Monday, September 7, 2009

The Tale of the Gold Clip

In honor of Labor Day (celebrated as May Day in other countries) I present this nonpartisan story to remind all of us where our hard-earned tax dollars go. Although I'm American, insanity of this type is universal to all governments, and likely always will be.

I have a gold-colored binder clip on the wall. This is what it looks like:

"Dr. Grumpy, why on Earth would you keep something as odd as a binder clip on your wall?" you ask. So gather round, open up a Diet Coke, and I'll tell you my story.

There have been 3 presidential elections since I went into practice.

During one of these elections a presidential debate was held at a university in my state.

One of my patients is a supervisor at that university's media department. He came in for an appointment, with a bunch of his old test reports. They were held together by a binder-clip. It caught my eye because it was gold-colored (likely made of brass), and I hadn't seen one like that before. I'm used to the standard black clips with silver prongs.

So I mentioned that I'd never seen one like that before, and he told me this story:

When the university was preparing for the presidential debate, the campaigns gave them a list of things the Presidential gentlemen needed on the podium in front of them (the list had been pre-agreed on, so each would have the same stuff).

On top of each podium each Presidential person had paper and pens and a glass of water, which we all saw. But on the shelf underneath the podium, each had the following items, which had been jointly agreed upon. He showed me the memo.

More paper
2 black pens
2 blue pens
3 sharpened No. 2 pencils
A pencil sharpener
Big paper clips
Small paper clips
A stapler
Extra staples
A scotch tape dispenser
An extra role of scotch tape
Yellow post-it notes
Binder clips

So the university dutifully put all this junk on the shelves under each podium, in case either Presidential person wanted to do collating, decorating, or origami on national television.

During the final check of the stage, both campaigns went berserk when they discovered the university had thoughtlessly supplied them with standard black binder clips, as apparently men of Presidential stature should only be using gold-colored binder clips (at least on national television). So the university had to go out and find some (the one I have says 'OfficeMax' on the side) at the last minute.

During the debate, I didn't see either gentleman take any of the above-mentioned items out from the podium. In retrospect, in the 22 Presidential debates I remember seeing in 9 elections, I don't recall seeing anyone using anything from the list other than a pen and paper.

So the university was left with all these office supplies, including gold binder clips.

So now I have the gold binder clip hanging on my wall to remind me of where my hard-earned tax dollars are going.


Sally said...

OMG nuff said....

The Crontora Man said...

No red Swingline stapler?

Carrie said...

The office supplies probably had to be supplied by the host university. It's not your tax dollars going to pay for it, it's the tuition you paid (or the loans you might still be paying). On the other hand, they paid someone to sit down and figure this stuff out, probably for several hours.

Anonymous said...

i hate to be the technical douche bag but a podium is something you stand on like a band director. what the president stands behind is called a lectern. most everyone gets the 2 confused. i am not trying to be a smart butt i just wanted everyone to know incase u didn't.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I had no idea. Thank you.

After 5 years of college and 4 of med school, you'd think I'd know that. But obviously, I didn't.

No wonder I can't stop the rain, either.

MomNurseWife said...

...but one would think that someone who is going to get picky about podium vs. lectern would take the time to type the word "to" and use proper capitalization.

Love the blog, Dr. Grumpy. It's a daily read in our house :) You really do take the cake in attracting strange patients.

Anonymous said...

I hate to disagree with the other Anonymous poster however a lectern is a specific type of Podium. Your usage of the word Podium is more correct then using lectern.
(I guess those 4 years of college and 9 years of Graduate school in Physics payed off a little)

As for the weather I did offer my Weather machine.

Dr.Bob (PhD not MD)

Kim Kasch said...

I wonder if we could make those into hair clips. ;-)

Evil HR Lady said...

Ahh, this reminds me of working with executives. I guess they are the same whether it be big business or big government.

Loved the line about the Origami.

(And p.s. I just found you through Kevin MD and I spent Sunday evening reading every one of your posts. Curse you for being so funny!)

auffer said...

To the PhD holding anonymous poster correcting the other anonymous poster, I don't think "payed" is correct, either. What a menagerie of erroneous statements and corrections this blog entry created!

On topic, I find it amusing that someone would think it'd be necessary for a president to have a STAPLER. I mean, for what?? Weird...

Anthony H, PharmD candidate 2010.

quixote said...

Brass binder clips. Seriously? Brass binder clips? Meanwhile, the world burns.

At least Nero produced some music. (Although maybe we should be grateful our lot don't try that.)

Anonymous said...

I would offer to trade but I treasure my unemployment check from the state of California, for $1.00.

Anonymous said...

The pleural of shelf is shelves, not shelfs.

"So the university dutifully put all this junk on the shelfs under each podium...."

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Okay, I fixed that one.

Anonymous said...

My gosh, people, if you want to write go start your own blog, for cryin' out loud. I like the all typos -
they're a reminder that doctors are human.

Love all your stories, Dr. Grumpy.

auffer said...

Except it's not pleural, but plural.

Chris said...

Gold binder I've been a legal secretary for 20 years and have seen only the black with silver and the assorted red, green, yellow, etc. binder clips. Never seen gold before.......

Anonymous said...

With all this talk of spelling, homonyms, (or is it homonims?) and grammatical errors, maybe it's time for an esperanto crusade; give us something really worthwhile to lobby Congress, since they can't seem to decide that health care for everyone is really all that important.

Esperanto advocates in the USA unite!

rxgirl said...

This is the same as all the wasteful spending in a corporate setting. They made up beautiful flyers that advertised junk while we can't get a raise or a bonus. Go figure.

Nancy said...

People, it's in times like these that we need to remember Muphry's Law.'s_law

Love the story, Dr. Grumpy.

WWWebb said...

To paraphrase Mark Twain,

"Suppose you were a politician...and suppose you were an idiot. But I repeat myself."

And my captcha word:

ourea...o urea.

How utterly appropriate.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Nancy- that law is wonderful. And so true. Thank you for telling me about it.

Anonymous said...

I know that this is old and probably no one is reading it anymore. Also, this is off the point (as several were). I just can't leave it alone. The second anonymous uses then instead of than. I just don't get it.

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