WHY I AM ALWAYS ARMED…WITH A PEN

The analogy between the pen and the sword is timeless and irrevocable. My favourite ‘sword’ is the faithful BIC® clic medium black ball pen (pictured above). I always have at least two on my person. It has never ejaculated into my pocket and it never stutters. It is easy to prime; the side push button is resolute and never gives in to the pressure of my brutish writing. The tip is fine and elegant. The pen itself is very light and easy to manipulate. It is just like an AK47; trustworthy and obedient.

The sole purpose of a pen is to act as a medium of transmitting what is in the mind onto paper. It is thus, in my opinion, pointless to walk around with a congress of ideas in one’s head without equipping oneself with a means of deploying the most powerful weapon in all of eternity – an idea. Rudolf Hess and Emil Maurice, as Adolf Hitler’s secretaries in prison, put on paper one of the most dangerous ideas ever formulated – Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Wole Soyinka massaged his sanity and shook the entire Nigerian government by writing on tissue paper in prison on his route to winning the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature. Albert Einstein penned the famous E=mc² on Swiss government paper as he laboured in the patent office. The Holy Qu’ran, the Holy Bible, impeachments, independence declarations, petitions, treaties and Constitutions have all been PENNED. The English Constitution is a notable exception, it is not written down on paper.

History is replete with tales of great ideas being birthed at the spur of the moment. Museums are well stocked with odd pieces of paper on which doodles of inspiration changed the world. Writers are particularly notorious for their private graffitti on napkins. I too am also hoping to have a piece of grime-smudged tissue paper with my handwriting on it locked up in a highly secure display cabinet in some obscure library or museum. I must admit, so far all my doodles and odd pieces of paper have been under safe storage at the municipality sewers.

As a medical doctor I can tell you this much; a pen can be a lethal physical weapon too, if used well. All that is required is an intimate knowledge of Human Anatomy and this explains why I have in my possession quite a safe number of textbooks on the subject which I religiously peruse whenever I feel physically threatened. It also explains why my older brother has a strong phobia against Human Anatomy textbooks. While growing up he would frequently taunt me and bully me (as all loving big brothers do) but one day I stopped him in mid-swing and gave him a calm but unforgettable lecture on the anatomy of the neck while pointing out the various parts of his neck with my trusted pen. There are so many sweet spots on the neck that are just waiting for the right pen in the right hands. The trachea, jugular veins, carotid arteries, lung apex and of course the space between the fourth and fifth ribs on the left chest just close to the nipple are just some of the few inviting rendezvous points for a definitive conclusion of any argument.

In the event that such an unlikely meeting is successful there is always the Police’s admission of guilt forms to be signed. Having a pen at all times is one sure way of making any negotiations with the Police go smoothly. They always have some line on some paper waiting for your signature even when you have not crossed their line (the blurry line of the law). In my country having an encounter with a policeman on a daily basis is as inevitable as stopping at a red traffic light. They are everywhere and oddly enough they almost never seem to have a pen handy to facilitate the purgatory process of getting them off your back. My guess is that they always conveniently forget their State-bought pens in their children’s satchels along with pocket money ‘dropped’ from some citizen’s pocket.

And then there are contracts. As a typical Zimbabwean I am always hunting for work and I choose not to tempt Fate by not having a pen ready to sign a contract of employment whenever and wherever it may pop up. In fact I have never signed a contract of any kind with a pen that has never felt the warmth of my bosom (the breast pocket is the best place to incubate your pen). It is because of this simple reason that I find women to be the best people to borrow a pen from in winter; you get the added advantage of avoiding frostbite on your fingers through the use of a pen from the warmest of bosoms.

Last but far from least are the drug prescriptions, referral notes and odd medical scripts. That needs no explanation. Obviously this is the main reason I always carry a pen and if my essay has given the reader a contrary impression then I guess I have done a darn good job.

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