Inkless Pens and Chewed On Pen Caps


“Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.”

-Thomas Szasz

I have this quote on my motivation wall. It keeps me going when I think that some of the stuff I pursue in my life is a waste of time. Funny, I never knew who Thomas Szasz was until just now when I googled him:

It’s so rude of me to have had his words on my wall for well over two years and not actually researched who he was. I’m so sorry Tom.

I feel like I can call him Tom. We’re practically besties now, thanks to the internet.

Doctor Tom was a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and a professor.

I had figured he was a poet or a philosopher or an artist of some sort. And this quote from the Wikipedia site confirms my assumptions just a little bit despite his career label:

“Szasz argued throughout his career that mental illness is a metaphor for human problems in living, and that mental illnesses are not “illnesses” in the sense that physical illnesses are.”

How I understood what I read on his ideas about this is that mental illness is not scientifically  measurable because it is based on behavior. And who gets to decide what behavior is normal and what isn’t? There of course is a lot more to this theory that I’m mostly not interested in. I just always kind of knew that crazy is a result of being human and a very subjective term, depending on who one is hanging out with and who happens to be judging one’s behavior. So I’m going to stop there and be mostly satisfied. All you over sensitive crazies or advocates for the crazies: please don’t  be assholes and yell at me. I’m not a damn doctor. OBVIOUSLY if you’re stabbing your eyes out (or someone else’s) you might want to take some fucking medicine.

BUT  if you look at Tommy’s face, he looks like he would have been wonderful to talk to. See? Doesn’t he just look lovely? 

Screenshot 2018-03-03 at 10.21.40 AM

I’m sure he had a super cool Hungarian accent. I can see myself sitting on his couch:

Me: Tom. Why do you think I chew on my pen caps?

(When Tom speaks, imagine a Hungarian accent because I don’t know how to type that)

Tom: Why do YOU think you chew on your pen caps? Does it matter what anyone else thinks? Do you worry about THAT, or the pen caps?

Me: Well. It’s interesting to me how I only chew on cheap Bic™ pens with the blue caps. These are the pens I write with. Other pens don’t feel right in my hand, so I only use “other pens” when I’m at work. Doing work. That I often don’t feel right about. But have to keep doing. To pay the bills. I NEVER chew on work pens. I’m not attached to them like I am my cheap blue cap pens. And do you know what I LOVE?

Tom: What do you love Heather?

Me: I LOVE when my cheap chewed on blue cap pens run out of ink BEFORE I chew all the way through the caps and make them kind of bothersome and have to throw them away before the ink is all gone. Which seems wasteful. And sad.

Tom: Why is that Heather?

(I just love when people use my name when they talk to me. Why is it so soothing? Though maybe it’s the couch in this case.)

Me: Well they’re bothersome to look at, all messy and jagged and slobbered on and also at some point harder to chew on because the plastic gets kind of  sharp and pokey and hurts my mouth a little. I also worry a bit about the plasticiser ingestion…

Tom: The ‘why’ was referring to loving when your cheap pens run out of ink. And why it might be sad to throw them away before the ink is gone.

Me: Oh. Well. I think it’s because I know that all that ink is somewhere on pages that I filled up with words that didn’t exist before.  And while it’s likely that no one else will read 99.9% of my ink words, because it’s mostly doodling, it wasn’t a waste of time. Blue ink words on paper are just…serene. The accomplishment makes me feel filled and empty at the same time. And when the ink runs out before the pen cap desecration happens it means I was focussed more on the words than the anxiety of making the words. Chewed pen caps are the bi product of angst. No one wants to see that shit.

Tom: Ahhhh. I see.  Does it make you feel sad that most of your ink words won’t be read?

Me: Oh HELL no. Blue ink  is so much different from black type. There aren’t any rules with blue ink. I fucking hate rules.

Tom: Why do you think you can break rules in blue ink but not in black type?

Me: I’m not saying I can’t break rules in black type. But when I type, I assume that some people will SEE the rule breaking. And judge. So I’m a little more careful with black type. It goes back to why I don’t generally chew on my work pens.  I don’t want people to think I’m gross. Or anxious, which can be perceived as being weak. I can be weak in blue ink but not so much in black type and for SURE not in sales. It’s a sure-fire route to failure. And I gotta pay for my blue cap addiction somehow. And some other stuff.

Tom: What if you tried blue ink at work?

Me: Tell me Tom, do you sometimes wish that you had just skipped med school and dove into philosophical poetry? You’d be so much more understanding about why using blue ink at work is just crossing a damn line.

Tom: Well Heather, I’m pretty much dead. Regrets are for the living. Ones who are afraid to use BLUE FUCKING ink on a regular basis. You freak. That will be $300 please.

Me: Clearly I have hit a nerve Tom. I’m sorry you’re so unhappy. You can just send me a bill. I forgot my checkbook. And my blue PEN. Jerk.

Tom: I’m sorry. I was lashing out. I mostly just wanted to paint in watercolor.

Me: I forgive you Tom. I have to go do some work now. And for what it’s worth, I’ll ponder the idea of bringing a little blue ink into the day job. Here’s a little Marianne Williamson philosophy about WORK from “Return to Love” for you to take with you when you head back to where ever you were before our couch session:

“What you want to do is not the important question. The question to ask is, “When I do anything, how should I do it?” And the answer is, “Kindly.” People don’t normally associate business with kindness, because business has come to be regarded as simply a tool for making money. Miracle-workers are not in business only to make money; they’re in business to inject love into the world.”

Tom: Ahhhh. This is good. Thank you Heather.

Me: Thank Marianne. But I knew you would appreciate this. You seem like a miracle-worker.

Tom: I’m glad we had this visit. And thank you for taking some time to get to know me a little bit. Dead guys sometimes need the kindness of recognition.

Me: Alive gals do too. Ha! And I’m glad I got to know you a little as well. This was for sure a wonderful use of my time and not at ALL boring. But this is getting weird so you should probably go now. This wasn’t at all what I intended to write in this post. Thank you Tom. Have a good… ummm… life?  

Tom: You too Heather.