I have a Mont Blanc Meisterstück Rollerball pen. Yes, a Rollerball. Yes, it is a Magical Pen.

I prefer the smooth action of a Rollerball instead of a messy fountain pen for hardcore, everyday, use. In fact, if I could write this blog with my Rollerball it would be so. Much. Better. My Mont Blanc Rollerball was a gift and I am amazed how many people want to “borrow my pen” every day and I am shocked how each one of them become viscerally insulted when I deny their request. Most conversations go a little something like this:

BORROWER: Can I borrow your pen?

ME: No, you may not.

BORROWER: Huh? Why not!

ME: Because it’s a Magic Pen.

BORROWER: A magic WHAT?!

Then I usually have to turn away and run down the street or back out of the room. Sometimes a I am chased. Few people are able to properly handle the “may I borrow your pen” rejection with any sense of grace, understanding, or empathy.

The first reason I don’t lend my Magic Pen is the tendency for people
— like students and delivery men — to rarely return a borrowed, ordinary, .13 cent Bic pen, let alone a gifted $200.00USD Magic Rollerball.

The second reason I don’t lend my Magic Pen is when others use your Magic Pen — including wives and family members — some of the magic gets rubbed off in their sticky, grubby, non-magical, fingers.

The third reason is I don’t lend my Magic Pen is all people love to JAM the pen cap on the end of the pen with as much force as it takes to hammer a nail into concrete.

Sometimes, when pressed by good friends, and employers, to allow the use of my Magic Pen, I will offer the pen without the cap… but that always gets me a look of disgust that I don’t trust them enough — and I don’t — to delicately place the cap on the end of the Magic Pen with as much love and attention as I use.

A capless pen also usually always guarantees its return. When my borrowed pen is returned, I always blow on it to remove their non-magical debris, and then I rub the barrel on my shirt to wash off their fingerprints. That public cleansing ritual usually doesn’t go over very well, either. I won’t go into the other 731 reasons I don’t lend my Magic Pen.

I will, however, share one circumstance when I did lend my Magic Pen. The conversation went a little something like this:

STUDENT: Can I borrow your pen?

ME: No, you may not.

STUDENT: Huh? Why not!

ME: Because it’s a Magic Pen.

STUDENT: If you let me borrow your pen, I’ll add more magic to it.
(Pause to consider the offer.)

ME: What kind of magic?

STUDENT: The kind you can’t talk about in public.
(Pause to wonder about the different kinds of magic and then looking around the classroom to see who’s listening to us.)

ME: (whispering) Okay.
(Gives pen sans cap.)

STUDENT: Thanks.
(Signs the attendance sheet. Hands the back the pen. Pen vibrates in hand.)

ME: Wow!

STUDENT: Uh-huh.

Do you have any personal totems you refuse to loan even though others wish to borrow them from you?

How do you handle those requests to borrow?

Do you ever feel the need to explain your perceived insanity?

29 Comments

  1. You. Crack. Me. Up. 🙂
    To be honest I kind of feel that way about my car. My husband and kids use it as a tool. But to me my car is a living breathing machine and I can feel it’s moods (yes, I am quite aware of how strange I am :-)). And she does not like to be used and simply thrown aside. She wants to be cared for and tidied up and cleaned. She then feels all sassy. Otherwise she just feels downtrodden and sad. So, I am very particular about when and how we use my car as a family. When it’s just me and her, we get along famously, but when they’re about, she’s just grumpy.

  2. Yes, natzgal, a car is an excellent example!
    We Who Know understand a sick care can be willed well enough to make it to the gas station or home to the garage. Those Unable To Know get stalled in the street or stuck on an overpass.
    Can you ban them from touching your car? Or is your car preferred because it looks the best and works well?

  3. P.S. —
    The Author’s list is auto-generated on the backend by WordPress.com. I don’t choose the author order or formatting.
    I only set the widget title and the number of articles to show. It’s such a great list of genius writing! 😀

  4. This is an absolutely hilarious article.
    I have special pens, too, though none as special as your Magic Pen.
    A related oddity I share is the desire to keep every book I own with me whenever I move. When I moved out of my parents’ home for college, I insisted we drive all my books to NY. Makes moving a really heavy job but I like having them around.

  5. neelofer —
    Your special pens have Magic Pen possibilities. Magic takes time and as little borrowing as possible always helps.
    Your books are your friends! You better take them with you! Walls are made for bookshelves, not televisions or photographs or paintings. If you get a Kindle, as I did, the art of having to lug around all that paper quickly dissipates.
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2007/12/03/my-kingdom-for-a-kindle-or-two-or-six/

  6. Only you could have a *magic pen* – love it 🙂
    I have several items on the magic list – my now very ancient Landrover Discovery – no-one else was allowed to drive it at all – ever. It was the first car I bought for me with my own money ( left to me by my father).
    I also have a pack of Tarot Cards that I will not let anyone else use – they are mine they are attuned to me – a gift from my mentor.
    I am pretty mean with several of my specialist toys as well – one leather cat-o-nine tails in purple and black – never gets used by anyone else – again because it has my energy in it.
    Your story about the lad in class reminds me of a very good Buddhist friend of mine who recharges all my crystals with that buzzing energy when he visits.
    Some things are sacrosanct – and if people cannot understand that – they do not deserve to use them anyway.

  7. Hi David,
    I am not fiercely possessive about anything precious in my life – except gift items. That too, I can happily part with if the receiver is dearer to me than the possession.
    Probably because, being the eldest one amongst my cousins I was instructed to share/give away my toys/books etc. (not very happily though!) to my juniors – that’s the way I grew up.
    I am not sure if I would let a stranger/acquaintance borrow something from me though.

  8. David, two things I will not lend out – definitely my laptop and my Waterman fountain pen. I have a specific ritual for the ink refilling as I dont use refill. I feel rather possessive over this pen. I dont like other people’s sweaty palms and fingers to touch my laptop either…

  9. Nicola!
    How do you get away without letting anyone else driver your Land Rover? Cars always seem to become community property. 😀
    Love the recharged crystals! The student that vibrated my pen was a little older than the other students. He’d done a couple of Army tours though he was still in his 20’s. I guess his worldly training taught him how to deal with the insane and the slightly off-center. 😉

  10. Hi Hanie!
    Oh, yeah! Laptops are NEVER TO BE SHARED! Laptops are like toothbrushes: One master only, please!
    I’m glad you don’t lend your Waterman. I love it that you have an “old school” pen and you refill it the right way instead of using a cartridge. Classy!

  11. The thing I like about better quality pens and pencils is that there’s less of a disposable quality to them and they are refillable in a more environmentally friendly way. I’m not sure if I’d give $300 for a pen. (The Kindle that is out there waiting for me to buy it would be furious!)

  12. Gordon —
    That’s a good point about the permanence of quality, Gordon. Expensive pens are meant to be significant gifts and not really personal purchases.
    My gifted Rollerball means a lot to me — and that’s probably why it has lasted so long and has yet to disappear on me for any quality length of time. 😀

  13. Hi Anne!
    Yes! Cellphones are not to be borrowed — especially an iPhone where the personalization if incredibly specific.
    I wonder what it says about me that most of the people I know use iPhones as their main communication device? 😀