One of the most polarizing celebrities of the '90s is back in the spotlight again, and congratulations are in order. Former Microsoft employee Clippy is reportedly pregnant, according to Vice, and after a tumultuous 20 years, it looks like he's finally found happiness. Confused? It's a little-known fact that, like seahorses, male paperclips are actually the ones who give birth. An image leaked recently online shows a glowing Clippy in what appears to be his eighth trimester (a paperclip's gestation period is roughly two years). The mother's identity is unknown, and Clippy could not be reached for comment.
Clippy was first hired by Microsoft as an office assistant in 1997. Former supervisor (and designer of Clippy) Kevan Atteberry told Vice that Clippy was chosen from a pool of about 250 character applicants after being judged the most "engaging and endearing" of the bunch. Public response was not kind, however. People hated him, said Atteberry: "At one point he was annoying hundreds of millions of people a day." But why? All Clippy wanted was to help Windows users write letters. Atteberry theorized that anyone in Clippy's role would have garnered the same scorn. He believes Clippy was hated "not because of what Clippy is, but how Clippy acts."
As early as 2001, Clippy was considering a career change. Microsoft had begun openly joking about firing him, and even humiliated him with a series of videos starring Gilbert Gottfried that have since been nearly completely scrubbed from the internet. Around that time, Clippy created a personal website that showcased his resume and invited visitors to help him choose a new path (the site has since been taken down). Ultimately, though, he chose to stay on for another 7 years, until Microsoft Office chief experience officer Julie Larson-Green fired him for incompetence in 2008.
But with little experience outside of the company, Clippy was forced to pick up freelance work for Microsoft to make ends meet in the coming years, even as the company repeatedly tarnished his image. A 2009 movie created by the software company callously implied that Clippy had died in 2004, but he still agreed to appear in a computer training game called Ribbon Hero in 2011, and he resumed his post in the online version of Microsoft Office for one day in 2014: April Fool's Day.
However, that last job signaled a turning point for Clippy. It was around that time that rumors of a relationship with fellow Microsoft assistant Cortana began to circulate. In a series of interviews, Cortana confirmed that she and Clippy were "friends," praised his resilience, and credited him with teaching her the importance of listening. Perhaps this budding friendship is what finally gave Clippy the confidence to turn over a new leaf.
After starring in a 2015 music video for Delta Heavy's "Ghost," Clippy was inspired to start his own music career, and in February 2017, he released his cover of Smash Mouth's "All Star." While the track has flown somewhat under the radar, it's garnering rave reviews. Clippy's history with Microsoft may have been a blessing in disguise, and Atteberry seems to agree: "The fact that people despise him or hold him in disdain is probably what keeps him in the forefront of our memory," he told Vice. It's good to hear that the beleaguered clip has finally found his place in the world. Good luck to him, and his mystery woman, whomever that might be.