Everybody is familiar with the wonderful agglutinative properties of paperclips. If loose sheets of paper are heads of cattle (as has been argued convincingly), then paperclips are cowboys, forcing those cows into neat little stacks.
But often overlooked is the paperclip’s ability to poke holes in things. Paper, vellum, thin plastic, foil, even fabric: if you unfold a paperclip, you can push its tip through any of these things. Even brick.
There’s an energetic metaphor in this. Looking at a paperclip out of the box, you wouldn’t take it for much of a hole-poker — indeed, neither of its points are exposed; each is wrapped into the clip’s endemic curve. But disfigure that clip, and you give it new meaning, fresh powers. It exchanges the ability to bind with the ability to skewer. It becomes, for all intents and purposes, a really crappy awl.
Lesson being, if you get messed up, physically or psychologically, by a car crash or lost loved one or fall from height, consider the possibility that though you’re no longer able to complete tasks that formerly gave you little or no trouble — driving a car, sitting in a room by yourself without crying, putting on a glove — you may now be better suited to some new activity, such as being portrayed in a gritty documentary distributed by IFC that, while difficult to watch, ultimately purveys hope.