Hey, can I borrow a pen?
I have class in a few minutes, and I forgot to bring one. You know how it is the first few weeks of fall — you forget this kind of stuff. So, if you could lend me one, I’d really appreciate it. Ballpoint, jelly, fountain — I don’t care what kind. I’ll give it back to you right after class. Honest.
Okay, that was a lie. I probably won’t give it back. Heck, I don’t even know you. The truth is I’ll probably spend more time chewing on your pen than writing with it. I don’t really take notes, come to think of it. But still. I’ll feel like a tool if I don’t have something to write with.
What’s that? Oh, you don’t have a pen … How ’bout a pencil? A pencil’s fine.
Say, that’s a nice necklace you got there — that nice gold cross. You know, Jesus would lend me a pencil ... even though I’m Jewish. See, that’s all I’m asking you — just do what Jesus would do.
Come again? No pencil, either? How about a crayon? I’ll settle for a crayon. I don’t even care what color. Maybe a quill? I’ll take a quill, for God’s sake! If you’re looking for a feather, you can just lend me the one stuck up your ass.
Hey, where are you going? Aw, shucks, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. I say stupid things when I haven’t slept enough, and I’m going on, like, seven hours. So cut me some slack here. I just need something to write with. Anything.
Huh? You think you might have a highlighter in your bag? Wow, that’d be great. Sure, I’ll take a highlighter! Thanks a bunch! I owe you one. If I see you at a frat party, I’ll have to buy you a beer.
Say, before you go, could you lend me some paper? Well, I guess lend is the wrong word, ’cause you’re definitely not gonna get that back, ha ha. But, yeah, what good is something to write with without something to write on? Just take out one of your notebooks and rip me a sheet or two. Or three. Whatever you can spare. You don’t even gotta tear it nicely. I’ll take perforated edges.
Oh, you don’t have any paper on you, huh? Well, what’s that in your hand? Quartercards from Ho Plaza? I’ll take those if you don’t mind. Why would you? You were gonna throw them out anyways. Let’s see what you got here … Save the Whales, Donate Blood, America Out of Iraq. These’ll do. A bit small, if you wanna know the truth. Guess I’ll just have to write small. Not sure how well I’ll do with an f-ing highlighter, but I appreciate it in any case. Really.
While I’m at it, you think I could borrow a couple bucks? I gotta pay a friend back, and it’s been a few weeks.
No cash, huh? Wait a second here …
I knew I recognized you from somewhere … you’re in Psych 101 too, aren’t you? Haha, who isn’t? Can I copy your notes from last Friday? It’s not like I don’t take notes or anything. I’m actually a really good notetaker. I missed lecture ’cause I was sick this whole weekend. I mean, I was really sick, ’cause, ya know, if it was just, like, a cold or a headache or something, I would have come to class. But I was really sick. Gannett told me I might be pregnant.
Speaking of Gannett, can I borrow a condom? You look like the type that always carries one around.
No condom, eh? You have any candy-bar wrappers? I’ll take those if you have ’em. King-size, if possible, ha ha.
I could actually really go for a candy bar right now. Or a Pop Tart. I forgot to eat breakfast this morning, and I’m starving. You got anything? I’ll take whatever you got. An apple. A half-eaten tuna sandwich. Flavored chapstick. I ain’t picky.
Maybe you’d let me borrow your Cornell card, and I could run over to Nasties and get myself something. I’m kind of already out of Big Red Bucks.
You’re not on a meal plan? That’s OK. I wasn’t really that hungry anyways. I just ate.
You gonna eat that bag of Doritos? Huh? You already did? I’ll take it anyways. I’ll bet you left some crumbs in there, ha ha. Crumbs’ll do. Hey, don’t think I’m desperate or nothing. I’m just a little hungry. Just a little — like 4, on a scale from 1 to 10.
You’re giving it to me? Sweet. OK, I’m gone.
Oh, before I forget, could I make a quick call from your cell phone? Yeah, I left that at home too. It’s my uncle’s birthday, and I wanna give him a ring. He lives in Georgia, so I don’t get to see him much.
Oh, thanks. It’ll take just a second. Let me see if I remember the number … 1. 8. 5. 2. 7. 6. 2. 6. 7. 9. 1. 8 — I really oughta write these things down … . Hmmm, no answer. I’ll try later.
His birthday was actually a few days ago, but he has Alzheimer’s, so he won’t know the difference. He’s schizophrenic too. He thought he was Leon Trotsky last time I talked to him. Now that I think about it, he’s probably sleeping right now, with the time difference and all. I mentioned that it was the Georgia the former Soviet Republic that I was talking about, right? Oh. Sorry.
I’ve actually been there a few times. Nice place, even with all the poor people and all. If you manage to get out there, just avoid the beggars. They’re obnoxious. The key is not make eye contact — look right in front of you. Otherwise, they’ll keep you half a day just asking for shit — they’re so used to getting stuff from the government, you know. So you gotta give them some tough love. “No, I won’t give you 5 Lari. Get a job! And take some responsibility for yourself.” Ha ha.
Anyway, that’s totally off topic, and I should be getting to class. I’m probably ten minutes late by now — do you have the time? — I really should wear my watch more often. Thanks for all your help, though. I appreciate it. I really do.
Before I go, though … you sure you don’t have a pen?
Ben Birnbaum is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Infomaniacs Anonymous appears Tuesdays.