Our house has the largest collection of non-functional pens in the known world.
You will find them just about anywhere. The drawers of our desks, kitchen cabinets, bedroom dressers, and family room end tables are stuffed full of them. They are sticking out of old coffee cups, desk organizers, and brass bookends — and they seem to be multiplying.
Long ago, Kish and I had only a few non-working pens. If a pen ran out of ink or otherwise failed to fulfill its intended purpose, we threw it away. But then a Bic met an attractive Scripto, one thing led to another, and now inoperative pens are everywhere. We’ve got cheap pens that were given away by orthodontists, cheap pens that were part of some lame “gift bag,” cheap pens that will explode for no apparent reason and cover your hand in ink, and cheap pens that have lost their caps and been chewed to within an inch of their lives.
And these cheap pens are clever. They hide in plain sight, living among the tiny handful of working pens, knowing that they likely won’t be tested and discarded because, in reality, no one actually uses pens regularly anymore. And when the chips are down, and a birthday card or important document needs to be signed, they relish the chance to frustrate their human hosts, who fruitlessly try pen after pen after pen, pressing down with increasing force on some hapless piece of paper, pleading to the God of Pens on Mount Olympus to please deliver unto us one — just one! — working pen.
One of these days, I should go through every drawer, cup, and cubbyhole in our house, testing the pens when tempers are cool and discarding those that don’t work. One of these days . . . .