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Useful Things

By David F. Vincenti / October 16, 1995

There's a company that makes coat hangers.

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As I pass its truck on the northbound interstate,

I wonder what sort of person handles scheduling

for 3-way-knot-in-the-wire production,

and where they go for professional certification.

My father told me Oreos are assembled

by continuous processes in a factory

with a friendly name and a friendly smell.

Other things: suit buttons, sewing needles,

dashboard knobs, these things are manufactured,

not farmed from strange plants in steel woods.

My amazement is misplaced - what I do is as strange,

turning tree sap and sand into vials and plugs,

but that seems too different from shoelace tips

to be meaningful to me. Shopping-cart wheels,

light bulbs, ice-cube trays, paper clips,

there's a good living to be made in zipper teeth.