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It’s an ongoing mystery

October 12, 2016
By Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

Throughout my home, I have a number of convenient pencil/pen holders and pads of paper. You can never tell when I might have a thought worth saving or need to start a list of important reminders.

The constant availability of such supplies would seem to pose no problems. Right?


In my house, there is apparently an army of gremlins whose sole duty is to abscond with every sharpened pencil, every pen capable of problem-free operation and every scrap of paper larger than a postage stamp.

Yesterday was a good example of the gremlins' handiwork.

I sat at the breakfast table, morning paper in hand, ready to challenge my mind with the daily crossword. Since I readily admit my limitations with these tricky word puzzles, I never use a pen. My tool of choice is a sharpened pencil with an ample eraser.

But, on this day, when I reached for a suitable pencil, I got my usual disappointment. In the holder, I found three totally useless "pencil sticks." Two were worn-down stubs and the third was one of those silly short eraser-less pencils used for keeping scores.

After going on a search for a usable implement, I finally turned up a newly sharpened #2 that had somehow been overlooked by our current band of pencil sneaks.

Later in the day, I sat at my desk, ready to take care of some mid-month bills.

Once again, I reached for the nearest pencil/pen holder. Unfortunately, the resident pen poachers had been there ahead of me.

I left the desk and made the rounds of at least five holders throughout the house. My search turned up nothing but dried-up BICs, several ballpoints that no longer worked and a pair of non-operating "freebies" from the last health fair I attended. In spite of all the pens that had gathered in the holders over recent months, I couldn't find one that actually worked!

So, as I always do when I can't locate something, I finally resorted to looking in my purse, a never-fail repository of everything but the kitchen sink. There is always a pen buried deep in the dark innards of my trusty carry all.

During the recent back-to-school sales, I made the bold move of buying a new package of pencils and another of push-button ballpoints, just to insure a steady supply.

I even tucked the arsenal safely away with plans to put a few of each implement into service as needed. Sadly, I can't for the life of me remember just where I stashed the packages.

Still, I'm certain I put a few newly sharpened pencils and ready-to-go pens in every one of my many holders. But, alas, the pesky poachers were too fast for me.

I have no way of knowing if this pencil/pen disappearing act is limited to my house or if it's one of those problems that folks just don't talk about. But for me, the thieves that continually raid my pencil and penholders are an ongoing source of frustration.

Come to think of it, perhaps the problem is actually of a larger scale than I had realized.

Could it be that the pencil/pen poachers are the same gremlins that routinely raid my closets and abscond with all the extra hangers on washday? Or perhaps this is the team of tricksters responsible for continually hiding my cell phone. And what about the storage containers I can never seem to locate in the kitchen when I need them?

It's a mystery.



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