In my purse, on my desk and in my drawer at work are pens. I also have two little plastic storage units with drawers that hold a variety of office supplies. In there are quite a few pens as well. I probably have 30 pens, and maybe 5 of them work. This morning I wanted to write a check to pay the man that mows my lawn. Three pens later, I was able to complete that task. What did I do with the non working pens? Put them back in my purse, of course!
I don’t know why I have a hard time ridding myself of non-working office supplies, but I do. Part of it comes from this strange mentality that I have, a fear of being wasteful, coupled by a desire to recycle and reuse what I can. I know, I should just throw the pens that won’t produce ink away, but this little voice in my head tells me that maybe next time that pen will work, so I continue to save it.
The problem is, that I suspect that I have a pen curse. I think other people can use pens that refuse to relinquish their ink for me. Paranoid you say? I’ve actually seen it happen. I have picked up a pen at work that was just put down by a co-worker who had just finished using it, only to have it provide nothing of any writing value for me.
Every so often I go on a pen purge, testing all the ones I own, and throwing out the ones I know don’t work. I throw pens in the trash while resisting that little inner voice that is crying “Noooo!” at my supposed frivolity. I keep only what is working and am always surprised at how few working pens remain after that purge. I have discovered that some of the best pens that I own were obtained, likely not on purpose at a doctor’s office. Those are the pens with a mediation labeled somewhere on them. My current favorite is purple and promotes a popular allergy medication. It works almost every time. I can never find it.
That is the other problem, the fact that these pens abandon me with no warning. There have been several occasions where I’ve reached in to my purse at the beginning of class only to discover that the only thing in my purse that one could possibly write with is a lipstick. I end up having to borrow something from a classmate. After class I go back to my car and see a pen sitting right there, on the passenger seat, taunting me.
I do believe that my pens sit in on planning meetings with my sunglasses, my cell phone and my car keys, all of which do random disappearing acts. The pens play their part of this drama with extra skill, by randomly hiding themselves so that I can only dig out the ink-dead pens, or masquerading themselves as one of their ink-less peers. When I am finished, and have walked away in frustration, I suspect that my office supplies have a good laugh at my expense.