Every day, people go to work in offices all over the Treasure Valley. Every day, people sit at their desks, type on their computers, and write on memos using a pen. Some pens are expensive and fancy, and others are cheap and common. Some have blue ink, while others write in black.

For the most part, each of these pens lives will end the same way, or we think they will. It's rare for me to use a pen until the ink is gone. If I get to the end of the ink, it was probably a pen that I acquired in a shady yet unintentional way. Perhaps, a coworker handed it to me to sign something, and I never got it back, or maybe I was filling out a deposit slip and took the pen with me. This theft had no malicious intent, and it was probably even unconscious.

Ultimately the pen will leave my hand or desk, and someone else will unintentionally steal it, and this cycle continues. I never buy pens, yet I usually have one. In the rare occasion when I don't have a pen, it's a quick trip to the supply closet, where I steal four pens from my employer and bring them to my desk. Of those four pens, I will put three in my drawer and probably never see them again. Why? I don't know, but perhaps because someone needed one and took one and never returned it. The pen's value is low enough that the time it takes to walk from one end of the office to the other is too much to ask of anyone, especially when a brand new pen is only halfway across the office.

So, if I rarely see the end of the pen's ink-life and you rarely see the end of the pen's ink-life, where do the pens go? Caldwell? A warehouse in Middleton? Are they creating a blockage of the Boise River? These are questions that no one has the answer to. I choose to believe that they vanish into thin air after we've left for the day. We never know when our favorite pen will be next, so make sure to cherish the time you have with it. Sign as many notes as possible, fill out as many registration forms as you can, and chew on the back end of it while you think, because your favorite pen may not be there on Monday.

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