Penning what comes to mind

American Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan,...

American Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, intevista (interview) in Piazza San Carlo, Torino (Turin), Piedmont, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people take things like showers but never give them back. In the immortal words of Nancy Kerrigan, “Why?

Someone recently asked me if they could borrow a pen. Borrowing something by implication means you’ll give it back. This person looked like a user. You know the type. They use pens, people and jobs to suit their own selfish needs. Then they never give them back. I had a few pens in my possession. I gave them what appeared to me to be the one that was the cheapest and about to fail—kind of like the person who accepted my pen and then never returned it in the first place.

An hour later…

“How’s that pen doin’ for ya?”

“Not bad, really, not bad at all.”


Good indeed. The good thing about someone who borrows my pen and then says crap like that is that it really is good they’re getting good use out of my pen. It’ll serve them well. The fact they have already borrowed a pen from me that they never intended to return also makes me look less petty as this next scenario demonstrates.

Bob, um, I don’t have a pen. Can I borrow a pen?”

“Carol, um, what happened to the one I lent you yesterday?”

“You gave me a pen yesterday?”

“No, I lent you a pen yesterday.”



Uncomfortable silence (for her, not me; I kind of like it a lot).

Carol in 1971

Carol in 1971 (Photo credit: rickpilot_2000)

“Well, I don’t remember you giving me a pen yesterday, Bob.”

“Well, you would be correct in your not remembering I gave you a pen because I never did, man, I mean, woman, give you a pen.”

“See? So why can’t you give me a pen today?”

“I could not give you a pen on any day, Carol.”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t give my pens away. I only lend them.”

“And I did not give you a pen yesterday, I lent you one. And you haven’t returned it.”

“Well, I don’t remember, really.”

“It’s just a crappy pen, Bob. Can’t you give me another?”

There you go again, Carol.”

The situation called for my favorite Reaganism and for more than one use of it.

“It was a crappy pen, Carol. You don’t have it anymore, do you.”

“I said I didn’t recall you giving me a stupid pen, Bob.”


Carol (Photo credit: diogro)

“There you go again, Carol. I didn’t give it to you. I lent it to you. So, it would stand to reason that you couldn’t remember me giving it to you because I lent it to you. And how dare you refer to it as stupid. No need for name calling (I had to throw that in for my own comic relief as the stress of this Cro-Magnonesque exchange was causing some hair to spring screaming from my head).

“Whatevs. No need to be a dick, Bob”

“There you go again with the name calling.”

“I used to think you were a cool dude, Bob.”

“Ooh that one hurt more than a Catholic high school upbringing, Carol.”



“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lower myself to name calling like you just did.”

“Calling you a dork isn’t name calling; you’re a dork, Bob.”

“Whatevs, Carol.”

“So can’t you just give me another pen?”

“No. Check that. Hell no.”

“Why should I throw another perfectly good writing implement into the black hole that is your pen-sucking vortex?”

“Dork-speak, Bob, dork-speak.”

“Balderdash, Carol.”

“Are you trying to wear me down?”


“Are you trying to wear me down?”

“You are a freak, Bob.”

“First I’m a dork. Now I’m a freak. Nice, Carol, nice. I’m really feeling the love now.”

“I wouldn’t borrow a pen from you if you were the last guy on earth.”

“You just freakin’ did yesterday, Carol.”

“No, if I don’t remember it, it probably didn’t happen.”

“It happened, believe me, it happened.”

“No way.”


Two Llamas in a Pen

Two Llamas in a Pen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Carol…can I tell you something?”

“Shoot you’ll tell me whether I say yes or not, Bob.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.”

“Anyway…you may not be a user of jobs.”

“You may not be a user of people, at least not directly.”

“But you are most definitely a user of pens, bordering on being an abuser.”

“Pen abuse is real, Carol. It happens. And you are skirting on the fringes of pen abuse with your pen-sucking vortex.”

“Suck a what?”

“Shut up, Carol, you’re giving me a headache.”

“Bobbers can’t give Carol a pen tonight because he’s got a headache? Poor baby.”

“I am wearing you out, aren’t I.”

“It’s my birthday, Carol. Give me a break.”


“No. I’m freaking makin’ it up. What do you think?”

“It’s not really your birthday, Bob, is it?”

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Yes it is you pen-sucking crumstick, you!”

Happy Birthday to you,

Happy Birthday to  you,

You look like a monkey,

And you smell like one, too.



Editor’s Note: This is a completely fictional account of a true story that happened in my head. The names and faces were changed to protect the innocent. Let the record show that Carol never actually received another pen from Bob—either by his giving or lending to her. Carol, like most classic users, remains unable to make the distinction between giving and borrowing to this day. She refuses to seek professional help and has pilfered countless dozens of writing implements from unsuspecting passersby. While it may seem easier to just give her your pen when she asks for it, instead just debate endlessly with her on whether or not she is a taker, user and pen thief—even if it’s on your birthday.

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