2009.02.04 Fascinated with fasteners

Written by David Green.


Every day as I prepare to dash out the door, I get hung up.

No, not on the phone. It’s my zipper—my ugly black coat zipper. It’s a cantankerous, uncooperative, buggery bother of a plastic piece of...well, you go ahead and fill in the blank.

I say a silent prayer—and sometimes an all out shout—asking God to please make my zipper zip.

It’s not as if God doesn’t have better things to do. Everybody knows you shouldn’t pester God with the small stuff, the piddley inconsequential stuff.

God shouldn’t be spending his time, for example, finding my friend a parking spot in Ann Arbor when there’s a war—heck, two wars—going on, should He? 

And, really, what business do I have asking for an easy zip if I give my friend a hard time when she prays for a parking spot? But that doesn’t stop me.

“Please Lord, let my zipper glide smoothly up its track.”

I don’t want to freeze on my three-block walk to work. So I take a deep breath and slowly rehook the zipper and try again.

Zippers—they’re just one example of my love-hate relationship with fasteners. Tangles with packing tape, bloody encounters with staplers, pinches from clothespins—fasteners can get me down.

But, I hadn’t really thought of them as a class until I checked out a book somebody donated to the library. The book, “Panty Hose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags, and More—for the Garden,” came with a bonus, a little booklet called “Fun, Frugal Fasteners: 101 Uses for Paper Clips, Duct Tape, Rubber Bands, and More.”

That booklet called to me—I’d never before seen the topic addressed in one place. I relished the thought of reading the material and was so pleased with myself when I remembered to take it along the last time we went somewhere by car with David driving. I was so absorbed, I didn’t even realize he was talking to me until he raised his voice.

Huh? What? It was like he pulled me deep out of a novel, as if I’d been transported to the battlefield of 1944 Germany or Milwaukee in the summer of 1959 and here he was calling me back.

The little booklet was that compelling.  It could have something to do with the fact that I am a sucker for tips. When I read Budget Travel magazine, I savor their “20 Tips” feature. When the Detroit News runs tips in their Homestyle section, I’m ecstatic. Little nuggets of information that will save time, money, stress, that will make life run more smoothly—is there anything more satisfying?

The booklet made me look at objects with fresh eyes—“Discarded seat belts make great latches for the horse pen. Just nail one strap to the post and the other to the gate and buckle up.” Who would have thought of a seat belt as a fastener?

There are even tips for using fasteners in ways that have nothing to do with their original purpose—duct tape to remove warts? If I were to use this method, my duct tape would be bright pink or lime green.

I am always trying to enhance my fastener experience—that occurred to me while reading the fastener booklet. I buy staples in many colors and I’m never content to use an ordinary clothespin to hold my corn chip and pretzel bags shut—I favor the plastic coated wire ones available in a variety of colors.

And paper clips? It’s the spiral Italian ones that capture my fancy. My poor friends probably thought I’d reached the outer limits of nuts when they opened their Christmas presents this year to find little tins of the clips. But, they’re so cute and so fun!

The most fun I ever had with a fastener was this past summer while figuring out how to hang decorations at the church for Rozee’s wedding.

Rozee had bought 3-inch plastic pew clips for hanging lightweight bows, but the end of the pews turned out to be a little too wide. We slid the clip on and a minute later, it shot itself across the aisle. I laughed and laughed imagining bows shooting back and forth across the aisle during the ceremony.

We rigged up a more secure system involving fishing line, small adhesive-backed clips and prayer.

Maybe God does have time to deal with the small stuff.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016