a paper-clip, heated the end in the flame, and calmly burnt a little hole in the nail, relieving the clot. I was in and out of there is less than five minutes. Would that it were like that today.'

Dogs made their obligatory appearance in several people's suggestions. Nick Smith fashions his paper-clips into snow shoes for Yorkshire terriers to save them from being lost in snow-filled pavement cracks. If this results in a population explosion of the beasts, he proposes melting the paper-clips down to make gin traps to eliminate them again.

Joe Ford uses them to form a canine choke-chain, while Jan Lennard's whippet-lurcher has a 75mm paperclip as a back-up fastener on his leash, which he can otherwise spring open with a flick of the head.

Other ideas: Electrified fence for flea circus (Robert Love), fishhook designed by a committee, Titania's clothes pegs or sculpture of a laid-back staple (all Bill Hodnett), bent into letter shapes to advertise paper-clips (name undecipherable), aerial for toy car (Norman Elliott).

This week, we have a different creative challenge: A Melbourne life assurance company is currently running a campaign with the slogan 'Never sharpen your boomerang'. On another tack, Peter de Vries once advised 'Never get close to a woman who pronounces both 'd's in the word Wednesday'. Similarly life-enhancing pieces of advice will be eagerly received at Creativity, the Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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