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SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK:

Just Something I Got From an Old Clip


Want to hear something nuts? I thought you might:

A guy in Montreal has turned a paperclip into a house.

Okay, let’s start at the beginning: It was a regular, run of the mill red paperclip, which Kyle MacDonald noticed on his desk while sitting around one day, thinking about how much he’d like a house. This being the “instant gratification” generation, he decided to forgo all the unrewarding stuff like getting a job, saving money, financing … so, then, how to go about getting his new home? Working for it wouldn’t do; it had to be something fun, and pointless.

So he posted his red paperclip on an internet web site. For trade. And got a taker.

You just can’t make up stuff like this.

A pair of women in Vancouver, who apparently also have too much time on their hands, traded him the paperclip for a pen that looks like a fish. Thus ends the paperclip part of the story, and I for one would like to know if it’s now framed on a wall, or stuck in one of their noses, or what.

Meanwhile, MacDonald traded the fish pen for a handmade doorknob, and the doorknob for a camp stove, and the stove for a 100-watt generator. The generator was traded in for an “instant party kit”: an empty beer keg and an illuminated Budweiser beer sign.

At first I thought he’d traded backwards, there. What if the apocalypse came? You could use that generator! But then I figured if the world was coming to an end anyway, you might be better off to top off the beer keg.

At this point publicity came into play, and a Montreal radio personality took the instant party kit in return for a snowmobile. What with global warming, Montreal’s now too warm for snowmobiling, but plenty cold enough for drinking.
This was traded for an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper. For you younger people, Alice Cooper is a guy – sort of – so we’re not talking “date with a celebrity”. Somehow MacDonald traded off Alice Cooper for a KISS snow globe, which is kind of ironic considering Cooper and the Kiss guys dress alike during their performances. Maybe at home, too, who knows?

Again, I figured he traded down. Alice Cooper might not be in the top 40, but he’s still a celebrity; what can you get for a snow globe?

The answer: another celebrity. It turns out the globe was a collector’s item, and actor Corbin Bernsen happens to be an avid collector of same. So Bernsen took the globe, in exchange for a paid roll in a new movie called “Donna on Demand”.

No idea who Donna is. Maybe she’s one of the chicks with the paperclip.

Now the town of Kipling, Saskatchewan, has offered, in exchange for the movie role … wait for it …

A house.

What Kipling would do with the movie role is beyond me. Would the moviemakers have to travel there, to use the town as a background? Or would the mayor head to Hollywood? And what are the chances that Kipling’s other thousand residents would let the mayor go without Kipling’s very first riot?

Needless to say, this got my imagination running. Surely I could trade something around my house for a better house, or a new car, or a date with Natalie Portman. Then I could say, “Gee, Natalie, I won you with a tube sock!” And she could zap me with a Taser and storm off, and that whole protective order thing would be back in effect.

But that was a worry for the future. For now, I rummaged through the house, looking for something that could eventually get me onto the “Desperate Housewives” lot. (That’s where the house from “The Munsters” is; I loved that show.)

I found a .38 bullet, never been fired. It has a few marks from when I used to bite down during dentist appointments. I found a 1944 wheat penny. That was kind of cool – imagine how many people handled it, how many pockets it had been in. Ew. I found a fruitcake from Christmas, 2003. Might be some shipping problems involved in that, but it was holding up well. I found all sorts of paperclips, but hey – that’s been done.

Then I found my Johnny West action figure from when I was a kid. I’d had Johnny for so long that he’s now as old as he looks.

(I could have gotten a better deal on my Starship Enterprise model, but we were kids, and we had fireworks … it’s very sad.)

I contacted a website, explaining I had an original Johnny West action figure that I
was sure someone would want to trade for a 1939 Action Comics, or maybe we could go straight to the Beverly Hills mansion.

“Is it in the original packaging?”

What, are you nuts? Of course not – we got gifts twice a year, and I wasn’t wasting one of them in the hopes of funding my college tuition. Johnny West got around; he shot Indians, had fist fights with the evil gambler doll, rescued his kids from runaway horses, and had that unfortunate tryst with Barbie that’s still sealed up in Jane West’s divorce documents.

“You’re one of those guys who heard about the paperclip, aren’t you? Forget about it, it’s been done. The only way you’re going to get a house out of an old, scuffed doll is if it gets up by itself and starts doing a darn good John Wayne imitation.”

It could happen! Haven’t you seen “Toy Story”? Hello?

Looks like the story’s already old, now that old MacDonald has a house. But he’s doing just fine, and I don’t think he should stop with the little place in Saskatchewan. Personally, I’d keep trading in the hopes of getting an island in Hawaii. Or maybe Oregon – the kid’s on a role. Nothing’s going to clip him down.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
elizalavelle
Aug. 11th, 2006 11:28 am (UTC)
Our society is so weird, this is awesome, but so weird.

ozma914
Aug. 12th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
Frankly, I don't know how to react to this story. We tell our kids it's important to work for what you get, and that things in life don't get handed to you -- and then this pops up. Maybe I should start buying lottery tickets, after all.
elizalavelle
Aug. 12th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC)
Perhaps a happy medium. Mostly it's good to work and earn what you need and that way you appreaciate it that much more... Of course once in a while it's nice when life gifts you with something good :)
ozma914
Aug. 12th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
I've been working my butt off with little to show for it for decades -- I'm ready for the gifts, now! But yes, I do appreciate what I have because of it.
curiouswombat
Aug. 11th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
It's a sort of Trading Places!
ozma914
Aug. 12th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought of it that way! It makes me feel a little better. :-)
cbtreks
Aug. 12th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC)
I read through that guys blog about his trade. I thought it was pretty innovative - but it also seemed like more work than work! Still, I wonder if I could trade - what, a thumbtack, maybe? - for a nice house up in Michigan. *g*
ozma914
Aug. 12th, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
Michigan's beautiful. If I could have a summer home anywhere, I'd pick my ex-wife's family's place along Lake Bellaire, not far from Traverse City. It's the very definition of calm and soothing, even though it's a big tourist area. Wouldn't want to live there in the winter, though.

I've noticed that a lot of people who want to avoid work, work hard to do it. Maybe I should write a column about that, someday. :-)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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