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Tuesday, April 23, 2002
My PaperMate pen ran out of ink. Finally.
When I joined my current job last Summer, I grabbed two generic PaperMate pens out of the office supply cabinet. For work, I have used no other pens except these two.
So today was an oddly satisfying day. The pen gave out during a presentation I was attending. I had been scribbling notes furiously, but with about fifteen minutes to go, the ink started thinning out. It produced the recognizable fade of a pen nearing its end. I wrote until the pen scratched invisible notes on my paper, before I put it in my pocket.
At home, I took the pen apart. Its barrel of ink was empty. I felt like the character out of a cartoon I once saw who exclaimed "Yes!" when he gets to the last Post-it Note. I want to announce to my co-workers tomorrow: "My pen died yesterday. I've been using it for ten months straight!"
Being strict about using these pens was an exercise in discipline and restraint. Office pens are in such abundance that it's easy to take their presence for granted. I guarded these pens, however. I carefully watched people who needed to borrow it during meetings. I felt a little odd everytime I brought one of them home by mistake. These were my work pens. They belonged at work.
And now this one pen has gone. I'll be casually replacing it tomorrow, grabbing a pen out of the boxes of fresh new pens in our supply cabinet. But there'll be nothing casual about how I'll be keeping it over the next year.