My problem with pens.


I have a house full of old, nonworking pens.  It’s not because I want them.   Keeping up with pens and throwing away old ones is one thing I never seem to bother keeping up with.    Whenever I need a pen, I can never, EVER find a working one.  I have dozens of old markers that no longer have any ink in them, tens of cheap ballpoints I got for free somewhere with no ink in them and non-working clickers; I even have dried up pen refills with no actual pen to cover them.  I have Sharpies with their nubs worn down to nothing.  They all sit forlornly in old coffee mugs around the house.

People can’t understand why I can’t find a working pen when I need one.  They look around at the mugs of pens in every room and on every available surface, and they also know I have drawers full of pens (as well as old phone chargers, paper clips, rubber bands, broken push pins, paid bills from 2003, business cards for businesses I’ll never use or have never heard of, a broken lighter with Y2K joke on it [no joke], and all the other detritus most of us wind up gathering somehow without any effort at all).   I almost always wind up having to borrow their pen — if they’re carrying one — and I can see them just shaking their heads in bemused amazement.

I have the same problem with pencils.  I have at least a hundred pencils — all with broken points or sharpened down to an inch or so (and still sporting broken points) — and not one sharpener.   So the pencils I own are utterly useless.   Maybe I should install a sharpener on the wall, like the one we kept on the basement stairs while I was growing up (I’ll never know why it was installed on the wall of the dark basement stairs, as if it was something to be embarrassed about).


At least with the Internet, I rarely need a pen.  But sometimes I do.  There’s still the occasional form I need to fill out, or the birthday card I need to sign (I hate e-cards).  Sometimes I have to leave post-it notes to myself on the bathroom mirror that say things like:  BUY A PACK OF PENS TODAY!  Hah.  I never learn.   I never go out and buy a pack of pens for these moments.  The one time recently that I did buy a pack, I somehow lost all those pens.  But the old, dried up, broken ones stuck around like unwelcome guests.

And they MULTIPLY.  You know that portal that’s hidden in the back of your washer that sucks your socks into an alternate universe?    Well, I think there’s another portal — a reverse wormhole — from that same universe that spews broken old pens into ours.  Maybe it somehow transforms our socks into pens.  You never know.

Why don’t I just throw away all those broken and nonworking pens and pencils?  Honestly, I don’t know why.    It’s not sentimentality,  and it’s not because “maybe one day I will use them in a multi-media project where I can glue them to a board with all the other useless junk in my drawers and call it art.”  ” No, I think the reason I don’t weed out all the old pens and pencils is pure laziness.   The idea of going through all those mugs and drawers full of broken writing implements and testing them isn’t something I want to spend my day doing.

So the pens stay, and I continue to search in vain for a working pen when I need one.

Anyone want some of my old broken pens?


16 thoughts on “My problem with pens.

  1. When I was a kid, my mom had a drawer full of dried up old pens. You never threw anything away in my household. Not unless it was a fire hazard or an eyesore (my dad’s words).
    One day, I was fiddling with one of the pens that was left out. After a few minutes, I figure out how to fix it. (This is back in good old days of click pens) While my mom was running errands, I got into the pen drawer and took all the pens out and I took them apart, fixing what I could and cannibalizing the rest. I never told my parent what I did. My mom found out the next time she went looking for a pen, and she probably saw the discarded bits in the trash. She came to me, not my sister and ask if I fixed her pens in the pen drawer. After I told her yes, she hugged me and thanked me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a project! I commend you for doing that!
      I remember those Bic Clic pens from the 70s. I wish they still made those. They were good looking pens — they came in bright neon colors and had a thin silver band in the center. They felt good in your hands too. I loved them and collected them in middle school. I wonder why they stopped making them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to be the same… And at one point, I just decided I HAD to throw them away as soon as they died. Otherwise, I think they reproduce themselves and you find yourself with tons of dead/broken pens and pencils 😛

    Good giggles, thanks for sharing 🙂

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  3. I find all of your posts very helpful in one way or another. I have been searching for your email address on many different pages, but cannot find it. Would you please let me know your email address, as I’d like to ask a pertinent question.

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  4. Hahaha very funny… same here the difference is that when I see a broken pen I do throught them but my daughter never does and so keeps collecting and I keep throwing 😃😃. Never ending story…
    Lauren just collect them all and throw them… it feels so good to get rid of things that weigh ypu down and have no use.
    I do go to the other extreme sometimes and throw things that I later have to buy again.., but I prefet to throw rather than to collect 😃. Try it and enjoy the good feeling.

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