Grab your nearest pen and examine it’s features. Is it a micro billboard for a dentist, a plumber, a church, an insurance agency? Where did you get it? Did you acquire it honestly or do you just have no idea where it came from?
If you are in the latter category, you may have PKD or partial kleptomania disorder. You don’t mean to steal pens; you just do. “Can I borrow a pen please?” is code for “you’re never gonna see this baby again.”
Maybe it started as a baby when you held your first rattle. Maybe it started as a toddler in preschool when the other kid’s toy was more desirable than yours, so–
You snatched it.
You weren’t thinking of the future. You were living in the now, a positive character trait you perhaps spent untold thousands of dollars relearning from your shrink, as you learned to let it go (all your anxiety) and embrace the present (for it is indeed a gift).
The thing is we live in a highly distractible world. Most people schedule their calendar, pay their bills, check their email, conduct their personal and professional calls, and tweet and post to the world their minute by minute status at the CLICK of a button on a vast array of smart devices.
Not me. I mean I have a smart phone and I use some of its features. But I’m still a pen and paper kind of gal. And my pocket book runs deeper than my memory. I mean way deep.
Even when I’m up to my elbows in used Kleenexes, crumpled coupons, crumb-crusted chopped off lipstick tubes with no tops, loose coins, a few Happy Meal toys, and my emergency dollar (to be used only if the apocalypse is suddenly upon us) I continuously bump up against this truth:
I can’t find my friggin’ pen!
So I feign extreme hardship and ask the nearest stranger that exudes an ounce of grace, may I please borrow one. I bat my eyelashes, and voila!
A new pen magically appears in my hand!
Van Cleef and Arpels — Montblanc’s Mystery Masterpiece — Value: $730,000
So I write my check at the check-out line, and then notice I can’t find my phone. Hey, where did my kid go? He was right here! Dang it! The cashier already bagged my stash and forgot to use the reusable bags under my cart again! On and on the physical and mental drama continues. But time marches forward quickly. Soon I find my kid, load my car with supplies, and what seems like a matter of nanoseconds, I am at the bank teller line, ready to make a deposit. Correction, ready to make a withdrawal and play a round of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” with a variety of low-valued bank accounts.
I hit SEND in the bank’s drive thru line, as I simultaneously hit CALL. Whoosh, goes the pneumatic cylinder, straight to the banker’s awaiting hands. “May I help you?” she asks, sensing I’ve just wasted electricity to send her a tube of nothing.
“May I borrow a pen, please?”
“No problem, Liz.”
I love it. They all know me. How is it that a big metropolitan bank has an entire staff who knows me personally by name, despite an absence of large funds or influence? Now that’s service.
And then I remember, oh yeah, I already got a pen. Oh well. By now, the new pen has sailed effortlessly through space and time and is now in my hand conducting complicated banking business.
“Liz?” the teller asks.
“It looks like your front tire is low on air. You may wanna take a look at that.”
Seriously? Now that is PHENOMENAL service I think. I’m so inspired by this teller’s personal concern I may go home and write a letter of commendation to the branch manager.
“Thank you! I will!” as I send back the various checks, withdrawal, and transfer slips, and a roll of coins as I remember, oops, you’re not supposed to send those. You might clog the pipes. Too late!
Whoosh! The various receipts come back. “Thanks again!” I exclaim as I drive off, still so happy that my bank teller is more concerned about my personal welfare than just money.
An hour later I’m home, the tire’s infused with fresh air, my kid’s had his meal on wheels, and all our supplies our mostly put away. My son is ready to do his homework.
Arrrghh! He can’t find his pencil, one of at least two hundred I’ve surely bought this year, a penance or form of poetic justice I suppose, and one I endure often. I plunge both arms into my pocket book to see if I can find a token of tree and lead.
“Just forget about it” I say, “just use a pen this time.” I pray his first grade teacher doesn’t mind.
Oh no! I’m plagued with guilt. I silently ask God for forgiveness. Almost immediately, this burden mysteriously lifts.
“Which one do you want?” I ask my son. The purple one (Dr. Elvin Schmidt, Proctologist) or the black one (Black Bic, no frills—probably came from the bank).
I try to behave, be kind, and live in the truth. But if you ever find yourself annoyed, because you can’t find your pen as you spin a 360 stammering, “I just had it!”, then I humbly ask your forgiveness now.
For I am just a lowly, aspiring writer whose brain thinks at a slightly higher RPM than a car’s tachometer straining in the red zone.
I can only say a prayer and hope St. Peter holding his Book of Life has his pen firmly in his grasp.