Gel Diamonds

Corporate culture is an odd thing. It can be a highly competitive world filled with backstabbing, cross-cutting, and annoying personal politics. It can be an pressure cooker of meetings, expectations, and deadlines. Frequently it turns into a bizarre sort of extended family filled with the people you talk to a lot, the people you don't talk to at all -- and the guy who never brings any food to the fundraiser but expects a plateful.
But what you might not realize is that it's also a hotbed of crime.
This is the Uni-ball Signo 207. It's a medium point retractable ballpoint pen that uses dark blue gel ink. Staples used to sell these to our company in cases. The office supply queens would open the cases, unpack the individual boxes filled with 12 pens each, and then place them in the designated extra pen areas.
A day later, they'd all be gone.
Then, for whatever reason -- Staples stopped selling them. Maybe Uni-ball stopped making them. Perhaps the raging civil wars in Angola and Liberia have created an atmosphere that makes it incredibly dangerous to mine them from the gel pen-rich riverbeds of Southern Africa, I don't know. Whatever the case, the flow of these Colombian-grade 207's into the building suddenly stopped -- leaving those of us here on the "streets" to fend for ourselves.
Or to put it another way:
Whenever I see one of these -- I steal it.
No hesitation. No remorse. If it's on your desk and you're not there -- you just lost a pen. If you don't want that shit to happen, LoJack the motherfucker. Because here at this company where we've got all these BS rules about "controlled documents that MUST be signed in blue or black ink" -- those things are gold. And don't look at me like I'm some sort of animal or something -- because this is the culture here. This is how we roll.
How do I know this?
Because every time I get my hands on a 207, some other punk-ass bitch turns around and steals it from me.
A lot of you are probably out there thinking "Dude, just put your name on the pens or something" -- but honestly, that ain't me. Not only because I feel like most people who "tag" their office supplies are usually douchebags -- but more importantly, because this is a Uni-Ball 207 we're talking about here:
You don't see people driving around in BMW's that have
windshield stickers that say "Pimpmobile" on them, do ya?
A big part of my job is to get approval signatures on engineering change reports. So frequently I'll walk up to some guy's desk, hand him a report to review, and wait for him to sign it. This is where the hustle happens. Because all of these guys have pens -- hell most of the executives have one of those gold-plated Cross numbers with their names engraved on them. Guys I walk up to will be actually be holding other pens when I get there -- but every single one of them, from the janitors to the CEO all say the same thing:
"Ok, I have no objections; I'll sign -- can I uh, ..borrow your pen?"
Then there's this whole Gunfight at the OK Corral/Mexican standoff thing that happens where the question hangs out there in the air while I weigh the consequences of telling the guy who signs my paychecks to get his own damn rollerball.

Eventually cooler heads prevail and I'll hand him the pen (slowly) -- only to see a grown man who makes three times my salary try and pull the same tricks my 8th graders used to do when I was teaching.
One guy actually signed the report, accidentally "dropped" the 207, leaned
down to pick it up -- and then handed me back a completely different pen.
And bro was smooth too, because the ringer he put back in my hand was a Pilot G-2, the frikkin' CZ of gel pens, which Staples passes out like meth to any office supply manager hard up enough to settle for a quicker fix. Of course the two pens look and feel a lot alike, so it was only as I was walking away from his desk to go to the next spot when I looked into my hand and realized what just happened.
And it's not like I can storm into my bosses office and give him the spreads or anything --
But damn, G -- that was low.
[Listening to:    Danko Jones"Hot Damn Woman" ]