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Posted by on Oct 22, 2023 in Retirement Humour |

Living Retired — ‘Yen for Pens’

Living Retired — ‘Yen for Pens’

Living Retired — ‘Yen for Pens’

By Gary Chalk.

Throughout the years Jan and I have been married, she has called me many different things. I remember the time she really confused me when she called me out for — get this! — having ‘a depressed retail profile.’

“Jan, that is a new one on me. What do you mean I have a depressed retail profile?”

“Gary, it means you don’t enjoy going to stores spending money to buy things.”

I disagreed. “Jan, I am not buying that.”

Recently, Jan called me another name. This is what happened…

We stopped in at the bank to get some American cash from our US bank account. When I returned to the car with the American bills, Jan groaned. “Gary, you did it again. You walked out of the bank with one of their pens. I am going to start calling you a closet kleptomaniac.”

“Jan, you can call me what you want. But I prefer to call myself a pen collector. Besides, these bank pens are complimentary.”

“Gary the last time you came home from the bank you bragged about having thirty-seven of their pens. This brings it to thirty-eight! You may call it a collection, but the police call it ‘Theft Under $5,000.’”

I explained to Jan that some people collect coins, football jerseys, or whatever. My aunt collected salt and pepper shakers. Our friend Judy collects handmade decorative turtles that she displays in their living room. Jan wasn’t buying this.

“Certainly Gary, you’re not suggesting that Judy walks out of stores stealing a turtle!”

“Of course not, Jan. But if she wanted a turtle instead of going to a bank she would have to go to a riverbank.” Jan sighed.

Jan does have a point about my ballpoint pen collection. It is rather large. If you open the kitchen drawer where we store scads of things we never use anymore — paper clips, elastics, an eraser, and dead AA batteries — you will discover some of my pens.

There is the pen from visits to the dentist. Jan cannot accuse me of stealing it — it was paid in full and then some by my dental insurance provider.

“Gary, don’t you feel guilty when you use one of those pens?”

“Not really Jan. Besides, I’d never use a pen that reminds me of my root canal!”

There is also a white ballpoint pen inscribed ‘TMFD: Helping Dentists Build Wealth.’ (Do we have a thing with dental pens?)

By far most of my pen collection is displayed in a mishmash in the top drawer of my office desk. I have pens from Fairmont Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Vintage Hotels, Hotel X in Toronto, and hotels throughout Europe. These pens ended up in my hand when I signed the bill when I checked out.

I also have pens from our cruises with Holland America Line. These pens ended up in my hand after signing receipts in the bar. I am not responsible for my actions when I drink.

By far my most prized pen is a ‘Call 1-800-RotorRooter’ pen in mint condition — never used. Perhaps President Biden could use it at the photo op when he invites people to stand at his desk when he signs the ‘Financial Subsidy Program to Encourage Homeowners to Update Septic Systems’ into law.

Jan is concerned I may be caught stealing pens. She figures I may end up in — get this — penitentiary!


Living Retired is written by humour columnist Gary Chalk.