Metal poles have a similar dilemma. Despite
being staple proof, there are other, perhaps
even more unsightly methods of attachment.
Although staples bounce harmlessly off, glues
and tape create chemical bonds with the
metal. Ads with post-it technology stick directly
from adhesive applied to the backs, while
other, mostly printed by residents ads are
secured by tape. Direct-post ads can leave a
sticky, unsightly imprint when removed by
vandals. Some tapes develop stronger bonds
as they stick longer. All in all, the situation is
about as spiky as the wood poles.
From the maker of Pencil Psychology
Theoretically, just as nailing into a tree can kill it, over-accumulation of staples can cause severe structural
problems for a wooden pole. The staples leave holes, which eventually eat away at the pole. If one were to pull
out all the staples, the pole would surely collapse. Or, any electrical wires mounted to the pole may short out,
causing brownouts or even fires. Both indirect and direct chemical reactions could also occur between the metal
and the wood. An example would be the holes left by the staples let moisture in, which in turn rots the pole out.
Or maybe an interaction between rust and mold, which could create some super disease capable of infecting and
Possibly, all that metal could turn a wood pole into a metal one. Whenever a staple punctures through the bark,
some wood is lost, blown away with the wind. Over time, the staples will completely burst through the wood,
causing the remains to fall to the ground as wood chips. Now if the staples create a strong web, the pole may
stay. If not, then several people may get their eyeballs poked out during a severe storm. The city must build a
When you purchase a pack of staples at Staples, it should not cost mote than two dollars. But large amounts of
metal can be extremely valuable. Could one telephone pole build a whole car? At least an air conditioner. And
the surprising thing is that this valuable aluminum and steel is not even noticed by residents, let alone
enthusiastic industry investors. Spray the pole with WD-40. Pull out the staples. Crush into bales. Melt together
and make into more staples. Become rich, knowing that your money will always and only be yours. And nobody
Metal can be assumed to be artificial; naturally it is not found in large amounts. Nature has yet to find a way of
decomposing man-made materials quickly. It probably never will. Even man himself has not unlocked the secret
of turning plastic into dirt. That is, unless nanotechnology becomes real. Then we will be able to rearrange things
on an atomic level- a huge idea. Banish world famine. Computers for all! Figure out how to make crude oil
supplies last forever! Turn plastic into food, for goodness sake!
And therefore, the metal staples will far outlast the wooden pole. And the chemical glue will long outlast the metal
pole. Perhaps as the chemical oxidizes, it leaches toxic biochemical substances into the environment. Then the
cycle must repeat... It always comes down to us. Our solutions will always become our problems. No other animal
And of course, the psychology of it. Upon closer inspection, one finds a variety of staples. From regular to brite-
color to those heavy duty kinds that hold the box of a washing machine together.
- Large staples: posted by a professional, or large organization that regularly advertises.
- Brite-color staples: Although rust will eventually overtake the color, they are posted by residents who
borrow their children's stapler, or just children wanting to try out their own new one. Or, an advertiser that
wants to get your attention.
- Standard staples: A standard person. Trying, perhaps, to sell a decrepit computer for $100 to naive
couples, or maybe to sell a house to a rich community twenty miles away. Attached ad usually has little tear-
offs with phone numbers.
Ever wonder how many staples ended up on that pole?
There are millions. Every ad, anther staple. Any city with
wooden telephone poles has it. They are covered with
staples. A very unique history can be found by examining
the staples. First, the age of the pole. By counting the
number of staples and dividing by the average number of
staples accumulated per month, one can determine the
approximate age of the pole. It's sort of like counting the
rings on a tree. Second, the age of the staples can be
estimated by studying the rust level of the staples. And
third, the kind of staples can tell us what kind of stapler
was used, and possibly what kind of person stapled it.