I spin the lids of pens

(seemingly part of my ongoing war against the cylinders we clip over the nibs of our pens to maintain their functionality)

I squeeze pen lids, with my thumb pressing the clippy bit that sticks out of the lid, and my index finger applying pressure to the ‘back’ of the lid, opposite the clippy bit. This causes the lids to spin off the top of the pen and fly off in a random direction, potentially injuring anyone dumb enough to sit near me as I write, and definitely harming the lid, either with physical scarring or mental trauma. So why the Hell do I do this?

Part of it is that I’m simply a pen sadist; I seem to take some kind of subconscious pleasure in screwing around with pens – I abuse their lids and even absent-mindedly chew them as I’m working. Perhaps I have some weird sexual desire that involves the destruction of pens, which may well be the only sexual fetish in human history you can’t find channels dedicated to on YouTube.

The other explanation is that this sort of stuff just happens, in the sense that I do not intend to hurt pens, but it’s just a product of the fact that I read often and with a pen in my hand, and for the majority of my reading time, I am not making notes on what I read, I’m just reading.

As a result, I end up reading a book holding something, which naturally leads to absent-mindedly playing with that thing; when I’m playing a match on Football Manager, I’ll often fiddle with my keys as I watch the action, just to keep my hands busy.

Perhaps this is an evolutionary trait; that our hands were so invaluable in our transition from ape-things to a ‘civilisation’, that we’ve grown to rely on using our hands all the time, to the extent that every time we’re not using our hands, it is built into our minds that we are actively not contributing to our species constant evolution, and our societies’ constant development.

This need to keep busy, even in a passive sense, can be seen in a lot of other bits of society: people listen to music on the train, despite pissing everyone else off with their loud music, and the crappy quality caused by the Apple ‘iTin Can’ earphones, just to satisfy their hearing; a similar pattern emerges with chewing gum, which no-one does for the taste, just to keep our mouths occupied.

This desire to be doing things at all times is a key reason why humans built the most impressive and large-scale civilisation on the planet, as its led to use being an inherently industrious species; unchecked, this work rate can be disastrous, as seen in the Nazis, who were brutally efficient and efficiently brutal, but with proper judgement, humanity’s trait for work can be used to help build a pretty good world.

Or, it could be used to torment innocent pen lids, whatever floats your boat.

This post inspired by the Duke of the 34 Bus (was that pseudonym ‘effing good’ enough for you, dude?)

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