Monday, May 30, 2011

I am Jerry, Destroyer of Pens

I don't know what it is. It must be an illness or something. I ought to go to a psychiatrist or something and have it checked out. Here's my dirty little secret: I destroy pens.

Seriously. I don't just mean that I chew on pens - though it's true that I do, hard enough to splinter hard plastic pens or to leave deep tooth marks in soft plastic pens. What I mean by 'destroy' is 'dissect'. If it were pens they dissected and not foetal pigs, I could by now be a famous biologist. There is no pen I can not take apart are reassemble over and over again, as a nervous habit.

A pen always contains some kind of cartridge. Your simple Bic is no more than a cartridge and a shell, with a tiny soft plastic bit stuck in the end that somehow keeps the pen from exploding, and with a pinhole midway down the shell, for no clear reason except to suck in spittle and leave the inside of the pen flecked with drool if you happen to be the kind of person who sticks pens lengthwise in your mouth. A Bic has no screw-like threads on it, though many do - which are good for hours of screwing and unscrewing. It also has no click-mechanism, meaning no tiny little spring. I can't count how many springs I've played with, every now and then accidentally shooting them across the room to the wonderment of whoever I happen to be sharing a room with. Most click-pens will have two plastic doodads that roughly interlock, with a kind of geartooth shape to them. When you've taken the pen apart and are playing with these two bits of plastic, it's tough to really get a sense of how they conspire to create a pen whose nib sticks out of the pen with one click but contracts turtle-like within its shell upon the second click. And yet they do. More reliably than Bill O'Reilly's tides. Never a miscommunication.

Well aware of my ability to torture them at a moment's notice, pens are wary of me, and like a squid cornered in some stretch of ocean will spray their ink all over me - or, at least, all over my pocket. I can't count how many pens have exploded in my pocket over the years.

I'm well aware that my particular stylocidal nervous habit is not exactly a good thing, something I need to rid myself of. But when holding a pen and bored out of one's mind, what else is there to do with a pen?

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