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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 10:49 pm | Fog/Mist 49º


She Said, Z Said: Bigger or Better, and a Fair Trade

One red paper clip unleashes the power of persuasion on family, friends and neighbors

Z: Who needs criminal orphans when you can have birthday parties instead?

She: That sounds like the non sequitur nonsense at the bottom of spam emails.

Z: I was just thinking that Fagin had to work way too hard to organize Oliver Twist and all the other orphans into a top-notch band of pickpockets. Really all he had to do was throw a birthday party.

She: We did not pickpocket our neighbors. It was a nice game.

Z: A nice game of stealing from our neighbors.

She: “Bigger or Better” is not stealing. It’s trading. And it’s a good old-fashioned wholesome party game. Some of our neighbors really liked it, and said it made our neighborhood feel more like a neighborhood.

Z: Curse you, friendly people!

She: Traditionally, the kids break up into two teams and start with a paper clip. They go door-to-door and try to find something bigger or better that they can trade for.

Z: So we spammed our neighborhood with kids looking to trade a paper clip.

She: Much better than a paper clip. Our friend sent us swag hats from E! Entertainment Television, so the kids started with those. Brand-new hats.

Z: That’s a huge plus. This way, we didn’t waste any money on a paper clip.

She: And they did surprisingly well. Koss’ team traded the hat for a mixing bowl, the bowl for a silver pasta strainer, the pasta strainer for a big wicker basket, the basket for a side table, and the table for a ceramic firepot.

Z: Which will now sit in our garage forever.

She: Which is why I don’t understand why you won’t just let me give it to my mother.

Z: I’d like to see how it works. All it needs is some fuel gel, whatever that is. I’ll get some the next time I’m at the fuel gel store.

She: Which is why it will now sit in our garage forever.

Z: I like how the other team did, too. They raced each other all over the neighborhood, then traded the hat for a suitcase, and then they were done. Even better, I convinced one of the moms that the suitcase was a party favor and she took it home, so at least that won’t sit in our garage forever.

She: But the boys’ teams didn’t do nearly as well as our nieces did. When they played the game at their birthday party, one team came back with a TV, and the other team returned with a sofa and a cute teen boy to help carry it.

Z: And here I was worried that the teenage girl’s dad down the street would send our boys home with a restraining order.

She: I’m guessing they avoided that house. Anyway, I think they did pretty well.

Z: But not as well as Kyle MacDonald, who over the course of a year traded up from a paper clip to a house and then wrote a book about it: One Red Paperclip: How a Small Piece of Stationery Turned into a Great Big Adventure.

She: That’s awesome. I think I’ve got a purple heart-shaped paper clip around here somewhere. Maybe the boys can get me an island for it.

Z: That’s awfully greedy.

She: You’re right. I’d settle for a house, or maybe even some fuel gel.

Z: Whatever that is.

She: I have no idea, but if someone comes to our house with a paper clip, we’ve got the perfect firepot to trade for it.

Z: Yes, dear.

— Trade She and Z for something bigger or better by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Read She Said, Z Said every Monday on Noozhawk and follow them on Twitter: @lesliedinaberg. Click here for previous She Said, Z Said columns.

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