#212 When the guy who borrowed your pen actually gives it back

Books, blow dryers, babies in baskets.

These are all things we’d like back.

These are all things we usually get back.

But somehow it’s different with pens. When someone borrows one it’s like they’re immediately shipped to the Island of Misfit Toys with the rest of their often-borrowed-rarely-returned brothers and sisters. Since nobody wants to be the whiner asking for their paperclip or hair elastic, these misfits just disappear into the abyss.

And that’s what makes it so great when someone actually gives you your pen back. It’s almost like getting a gift. “Wow, thanks,” you mutter, as the guy filling his customs form beside you on the plane passes back your ballpoint.

“Never thought I’d see this again.”


Photo from: here

64 thoughts on “#212 When the guy who borrowed your pen actually gives it back

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a single pen, pencil, whiteout, binder clip, marker, eraser, or pencil sharpener returned to me. I mean, I’m talking like … since middle school. I have a reputation for loving office supplies and the like, so I guess it’s assumed that my desk runneth over with such items. However, given that no one returns them … my supply is in a constant state of flux. I dream of this happening one day. :)

    1. My desk runneth over with office supplies in rainbow colors and people come in when I’m not even there to “borrow” my colorful staples, binder clips, and paper clips :/

        1. Who carries around erasers? Psh, I’m not organized enough for that….it’s usually me asking to borrow.

      1. Somebody at work borrowed my scissors 5 years ago when I was out sick one day and they still haven’t shown up.

    2. I don’t mind lending out things, but I don’t lend out any of my good stuff. All my pens that write well are all hidden away. My colorful post-its… you’ll never find them. They are mine. I know I’ll never get anything back, that’s why I lend out my crappy supplies. If they want something good, they gotta go get it themselves. I’m a little stingy with my office supplies. Good pens are so hard to come by these days.

      1. Good call. See, that’s what I did with my desk when I was a GA … I had out PLENTY of stuff that people could use — unsticky sticky notes, plain pencils, generic ball points, etc. I guess people eventually realized that I kept my good “stash” inside my desk because they’d skip right over those other things. I even caught the department head doing it! She got in my desk to get cute paperclips (that were MINE — not from the supply room) while I was sitting right there! All I could do was just look at her. She didn’t get the hint.

      2. That’s why when someone is kind enough to lend me their good supplies (ussually followed with a if I lend this to you, will you give it back?) I try extra hard to give it back! Once I lost a really good pen someone loaned me, and had to search 3 different stores to find a suitable replacement :/

  2. Gah! That is so annoying when people steal your pens. I film the weekly guest lectures for my school and the speakers have to sign a waiver so that I can film them and 50% of the time my pen disappears. In an age where typing is more common than writing, since when does it feel natural to walk off with a pen in your hand? I guess I should just be happy that the other 50% of the time, I get my pen back, but now I’m angry that the school doesn’t provide me with a pen budget and also that I don’t notice until it’s too late that my pen is gone.

    1. When I was in grad school and worked as a GA, my savior was the supply room … my desk was in a shared office (think: big open room with four other GA desks and the department copier in it), so there was lots of in and out … people would take pens/pencils/paper clips OUT OF MY DESK. They’d use my tape, run off with my stapler, use up glue sticks/Post-its, etc. Infuriating! Luckily none of it came out of my own pocket and I’d just beebop on down to the supply room and grab some more. Sad that I was able to figure that out and some of the other faculty members seemed to have a hard time with it …

      1. Yeah…the only problem is that students don’t get to use the supply room. It’s for staff only, and a lowly GA such as myself doesn’t count :(

        1. Also, I don’t even think faculty has access…I’m always ordering stuff for my lab from Office Depot.

  3. I had a friend return a pencil to me in my last week of high school. He had only needed it for one second, several years beforehand. I called that pencil “Tiny”, because he was, well… tiny. About two inches long.

    I was absurdly delighted to receive Tiny back, in all his two inches of glory (yes, still two inches. My friend had held onto him for years without actually using him).

    Yes, getting your borrowed pen(cil) back is undoubtedly AWESOME! :D

  4. The e-post this evening displayed a bright blue and beautifully decorated Avatar for Neil…is this the first time???
    *This is a rhetorical request please and thank you:)

    1. I thought perhaps he’d joined your card-change games, but turns out my eyes were being tricky; it’s no different than the others.
      hmmm where is my pretty purple pen to strike that from the record…

  5. I accidentally steal people’s pencils, especially the mechanical ones. It’s not that I try….it just happens. That’s why I am grateful when people give me a reminder to give them back their pencils, so I don’t forget.

  6. My bff turned me on to ‘collecting’ office supplies. I’ll never look at paper clip or a stack of post-its the same. My purse if full of pens and pads of paper and organizers. My desk has binder clips clipped everywhere. I have 2 things full of pens, pencils, highlighter, Sharpies…I put the crappy ones in the holder that everyone can see since they tend to come get whatever they want whenever they want without asking and I never get anything back. The good stuff is hidden for only me.

          1. OMG, what a yummy-wanna-pinch-his-cheeks Easter basket treat!! That pic is just too adorable, Bekah! I don’t imagine you’re loaning out that beautiful baby in a basket, though. :)

  7. Unless it’s a *favorite* pen I don’t see having an issue with this; I have a lot of pens.

    Cigarette lighters on the other hand, those are really awesome when someone gives it back. Or maybe this is just my problem for having lighter theif friends :)

  8. I work at a bank, and my coworker steals all my pens when I’m at lunch or on vacay, she always has approx 6 pens to my 1 and if I have more than 1 she takes the other one. so annoying.

