Keep It Together

Keep It Together
Epiphany 36

You probably know the song – “Love and marriage, love and marriage; Go together like a horse and carriage….” While man debate the definition of marriage, most couples discover it’s the “together” part that really provides the biggest challenge. Even individuals find it sometimes difficult to keep themselves “together” when faced with the challenges of everyday living.

Of course, other things go together besides couples and in 1867, Samuel B. Fay had an epiphany. He needed to attach tickets to pieces of fabric and devised a bent wire clip to do the job. In his patent application, Fay mentioned that his clip could also be used to attach papers together. Erlman J. Wright had a similar bright idea ten years later for fastening newspaper together. Actually, this might be the one subject that has had more epiphanies – i.e., bright ideas, than any other. By 1899, the United States of America Patent Office had patented fifty designs of clip-like devices that were all constructed for the express purpose of keeping things together.

A British company, The Gem Manufacturing Company, began producing a wire paper clip in the early 1870’s. So popular was their invention that today the Swedish word for paper clip is “gem”, after the company. In 1899 a Connecticut inventor was granted a patent for a machine to manufacture paper clips although the clips made were never patented nor even mentioned in the patent application.

While the paper clip might seem insignificant, its function should not be underestimated. AS technology has advanced, other used for the paper clip have been discovered. The wire of the paper clip can be unfolded easily and used to instigate an emergency eject for some disks in disk-like drives. A similar technique is used on CD-ROM drives, some smart phones, and PDA’s to remove various cards. The simple paper clip can also serve as a temporary emergency fix to replace fuses.

Not just for keeping papers together, something which should not be overlooked, the paper clip had even become an unpaid actor starring in crime dramas. Shown to be of use when one is trying to open locked items or handcuffs, the ease of straightening out a thin wire paper clip has many uses which continue to be discovered. Even the image has become high tech. An icon showing a paper clip is often used in email programs to indicate an attachment to the email.

From the latter part of the nineteenth century to the second decade of the twenty-first century, the paper clip has proven its versatility in keeping many things together and unlocking other items. As more and more uses of the paper clip are found, more epiphanies occur. What might have seemed a simple device has become a necessary tool, the foundation of a well-stocked office or home or tool kit.

Often our positive relationships are the binding foundation in our lives. When we feel loved and valued, we perform better. Sharing life with friends or a partner provides strength for our souls. Having a foundation of faith, spirituality, and/or positive beliefs help us “keep it together” when we encounter roadblocks or detours on our walk of life.

Mankind has blossomed all over the world with different cultures and customs. It is our similarities that bind us together and there are many of those. We have basically one head, two feet, one torso, two eyes and two ears, one nose, two legs, one neck, ten digits on two hands, and ten smaller digits on two feet. We all have the same basic needs for food, water, and air. We also all have the same requirements for our internal functions such as cell reproduction, digestion, cardiovascular functions, and thought processes. As a muscle, the brain needs exercising and education and continued learning provide just that.

We are also brought together by our psychological needs. We all seek understanding, respect, happiness, and love. While many scientists delve into what holds the fabric of the universe together, we know that the fabric of mankind is woven firmly by mutual respect and charity.

We are able to keep ourselves and our lives together when we are healthy and helping others. Doing good deeds provide a sense of connectedness that strengthen not only the individual but the community and world. As Henry Ford said: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

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