by Eric Ginsburg

Our editor in chief, Brian Clarey, has a stack of jokes that he likes to cycle through. His kids probably roll their eyes, but the predictability of his bits are part of the charm. In fact even his storytelling can be repetitious — once he told me twice on a press day (generally our most stressful and busy every week) about how he couldn’t believe that his dad had taken up yoga. “I. Don’t. Care.” I tried to impart the second time, struggling to finish a stray assignment.

One such joke that Clarey makes whenever the opportunity presents itself is about the abundance of these thin, plastic yellow strips that bind our newspapers, 100 at a time, into bundles.

This is still a very grassroots production, with each of us handling large delivery routes every Wednesday to bring these papers to the people. There’s a good chance that if you’re holding a physical issue of Triad City Beat, one of the three editors touched it — if not you can thank Clarey’s yoga-enthused, retired father or our budding star sales rep Dick Gray.

DSC04638 Needless to say we all have a plethora of these things sticking out of our cars each week after we cut the bundles loose and divide ’em up into carefully counted stacks at each stop. If you’ve run into Clarey while he’s dropping papers off around Greensboro, or if you have the good fortune to work with him, you’ve likely heard him say with a sarcastic air, “Do you have any need for a bunch of thin, plastic yellow strips?”

The thing is, Clarey and I are convinced that there has to be some creative person out there in the Triad who actually does. He’s come up with a few ideas, including bending them into some sort of sunflower art project. I heard him hawking the idea on some friends at Hoots Flea Market in Winston-Salem. And he’s told me about a million times, too.

Just like the papers we recycle every week, it seems that as long as we’re slinging newsprint we’ll continue generating these seemingly useless plastic strips. Right now we use pieces of them to tie TCB nametag signs onto our wire indoor racks. We absentmindedly curl them up, and Clarey even has some poorly concocted idea about turning the wound up ties into a basket of exploding snakes.

We’re hoping that the adage about one man’s trash turns out to be true for these suckers, especially since Clarey’s decided to stop dumping them and is building up quite the stash. I’m worried they’re about as worthless as my collection of POGs, but hey, a kid can dream, right?


  1. For a time, we had a Somali woman working for us. She had me save the plastic strips that held together our shipments of fabric because she and her family would weave them into baskets. These strips were wider, about 3/4″, but the idea should work with your thin ones.

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