    1. OMG! right after I posted this my manager came over with approximate 10 pens for me! I bet they will all be gone when I get back from Vegas on Wednesday haha

  9. Most people who put babies in baskets don’t want them back and attach a note which reads, “Take Good Care of My Baby.”
    Take Moses, for example.
    Who would have wrote the Ten Commandments, and what would they say?
    If he would’ve been raised by his biological mother, you have to wonder how this all might have turned out.
    *still can’t find my pretty purple pen*

    1. … and maybe his writings were somewhat influenced as well by the fact that the person who had borrowed his pen had yet to return it!
      I mean look what he had to resort to!

      *I found my pretty purple pen, right where I’d left it=D “Oh Happy Day!”

  10. Hmm..I am carrying a pen that doesn’t belong to me. I guess I’ll be giving someone the ‘awesome’ back tomorrow. Thanks again Neil :)

    1. lol! Must have been one of those classic ink pens that write so beautifully – the kind with the clicky top and perfect grip.

  11. Have you ever borrowed someone’s pen and then accidentally started chewing on it? I’ve done that before and just had to never give them the pen back.

  12. Not a getting the pen back story, but I once received an iconic wooden hammer from our school’s chaplain. He was about to retire and realized he’d never returned the nifty pen he’d borrowed.

  13. That’s why I never lend my pen to anyone, except my little sister, who is really awesome! It’s as if she actually knew that abyss place and doesn’t want the pen to end up there. YEY :D

  14. I once loaned a pen out to someone in the beginning of my frosh year of highschool (it was a homemade pen so I could easily recognize it) I watched it slowly circulate around the school from one person to another, until finally finding it abandoned on a cafeteria table 9 months later :)

  15. I always hace every intention of returning said borrowed pencil. Problem is I usually remember after the pencil lender is long gone. So, to all of you who have post a pencil to me, I apologize.

  16. I used to work at a big box store, and carried at least two pens and a box cutter with me everywhere. It’s amazing how many people don’t carry a pen with them- and how many fellow employees, managers, and customers I had to chase down to get back my pen.

  17. I’ve had tons of paperclips returned to me – almost immediately! The funny part was they were returned when I was intending to give them away – eg paperclip holding papers together.

  18. I’ve now graduated high school and am still waiting for the guy in my grade 9 first semester math class to return my ruler and my eraser.

  19. #212b When the Awesome thing of the day happens to you the same day

    My boss borrowed my pen yesterday (well, I guess two days ago — 06/29/11). She jokingly said that she wouldn’t return it, because she loves my pens (I’m very specific about what pen I will use). Two hours later, she had finished her paperwork and walked away with my pen. I decided to let it go.

    An hour later, she walked up, surprised that she remembered, and returned my pen to me.

    I smiled. And then I remembered that I started my day reading the Awesome post #212, and laughed, exclaiming “THIS IS TODAY’S AWESOME THING!!” My boss and friend were surprised and confused. I proceeded to pull up http://www.1000awesomethings.com on my friend’s computer to prove that it was, indeed, “#212 When the guy who borrowed your pen actually gives it back” day.


  20. This situation (not getting your pen returned) becomes even worse when you go to a tennis match or something and give the player something to sign with your pen, hoping that they will return both of them, and then they only return their signature and keep the pen. Unlike the office co-worker scenario, here you can’t even ask for your pen back. :( Definitely something to go on the 1000 annoying things.

  21. Many times it gets difficult (almost 80% ) that borrower has got back your pen next day ……..because he/she forgets it to get it with them or they simply do no want to give it to me.

  22. I like to supply myself with a lot of pens, in school if you ‘borrow’ a pen it generally means keep it. Don’t give it to them in the first place if you don’t trust them because when I lend a pen to someone they try eating it, throwing it around the class room and having no intention to give it back either take it home with them or just leave it there on the table for me to pick up. I’m like ‘wow you really don’t care about my stuff do you’ And worst of all this one person took my pen that I never got back and then later on they asked me again to ‘borrow’ another one?! Urghh I said ‘ What happened to the last one you took’ Some people are just really careless or stupid. At least if your going to keep someone’s pen don’t loose it. This is just the most annoying thing ever, get a damn pen for school!!

  23. Wow, so someone here at work borrowed my really awesome Pen. It is really “Inkie.” And it cost me nothing since I got it free using a coupon. Original price is $5.

    He still has it when I walked by his desk. I guess I’m glad he is still using it, but I kinda want my pen back. After all, he did ask just to borrow it for a moment.

    I’m not sure if I should ask for it back, or if I should switch it out with a crappy blue pen when he steps away from his desk.

    I don’t want to be selfish though…. I say that because I have another of the same exact pen; unused. Still has the plastic ball and everything.

    Alas, I’ll just let it go like zatarra83. Maybe my day will one day be as awesome as yours.

    P.S. This blog is pretty old be be responding to, lol.

    1. How bittersweet, knowing that your really awesome pen is being appreciated and cherished, but at the same time, wishing it was you to appreciate and cherish it, and even worse seeing it every day as a reminder! I used to have people who would walk by my desk and decide to borrow a pen even when I wasn’t there, taking one out of my pen holder. I would come back and within an hour realize the loss, and keep my eye out for it. It got to the point that I filled my desk pen holder with the undesirable pens — you know, the marketing freebies that you get that don’t write consistently, leaving you scribbling furiously for a minute before you are able to create the satisfying dark cloud on the corner of your important document. Now, the good pens are in my drawer, and the subpar pens are available for public consumption.
      I will hope for the day that your pen is returned. :)

  24. I am really nice and if I have an extra lead pencil I give it out. I gave one out today to someone kind of a friend in my class. She asked to use one and I told her yes and I asked her to give it back by the end of class. Then she asked could I keep it until the end of the day and I still said ok. Did she give it back yesterday? NO. It is night time now and I realized she didn’t give it back. Ugh. I hope she gives it back.

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