Friday, December 07, 2007


I know I promised zombies in this space by a week ago, and zombies there shall be, but cut me some slack, you know what I mean? You're not my mom. Unless you're reading this, Mom.

Anyway, I wanted to write about something that made me really angry on Tuesday. I waited until today because I was hoping that by now I would stop being angry, but it's still annoying in a way that nothing other than a small child should be able to irritate me.

I came to college with a single pen. I had a lot of pencils, but for whatever reason, there was this blind spot in my foresight where I simply did not anticipate the need for any. So, when I came here four months ago, I had only the pen in my pocket (I always keep a pen in my pocket).

I actually managed to hang on to it for about three months before it disappeared into whatever netherworld pens go to when they leave their masters. This in and of itself didn't anger me; it was a good pen, and it had served me well. I wished it good luck in its future travels and turned away, not wanting it to see the single tear running down my cheek.

Since then, I've been borrowing my roommate's pens, occasionally with his permission. They're decent pens, but they can never make up for what has been lost. I find it difficult to bring myself to care about them as much as I did for my first pen, but I need something to write with, and write I did. Pens came and went, but I just couldn't bring myself to care.

But on Tuesday, the unforgivable happened. During chemistry lecture, my pen ran out of ink. It was the sort of running-out-of-ink where the pen doesn't just die, it lingers for a little while. It gives you false hope, making you think that maybe if you scribble with it or shake it or hold it at the right angle, it will start writing again, and each of these things breathed a few brief moments of life into my ailing pen, but little by little it faded away into nothingness.

At this point, a reasonable person would quietly mourn the loss of their pen and move on, perhaps shedding a single tear. The emotion I felt was not sadness, however; it was anger. I was angry at my pen for betraying me in my time of need. "How could you do this to me?" I thought loudly (but not aloud). "I am angry at you for betraying me in my time of need!"

I became so angry at my pen - its brief existence, its unfaithful, inconsistent service, the way in which it tantalized me with false life - that I hurled it to the ground at my feet, where, as far as I know, it lies to this day.

It was not until later that I realized why I became so angry at the pen. It wasn't because of its failure; all pens, at some point or another, will fail. No pen lasts forever. It wasn't because of its betrayal; the pen didn't betray me, I betrayed myself with my misplaced faith, my false belief that it would always be there for me.

No, I was angry at the pen because it wasn't the pen that I wanted it to be. It wasn't the same pen that I lost so many weeks ago. When I trusted this pen, I was really trusting my old pen; when it failed, it felt like my old pen was letting me down, and that was a thought that I could not accept.

So, blue ballpoint Bic pen, please forgive me for my rash actions. In return, I will forgive you for depriving me of half a lecture's worth of notes.


king saul fell on his sword when it all went wrong



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