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The Paper Clip

I let my hair go too long without a haircut.  My hair is thick and heavy, and it grew long enough that even hair spray couldn’t keep my bangs out of my eyes.  The other day in the classroom they kept falling into my face.  Finally I got fed up.  I grabbed a big paper clip and used it to pin them back.

The people at school know me. They’d look at the paper clip,  shake their heads and laugh at my ingenuity. 

At the end of the day, I left school.  I went to the gym, the store and the post office.  As I spoke to people each would just stare at me, nod his or her head, and slowly back away.  I couldn’t figure out what their problem was.

After taking my groceries home I ran to the beauty shop for a hair-cut.  I sat down in the chair.  The beautician threw the cape over me and as she was pinning it up, she said, “You know you have a paper clip in your hair, right?”

With a bit of chagrin, I thought briefly of all the strangers whose paths I’d crossed between work and that moment — and then came dismay as I remembered the seven parent-teacher conferences I’d had that day ….

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. That is way too funny. I now know that I must make an appointment to get my hair cut before I end up with the same dilema that you faced.

    I am surprised people didn’t find your idea as genious and comment about what a novel idea. After all, don’t we all visualize librarians with pencils in their hair and reading glasses hanging on a chain around their neck? Why shouldn’t we know visual teachers with paperclips in their hair.

    SMILES :o)

  2. Well, hey…maybe you’ll start a fashion trend! You know, people laughed at bell bottoms too. Oh, yeah, they still do. Nevermind.

  3. A couple of the teachers thought I was very innovative.

    Cindra — I always wanted to be a ghetto trendsetter. Pft!

    Brig — this best not turn up on your fashion blog!

  4. That’s funny, OC — some fella I was talking to on the phone this morning said the same thing. I believe I told him him that perhaps, if I had used duct tape, I wouldn’t have had to pay for a hair-cut.

  5. It’s a promise. I’ve always thought bangs are pretty, but I can’t figure out how to wear them without them driving me nuts. I actually meant it when I said I thought it was brilliant.

  6. Quilly-Sister, I have to say that I’m surprised anyone would give a paper clip a second look, what with the way the teenyboppers dress (or do not dress) and do their hair! I see stranger things than that everyday. Wear it proudly – you may start something! 🙂

  7. Seven sets of parents are now wondering about the education their child is getting. You will forever be known in their circles as the paper clip lady. But you did get your hair cut.

  8. Brig — I was teasing. It would take more than just my zaniness to make a paper clip a fashion accessory! And I keep my bangs long and do this waterfall thing with them (see blog photo) — the secret is hair spray.

    Polona — they say necessity is the mother of invention.

    Jackie — I didn’t notice any of the parents staring, and nobody asked. Maybe you’re right. Their kids dress so strangely they didn’t even see my tame little paper clip.

    John — I hold excellent conferences. They know their kid’s education is good, but they may not be convinced I am wholly sane.

    Melli — I knew I could count on you for support.

  9. New fads start in the weirdest places. A few years ago I had a group of students do a social experiment and wore ties as belts for a whole week. A couple of months after that, suddenly Carson on Queer Eye was doing it. Maybe Carson will like your paper clip idea too!

  10. Bill — that’s why I’m here.

    Mumma — when I was 18 and in college the first time I must have worn 15 rings on my fingers at once. No one did that — and soon there after and ever since — rings galore. I rarely wear jewelry at all anymore.

  11. I LIKE it!
    There are colored paper clips now and even designer painted ones with stripes and dots. You are a fashion goddess!!
    At church tomorrow, I’m going to wear a gold one in my hair. I will be the envy of all because of YOU! Thank You, Quilly!

  12. Rob — thanks — I think.

    Jamie — let me know how it goes. There’s a teacher who attends my church that wears a paper clip as a tie clasp. He says he loses too many to buy the real thing anymore.

  13. Love it – actually sounds like something I would do. The exception is that everyone would probably point and laugh when they saw me.

  14. Momsrus — that’s kind of what happened to me at the grocery store — I just couldn’t figure out why.

    DaBich — I don’t know why everybody thinks craziness and forgetfulness are so cool! Feels very different from my end.

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