I believe the story you describe in your final paragraph is "Or All
the Seas with Oysters," by Avram Davidson.
On Jun 6, 2012, at 2:30 PM, Deb Warner wrote:
> If reading is so discouraged, why can Montag pick up a book and read
> it, right off the bat? It's been a while since I've read the book -
> although this would be an appropriate time to do so again- an I
> don't remember whether this was explained.
> Speaking of re-reading favorites, it's obvious to me
> that the towel guy I was remembering must have been Ford Prefect, as
> has been suggested. However, it was a pleasure refreshing my memory,
> especially because I discovered the origin of the story about the
> guy who had insisted he spent time acting as a chauffeur to a family
> of ball points.
> I'm still trying to track down the story that explained
> why you would have an abundance of one common item, followed by a
> scarcity of that item and a superfluity of another. It was
> hypothesized that there was an (alien?) life form that looked like a
> paperclip (or safety pin) in its larval form, a hanger in its
> juvenile form and a bicycle in its adult form, or something like
> that. I seem to remember it ending with someone falling over
> bicycles in the hallway of his apartment or rooming house.
> Admittedly, my memory isn't the best, but I'm pretty sure I didn't
> imagine it completely. Maybe it was Fritz Leiber but if it is I
> haven't found it yet.
> " When you see a difference in a person and can find only wickedness
> in it - you and them - the 'them' become fair game, not people
> anymore but obstacles to the greater good, and it's always open
> sweason on 'them'"
> from Court Of The Air by Stephen Hunt