Thursday, March 24, 2005

Clippy the Microsoft Office Paperclip: The E! True Hollywood Story

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In August of 1994, "Clippy" the Paperclip was born to humble beginnings at the ACCO Office Supplies manufacturing plant in Lincolnshire, Illinois. As just one of 2,900,000 twins, nobody at ACCO could ever have imagined the heights to which Clippy would one day soar.

Shipped from Illinois in an industrial size box of 4,000 paperclips, Clippy was delivered to the Microsoft Corporate Campus in Redmond, Washington. The day before the shipment arrived, a software engineer and Microsoft CEO named Bill Gates had run out of paperclips, something that had never happened in the history of his company. He had his secretary killed and demanded his paperclip supply be replenished immediately. All 4,000 of the paperclips in Clippy's shipment were sent to Gates' office.

This was a period of intense depression for Gates, who was working to develop and improve his revolutionary business program package, "Microsoft Office". Frustrated by the fact that so many Americans were complete imbeciles, incapable of figuring out a relatively simple and user-friendly computer program, Gates wracked his brain for an even simpler way to walk even the biggest computer-illiterate retard through tasks such as writing a letter and making an outline.

One day, in a dramatic gesture of anger, Gates swept the contents of his desk to the floor and buried his head in his hands. And it was there he found inspiration staring right at him. The only thing left on his desk was a paperclip. In case you're an idiot and couldn't figure this out on your own, it was Clippy.

As Gates gazed upon Clippy's simple but appealing shape, he realized that this paperclip would be the perfect form into which he could breathe life using his computer wizardry. Clippy would be a real live paperclip, with friendly bug eyes and smug smile! He would finally show these brainless morons how to use their goddamned computers!

So it came to pass, that in Office 97, the world was introduced to Clippy the Paperclip. As computers were finally making their way to every office and household (except poor people), taking their place as the ubiquitous life tools they have become today, Microsoft Office and Clippy the Paperclip were leading the way.

Clippy polarized the computing world in a way no figure had before or likely will again. Desperately needed and viscously hated, Clippy was all over the place. Reports of Clippy's personal relationships began to fill the tabloids, at one time or another Clippy has been romantically linked to the likes of Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra and Russell Crowe. And who could forget the infamous videotape leaked to the Internet, depicting Clippy in a cocaine-fueled orgy with a box of staples.

Clippy was riding high. With each new version of Microsoft Office, all the way through the turn of the millennium, Clippy was right there, annoying the ever-living fuck out of anyone who wasn't retarded. "It looks like you're writing a letter," he would so keenly observe, "Would you like some help?" No matter how many times he was banished by a momentarily peeved office worker, Clippy would always find his way back into the mainstream.

Clippy's fortunes took their first turn for the worst when it was announced in 2001 that he would not be included in Office XP.

"Office XP is so easy to use that Clippy is no longer necessary, or useful," explained Lisa Gurry, a Microsoft product manager, "Plus, if people haven't figured out how to use freaking Microsoft Word by now, they don't deserve access to a computer."

Clippy was shattered. He reportedly began drinking heavily, running around with a rough crowd and somehow contracted a bad case of the parishilton.std computer virus. He even got arrested after one particularly boozy evening when he decided to show up wasted to the Microsoft Office Christmas Party with two skanky ballpoint pens, then punched PowerPoint in the face before announcing that, "Bill Gates ain't shit without me" and then passing out to the horror of his ex co-workers.

"It was a pretty dark time," Clippy recalls as he takes a drag from his cigarette. "I'll never forget the night I finally hit rock bottom. It was 4 in the morning and hadn't been to sleep for two weeks. Gary Busey and I were speeding down the Pacific Coast Highway, high on crank, shooting a handgun at mailboxes and house pets. Busey wiped out and next thing I know I am lying in a puddle of puke and piss and cops were everywhere. I knew I needed help."

Clippy quickly checked into the Norton Anti-virus and Wellness Center, where he spent 8 months doing some intense recovery work. With the help of his loved ones, he emerged as a new paperclip, free from addiction and ready to begin life anew.

Today, Clippy is still trying to put his career back together, but it is doubtful he'll ever reach the echelons of fame he once rested upon. He's currently making a living doing celebrity endorsement on aisle 17 of the Staples Office Supply store in Van Nuys, but he still feels confident his next big break is just around the corner.

"Me and Corey Feldman have been working on a Christian rap metal album that's just going to blow people away", says Clippy, waiting for his microwave burrito to finish warming up in the Staples breakroom.

"But you know what, the truth is none of this matters. Life is just a ride, you know. And I'll keep holding on tight, no matter where this crazy rollercoaster takes me next."

Love him or hate him, there is no denying the impact Clippy had on all of us.

"It looks like you're writing a letter," Clippy calls out me, looking desperate and hopeful.

Sorry Clippy, unfortunately I am not.

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