Publishing at midnight tonight, Jillian, Akie and I wrote about the trials and tribulations of pen ownership and lending in this week’s Perpetual Post. I’ve also written a couple other pieces you can find over there in the last few weeks. Busy busy!


I do understand that it is important to be prepared, which is why I carry eye drops, lip gloss, Advil and a packet of tissues in my purse at all times. And sometimes a pen. Or not. When it comes to pens, I belong to the school of thought believes that the next pen is always just around the corner. Because you see, stray pens can often be found lying around on desks and counters, just waiting to be temporarily used by people like me. And when that is not the case, it is not that difficult to borrow a pen, even from a stranger—which is not true for most other things. Try asking a stranger on the bus if you can borrow their eye drops and you’ll see what I mean.

Another exciting thing about borrowing a pen from someone is that a small percentage of the time they tell you to just keep it. And that’s exciting! It means that you have another pen that you can take home and leave lying around somewhere.

You pen-lovers know who I am, and you despise me. I’m the person who thoughtlessly wanders away with one of your prized pens. I’m the pen-shunner who never has one of my own and is always asking to borrow yours and after I use it it never writes quite right again. To all those who treasure your pens, keep them safe and are loathe to lend them out to people like me, I am sorry. I didn’t take your fancy pen on purpose (usually). I’m sorry I rewarded your generosity with theft.

A very dear friend of mine insists on carrying at least five pens, two mechanical pencils, one highlighter and a sharpie marker or two with him at all times. Even in his own home, which is already stuffed to the brim with jars of pens on every surface, he keeps his pockets fully stocked with pens and ready to go. On occasion we’ll find ourselves sitting on the couch and watching TV, and I’ll notice that a half dozen or so pens are falling halfway out of his pants pocket, so I’ll take them out for him and put them on the coffee table for safekeeping. This genuinely disturbs him. “Please don’t do that,” he’ll say. “I might forget to put them back in my pocket when I get up, and then I won’t have a pen when I need one.” (Or ten!)

I feel that this terrifying scenario is unlikely to happen to him. I’m fairly sure he keeps several pens strapped to his ankles and one lone sharpie duct-taped to the middle of his back in the case of a dire emergency. For his sake, I almost hope that someday I am proven wrong—for example, that someday a small army of people will gather around him and express their desperate, burning need to scribble, highlight, and otherwise record data on paper, all at the same time! At that point his seemingly overflowing reserves of writing implements will be joyfully distributed among the grateful, pen-less masses while I look on, agog. I know how much he will enjoy it if my comeuppance ever comes in this way. Until that day comes, though, I will mock him mercilessly, even as I borrow his pens. The world is a cruel place.