My Blue Pen

ink-stainTimes don’t change. People do.

When I was younger I wrote t-shirts. In 8th grade I wore the Star Wars variety every day for an entire year. Every. Single. Day. Yeah, I was out memeing while most of you were still in your diapers. You might say it was a sign of things to come.

Somewhere on the way to becoming a grumpy grandpa my practice of wearing t-shirts gradually fell to the wayside and was replaced by button-front shirts. Nothing fancy, mind you. I still hate clothes. But if I have to wear them at least give me a pocket and a place to keep my pen.

That’s another thing. Somehow I picked up strange habits involving pens.

At one time or another I must have experienced a traumatic “lost pen” incident. I began to glom on to them. I’d spend a good part of my day concerned about the location and status of my pen. And may the heavens help you if you tried to walk away with it. You would be smited.

It wasn’t long until I always had a pen in the shirt pocket. It was omnipresent. It became part of me. It was integral to my identity.

It didn’t hurt that nerds were often depicted with things like pocket protectors and pens. I didn’t have a pocket protector but I sure had my pen.

One time I picked up a free pen from a store. It advertised their name and phone number. That pen felt right. It became my favorite. I clung to that thing for 10 long years before it finally ran out of ink and I learned Staples didn’t sell refills. Rest in peace, my friend.

You may not be able to understand how powerful the practice of keeping a pen in your shirt can be. Basically it works like this: Any time you need a pen you already have one! Yeah, it’s like that.

After I lost my favorite and I couldn’t find refills I did some research and selected a new pen. I ordered two boxes of 10: One with blue ink and one in black.

Now my practice became to always carry both. Black and blue. A matching set. I was ready for anything. It felt like I had really accomplished something, too. At my rate of consumption these babies should easily last two hundred years, I thought proudly.

Any time I wanted I could choose the ink color I wanted. It was sublime.

And so it was I found myself in a doctor’s office for the first time. And that meant I had to fill out the damn forms. Ugh. They handed over the forms on a clipboard and one of their pens.

Aha, I thought. I don’t need your pen. I got my own!

I took the clipboard and left their pen on the counter. This might seem like a small thing but pay attention. Fun is about to ensue.

For this job I decided to use my blue pen.

After a couple hours of tiny, cramped writing, my hand hurt like hell and was curled and cramped in position like a lobster claw. It was now painfully deformed into a hook hand. A hook hand! Peter Pan better not show his face around here.

Like Oliver returning to the scene of the gruel, I pushed the forms back at the cruel taskmistress who had forced them on me. She looked alarmed.

“This isn’t good,” she said. “This won’t do at all.”

I was befuddled. What in the name of Zeus’ butthole was she prattling on about?

“This was supposed to be completed in black ink,” she hissed menacingly. “You’ll have to redo it. All of it.”

Her tone induced something I like to call the Urine Retreat.

“It has to be black ink,” she added unnecessarily, “in case they ever need to be faxed.”

Cleverly I thought to myself, but did not say out loud, What the hell, lady? Why didn’t you just fucking say so?

Didn’t they figure that some people are so proud of their pens that they just might use their own? Does that ever happen? Is it even a thing? And what did she think when I left their pen on the counter? That I was channeling the Great Black Ink Of The Sky? C’mon!!!

If it has to be black ink, then say so as you hand over your little packet of torment. Fool. Now I had to pay for her lack of vision.

Like a Peanuts character who had just received bad news I shuffled back to their uncomfortable little chair and went back to work on a new set of empty forms.

This time I used their black pen. I wasn’t taking any more chances.

Why does shit like this keep happening to me???

In other news, I’m thinking about adding red to my collection. Methinks it will work great in situations where profanity will come in handy.

Bonus video: For the extra curious, the scene was remarkably similar to this. So similar it’s eerie.

8 responses

  1. Blue ink faxes just fine, unless it was some very light shade of turquoise. That woman was just being a shitty person because she can be.


    1. Aha! I thought so! I remember thinking that exact same thing. “WTF? Is she nuts?!?!?” I will have more to say about this establishment quite soon or my name isn’t I. M. Negative! 🙂

      Thanks for pointing out the elephant in the room that I completely failed to mention! 🙂


  2. CORRECTION: This statement ‘Like a Peanuts character who had just received bad news I shuffled back to their uncomfortable little chair and went back to work on a new set of empty forms” should read, “My wife stood at the counter with a pasted smile to her face telling the receptionist that her husband is incompetent. She then proceeded to re-fill out my form in black ink for me”.

    Seriously, must I always correct you TOM?!


    1. I see you noticed that I employed a theatrical device known as my “poetic license.” Thanks for pointing that out, sweets.


  3. Remember those pens with the wide barrels that had clickers that could load up a different colored ink pen — blue, black, red, and the almost-never-used green? Man, miss those things.


    1. I had one of those. I was the James Bond of ink color. But that was a long time ago and they were rather unwieldy and awkward. Not at all like my favorite. Sometimes a more singular focus is preferable. Sometimes less is more. Besides, in this particular story, I could have still chosen the wrong color. And we all know that leads to hook hand!


  4. […] Since we were new customers we had to fill out some forms. That experience is documented fully in the previous post entitled My Blue Pen. […]


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