Office Supplies: The Movie

You’re at the office, and you want to clip some papers together, but there are no paper clips in your desk drawer. So you go to the supply cabinet, and there are no paper clips there either. As you walk back to your desk, you realize there weren’t any empty spaces on any of the supply cabinet shelves, which implies there are never paper clips in the cabinet, which can mean only one thing: you’ve somehow been transported to an alternate universe that’s identical to ours in every way except that the paper clip was never invented.

You begin to panic. You break into a run, and when you reach your office, you fling open your desk drawer. Your stapler is still there. You can breathe again. You force yourself to calm down, to focus. How long has this been going on? When was the last time you saw a paper clip? When was the last time paper clips came up in conversation? Has it been days? Weeks? Months? You can’t remember.

Maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe you can use this to your advantage somehow. You toy with the idea of “inventing” the paper clip yourself. You could patent it, collect royalties on every paper clip ever sold, and make huge amounts of money. But without competition, the stapler industry is probably much more powerful in this world, and they probably won’t take too kindly to the idea of another fastener hitting the market. What kind of tactics would they use to prevent that from happening? Would they resort to violence? You decide to proceed with caution. Also, you have some doubts about the ethics of claiming this invention as your own.

Maybe you’re wrong. Maybe there’s another explanation. Maybe if you just walk into someone’s office and ask them for a paper clip, they’ll open their desk drawer and hand one to you. Or maybe they’ll just sit there, looking confused, and you won’t know whether they’re unfamiliar with the concept or whether they just didn’t hear you. If no one’s ever heard of a paper clip, then “do you have any paper clips” just sounds like gibberish, and you can’t let your colleagues think you’re standing around babbling incoherently all day. You’ll need to explain it away somehow. You almost settle on “Paper clips? No, no — I said, do you have any vapor strips“, but then you realize that “vapor strips” doesn’t make  sense in either universe. Unless “vapor strips” does mean something here. You decide to google it.

Before you can do your search, you glance at your email, and you see something you’ve never noticed before: all the messages that have attachments have little pictures of paper clips next to them. You check Wikipedia, and paper clips do seem to exist, so you haven’t stumbled into an alternate universe after all. You have, however, stumbled upon a brilliant idea for a series of science fiction movies.

The first movie would be the paper clip movie. The main character wakes up in a universe without paper clips, decides to “invent” them, and experiences lots of intrigue and car chases involving the evil stapler industry. In the final scene, the main character somehow makes it back to the real world and celebrates by throwing a handful of paper clips into the air; the closing shot of the movie is the paper clips raining down, which is why the movie needs to be in 3-D.

In the second movie, paper clips exist in the alternate universe, but staplers don’t. The main character decides to “invent” the stapler and clashes with the evil paper clip industry.

In the third movie, paper clips and staplers exist, but the staple is never invented. This is the final movie of the series, and the least successful.

23 thoughts on “Office Supplies: The Movie

  1. I hate to be the first to rain on your parade, but I loathe paper clips. In fact, and you may want to cover your eyes for this next part, I THROW THEM AWAY. Yes. I come across a paper clip and I angrily rip it from its perch on the paper and toss it in the trash can. I think that once a paper clip turned on me and let loose a stack of carefully collated papers. I hold long, mean grudges. I turned to the binder clips – my new bff in the office. Sorry.

  2. 3D? In your face office spectacularity? Where do I sign?

    See if you can get funding from the Rubber Band industry for the first two movies (Of course, then you would need to write in something about how the fiercely independent people in the hills don;t use metal organizational products in their offices, but are willing to help the plucky heroine because they like her moxie).
    And use the word Moxie.

    I see Sigourney Weaver as the inventor of the paper clip, Ralph Fiennes in the girlfriend role, and Danny DeVito as the tenacious paperclip that brings them together.

    1. Oh, good point — the heroine should have a cat named Moxie, and about 25% of the film should focus on her anguish as she tries to determine whether the Moxie in the alternate universe belongs there or whether it’s her cat from the regular universe.

    1. That’s awesome. Maybe I need to rework this as a musical, like Rocky Horror Picture Show or the one whose title I’m blanking out on with the evil dentist and the person-eating plant. Only mine will be better, because it will still be 3-D.

    1. Absolutely. I think about 15% of the budget for this movie is going to go into selecting just the right assortment of paper clip colors for that final scene.

  3. ooh I agree with yearstriken…they should be those colourful clips..AND all bent to form little mark the joyous occasion of the hero or wanna be paper clip inventor being safe and finding a wife and getting married and all that…like those movies with endless sequels…

    1. I didn’t mention this plot twist because I didn’t want to spoil it for everyone, but there are in fact three universes in this movie: our universe, the one in which there are no paper clips, and the one in which all paper clips are heart-shaped.

  4. I vote no to Ralph Fiennes but yes to Christopher Walken. He can do a little dancing instead of the proposed car chase scene and he’d look just darling with paper clips in his hair

    1. Maybe they do things differently in Australia, but here in the U.S., I’m pretty sure that blockbuster movies are legally required to have chase scenes.

  5. The Stapler Overlords will not take kindly to this. I’m surprised they haven’t silenced you already. I’m taking a chance just posting here. We’re all in danger now. Run! Hide! They’re coming to get us!

  6. Did you see that episode of the Sopranos where Tony takes out a guy’s kneecaps with a sock full of staples because he ‘heard things’?
    Not to alarm you.
    I’m just saying. Or no, no I’m not, actually. You didn’t hear anything from me. Capiche?

  7. My purse uses magnets as fasteners, and sometimes when I’m out and about I find paper clips stuck to it. Because, you know, I’m very classy. Maybe this could be incorporated into the film? One of those the-paperclip-was-stuck-to-me-the-whole-time twists? You know the kind.

  8. These films are sure to tap into the deep well of paper-attachment anxiety that constantly runs, unspoken but deep, under the fabric of modern society. Or they’d just be cool.

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