Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Life Lesson

I don't often buy new shirts, but I did at the end of 2011. I needed 'em for school. I bought 'one' long-sleeved shirt, because on rare occasion it gets cool enough in southern Louisiana for such. I also bought shirts with pockets so I could carry pens and markers to classes with me. No, I don't have a pocket protector; I'm not that much of a nerd. Though maybe I should be.

I wore my new long-sleeved shirt once. All went well. I decide to wear it again. As I'm getting ready for classes that day I have a variety of pens on my desk to choose from. I pick up one and note that it has ink smears around the bottom. Clearly, this one should not go in the pocket of my new shirt. I pluck up another instead and am off to class.

I come back from class with a giant ink stain in the pocket of my shirt. The pen that looked as if it would not leak...leaked. I am absolutely sure this experience has provided me with a life lesson I need to learn. I'm just not exactly sure what the lesson is.

At first, I thought the lesson was: "No matter what decisions you make in life, you are screwed." Then I thought, maybe, it was: "Don't worry about trying to prevent disasters. You can't." But then, perhaps, the lesson is really: "Give up any illusion you have that you can 'control' things in life."

Right now, I'm leaning toward another interpretation of the event: "Inanimate objects know what you are thinking and will do anything they can to spite you."

I'm wearing my ink stained shirt today. I'm carrying the pen in the pocket that 'looked' as if it would leak. It felt like the thing to do. I hope I'm not throwing a gauntlet into the face of the inanimate world. I'm badly outnumbered, if so.

Wish me luck!
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46 comments:

Chris said...

Here's the lesson: use a pocket protector. Nerd.

Heather said...

I'm sorry for your misfortune Charles, but this post has me giggling. I hope you have better luck this time!

Paul R. McNamee said...

I never thought pens could setup a no-win situation. Life lesson learned.

Lana Gramlich said...

I was going to say something like Chris did (but I was going to be more gentle about it. LOL)

Chris said...

Lana, this just seemed like a time for "tough love." Heh.

Charles Gramlich said...

Chris, that's far too simple. It can't be the answer, man! :)

Heather, then my goal has been accomplished!

Paul, indeed. Never trust the pens, man.

Lana, you have to live with me. Chris only has to drink beer with me on rare occassion! ;)

Chris, see, even the animate ojbects are conspiring against me!

Keith said...

It's worse than that. Inanimate objects not only know what you are thinking and will spite you, but will do so in the way that embarrasses or inconveniences you the most. I went to class several times last semester my my shirt buttoned wrong, only to have a student point it out.

David J. West said...

Best of luck with that Charles-I also might look for ink-colored shorts.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

What Chris L said :)

Rachel V. Olivier said...

It's not paranoia if it's true.... They are out to get you. You know, when I worked in a nursing home one summer I had to wear white and got ink leaks in my pockets all the time. I seem to remember that there was something common we could spray on the ink stain before washing it and it would come out. I can't remember what it is. Maybe hairspray? But you'd think that that would set it. But I do remember it something like that. You could also try taking the to the dry cleaners. They may not get it out, but a friend of mine said he noticed that after a dry cleaner has done their "thing" stains seem to have an easier time of coming out during a regular wash.

And don't put it in the dryer to dry, that will set the stain for sure.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Life lesson - don't carry ink pens in your shirt.
Sorry about the ruined shirt.

Deka Black said...

My brother says the explanation is simple: "Pens hates humanity"

pattinase (abbott) said...

I'm with, Chris and Lana. Or put the pens in the briefcase.

Snowbrush said...

"Inanimate objects know what you are thinking and will do anything they can to spite you."

The name for this belief is resistentialism. I'm more attracted to the Peter Principal idea about how the universe is set up so that if something can go wrong, it WILL go wrong.

Oscar said...

Charles, just buy shirts that are the color of ink and forget the staining.

Snowbrush said...

"just buy shirts that are the color of ink and forget the staining."

What a practical man you are! Let's just hope that Charles looks good in black and blue, and that he doesn't move on to green ink after buying a new wardrobe.

Cloudia said...

gotta stand up to the Inanimates!

Hey, there's a SF tale waiting for you to create it, Charles
Like Gremlins?


Warm Aloha from Waikiki
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BernardL said...

I agree with Chris. It's easier on the shirts if you give up on illusion. :)

jodi said...

Charles, cheap hairspray will remove ink stains. Ya got any left over from back in the day? teehee

Christina said...

I love your reasoning on this. You have a great sense of humor.

lol on Chris's comment about the pocket protector.

Charles Gramlich said...

Keith, I believe you’re correct. The smaller the inanimate object, the nastier it is as well.

David J. West, an ingenious solution. Why didn’t I think of that?

