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October 18, 2005

My pen: R.I.P.

This may seem like a frivolous thing to write about, but it was so weird that I feel compelled to mention it. Many of you know my penchant for always having a black pen in my pocket. I seldom loan it out, even for a minute, lest it end up in somebody else's pocket; people apparently don't think of pens as belonging to anyone, and they'll walk away with one even if they borrowed it not thirty seconds ago from somebody standing right in front of them. Anyway, suffice to say I hold onto each pen until it runs out of ink, retired with a job well done.

Well, this morning my pen committed suicide, or maybe I killed it accidentally. Here's how it happened. The floor I work on at Dalhousie's chemistry department is closed with a fire door. As I was opening this door, I pulled out my keychain to get ready to unlock my office. But my pen tagged along, caught inside the key ring. I noticed this and tried to grab the errant pen with my right hand, letting go of the door in the process... but I failed. And the pen fell right between my right foot and the rapidly closing door, lodging itself at its widest point under the narrowest part of the door. The door was now stuck half open. I fought to remove the pen but I only succeeded in dismantling it. In the end, I had to use a thin edge of a crowbar to knock the remains of the pen out from under the door.

The pen could not, of course, be put back together. It died very young, with only 10% of its ink used. Now, that's about average for a pen in this dog-eat-pen-top world, but it's far below the lifetime of my pens. It's a tragedy.

(And yeah, I had like ten more in my office. Don't ruin my bittersweet moment)

Posted by The Greatness at October 18, 2005 09:52 AM


I fully understand, often I lament over the loss of a fine pen last fall in the woodland as I was praying and fasting during a spiritual retreat... infantile yes... silly yes.. but is was a darn good pen!!!! I greive for you at the loss of a fine pen

(BTW I too have others but you can get attached to a nice little pen... a good one is hard to find)

Posted by: The Krow at October 18, 2005 06:36 PM

It is both my honor and my disfortune that I have been asked to speak about the life of my friend, the pen. That I did not personally know this pen is of no consequence; I have met his brothers many a time, and he is like family to me. Not that my family members are made out plastic. Or spit ink out of their heads. Really, it's just a metaphor, and I think the pen would not want us to take such things so seriously, even in this time of mourning.

This pen, that it was my own misfortune not to know, was a distinguished pen. He was proud of his heritage and his color. Being black was a privilege and an honor, and he treated his position as such. He worked hard to make the world a better place for pens of all brands, colors and points.

It has been suggested that said Pen commiteed suicide or was accidentally killed by its scribbler. Having some insight into the pen's thinking, I can say with certainty that this is untrue. The pen lived life to the fullest and was unafraid of risks. I am certain that he did not intend to fall when he made the decision to take a joyride on the keychain. It was just another example of the pen wanting to see the wider world outside of his pocket. What happened next was a tragedy, no doubt, but it was not suicide, nor was it death by negligent scribbler. It just was, and the fact that the crowbar of life was need to remove the pen, piece by inky piece, from the doorjam has no signifigance in this matter.

He was a good pen. His mark was true. And I say to everyone here, of all the pens in God's Creation, this pen was one of them.

Posted by: Ethridge at October 20, 2005 12:18 PM

Thanks for the eulogy. As she prefers poetry to prose, The Sweetness wrote an elegy, "In Sympathy on your Penicide":

Just to let you know
I am with you in your sorrow
And all the good times
We had with pen
Are not forgotten

A beautiful gesture, though the reading was somewhat less solemn on the original, an E-Card with the Peer Gynt suite playing and a komodo dragon staring at me.

Posted by: The Greatness at October 20, 2005 01:11 PM

I too understand the loss of a good pen. For us scientists, it is essential to have a comfortable pen at hand when writing pages upon pages of notebook entries. It is a great tragedy to lose one of these "colleagues" who aid us in our work.
Perhaps you can find some comfort in a story of the loss of a dear, inanimate object (yet another friend of mine named Chris). http://www.forkandsaltshaker.com/content/?p=15

Posted by: juls at October 21, 2005 03:46 PM

Hehe. Steve sounds like quite a character. I didn't have that much to say about pen, and that's partly what was tragic about it. Now, pen's predecessor was tight. He and I went everywhere together for close to a year. He signed research proposals and wrote in logbooks. He was in my wedding (signed the marriage certificate). He even picked up the tab for our honeymoon room service. But eventually his ink was spent, and he wrote his last. I think to him with fond thoughts, thankful that he had such a rare long life. But as for this pen, it's terrible. We hardly knew ye...

Posted by: The Greatness at October 21, 2005 04:09 PM

Chris, are you a secret biroanimist? I considered writing many-a pen pun as I have a penchant for that sort of thing but that would only cause us to bic-er. Instead I will pose this theory. Question: How many pens are there in the Pentagon. Answer: one. This leads me to the conclusion, based on your post and comments, that there are very few if any scientists working at the Pentagon. That would explain a lot, particularly their search for weapens of mass destruction.

Posted by: andrew at December 31, 2005 04:24 PM