Sean Patrick Reardon, I could pout about being called a nerd but that might prove the charge true.

Rachel V. Olivier, too late, I think. It’s already been through the dryer. But I will look for some kind of stain stuff and see if that helps.

Alex J. Cavanaugh, I even remembered to click the tip back into the pen but it still leaked. Sigh


Deka Black, I suspect so. Perhaps they are really aliens. They certainly disappear and reappear enough.

pattinase (abbott), I hate to carry my briefcase to classes with me. But I may end up doing so.


Snowbrush, I have pissed off some supernatural entities perhaps.


Oscar, that’s a good idea. I’m going to look next time I go to the store.

Snowbrush, I know. Definitely a good idea. I do use red ink at times.



Cloudia, even if they have all the power.


BernardL, but is it easier on my deep artist’s soul? That’s the question. :)


jodi, hum, I will try that. I don’t think I have any in the house.


Christina, thanks, glad you enjoyed.

Ty Johnston said...

Hey, at least it was a pen. Imagine if it'd been a derringer.

Bang! No more nipple.

ivan said...

Must be the long hair, but why do I want to get cute and brag about the A
I got in media class one day when I wrote an ad about even old Cochise looking good wearing an Arrow?

the walking man said...

Dude the lesson is pocketless T shirts under a leather elbowed corduroy jacket...that professorial look.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ty, good point.

Ivan, pens don't like long hairs? Hum, interesting.

Mark, I do wear t-shirts, but usually to school I wear ones with pockets!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Funny anecdote, Charles! My shirt pockets are always empty. The only writing tool I might carry, if at all, is a pencil which usually pokes me just under the chin, rather painfully.

Carole said...

Or of course it could just be that "crud happens." New shirt or old, good ink pen or bad...

But if I was a philosopher, I might accidently think about it long enough to come up a lesson. You came up with four. You are a triple dipple philosopher.

Kate Sterling said...

I was leaning toward "Don't pretend to be one of the cool kids - just wear your pocket protector" but I think Chris put it more succinctly. ;)

Actually, it really is that they're just out to get you.

Roll with the flow, man. :)

Travis Erwin said...

Wear nothing but tye-dye and then it won't matter.

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, I should perhaps go to mechanical pencils. They might be ideal!

Carole, my main philosophy is to "Don't call me late for supper."

Kate, I guess that urge to be a cool kid is still with me. 53 years with no success. You think I'd be over it. :)

Travis Erwin, that's a very good idea. I hadn't thought of that.

laughingwolf said...

murphy's law trikes yet again! :P lol

do like the girls in preschool: get a pencil case ;)

Ron Scheer said...

Hint from Heloise: hair spray takes out ink stains.

Greg said...

Good luck! Maybe the lesson is, "the pen is mightier than the shirt."

G said...

This is what happens when you hurt the feelings of an inanimate object.

It retaliates. :D

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, that's a good idea. A pencil case. Hadn't thought of that.

Ron, I used to read Hints from Heloise. ;) I had forgotten that, though, if I ever knew it.

Greg, that is clearly true.

G., I don't know how I hurt its feelings but I am sure I did.

laughingwolf said...

murphy's law STRIKES... sheesh

i have two girls [ok, women now] so know all about pencil cases ;)

Merisi said...

You have met the enemy! *shudder*

Or was it the enemy within ... things crawl in the darkness, that imagination spins, needles at your nerve ends ...

Lucky me, I write with pencils. ;-)

The Golden Eagle said...

Inanimate objects always seem to have their way no matter what you do . . . darn them.

Travis Cody said...

I find that when I carry pens in my hand or clipped to my notebook, they don't leak. I can do that for weeks and weeks. But then that one time I stick that same pen in my pocket...disaster.

Cosmic karma is the suck.

Charles Gramlich said...

laughingwolf, I know my son had a pencil box or two in grade school.

Merisi, I guess I should have been more scared than I was. :)

Golden Eagle, they are our overlords!

Travis Cody, I do stick them in my notebook if I have one, but I don't always take a notebook with me to classes.

sage said...

You can either be a nerd or a real nerd and wear your "ink spot shirt" and use it as one of those ink spot tests with your students!

Charles Gramlich said...

Sage, there's an idea. I'm glad my readers are so creative. :)

Rick said...

Wait a minute- you still use inkpens? Old technology like that will always get you.

You have to switch to iPhone's Siri. She would never leak on you.

Charles Gramlich said...

Rick, no you're probably right. Of course, an iphone might decide, like Hal, not to let me turn her off.

Richard Godwin said...

Charles you could never be a nerd you are far too smart. The system will always give you stains, the important thing is to have a stain remover.

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard, thank you. Virtually alone among my commenters you agree with me that I am no nerd. :)