As I often do while trying to think up new ways of saying nothing, I anchored my elbow on the arm of my desk chair and, into the splay of my fingers, I rested my chin–which, one might describe (if one includes the nose, the eyeballs and forehead) as the de facto face of my very special but otherwise quite ordinary head.
Inside the old smart locker, my seasoned brain dispatched a semi-retired neuron named Ozzie (who needed the work) into The Great Mindfield. At the same time, outside my head, my rascally little pinky finger broke away from the other digits and bounded aimlessly across my face.
Inside the mindfield, Ozzie took a cautious step, his mind detector extended shakily before him.
Outside, Mr. Pinky mindlessly tapped the upper reaches of my nose (not a pick). The Pinkster then rudely pushed in on the fleshy cartilage, resulting in a very audible clicking sound. It pushed in again. Another click.
Pretty soon clickety clickety clickety. (Mind you, no clacketys. Just clicketys)
Back inside the noggin, the clicketys distracted Ozzie. He lost his balance, lost his mind detector and stumbled off the neural pathway. An explosion rocked the mindfield, blowing Ozzie backwards into a patch of mid-twentieth century goo. Bits and pieces of gray matter, buried since the sixth grade, showered the befuddled neuron.
Outside, Mr. Pinky was unceremoniously hauled back from Mr. Nose to join the other fingers in a fist, on which I proceeded, fearfully, to gnaw.
Why? Cut to the home movie theater inside my oblongata. A video began to play on the recently installed 72 zeptochip* screen (one sextillionth the size of a dorito and manufactured from recycled gray matter of brain donors, mostly from the ooze of some very vicious thoughts about Congress.)
The screen filled with a menacing scene from my sixth grade classroom at St. Patrick’s Academy, somewhere over the rarely seen upstate New York rainbow. (The academy is now a home for victims of Mean and/or Bald Monsignor Disorder).
In the video, I saw myself seated at my sixth grade desk, sporting my slowly developing special head while mindlessly clicking a ball point pen. Clickety clickety clickety.
The video then cut to our sixth grade nun, Sister Bruno Sammartino, who’d recently been paroled from Attica for trouncing a boy with a yardstick. His crime was the usual: existing within yardstick range. (A humorous aside: Sister Bruno later became the inspiration behind the popular amusement park game “Whack a Mole.”)
Back on the screen, her voice cut into my mindlessness with a cold, trounce-loaded warning—the kind of voice that turned everything inside your intestines to burbling borscht. (Which is why, to this day, I eschew and esslurp borscht.)
“Woe betide the boy or girl,” said Sister Bruno, “who is clicking that pen.”
Besides always threatening to trounce you good, nuns at the academy continually played the woe betide card. Just as no one knew what trounce meant until having been trounced, I doubt anybody knew what betide meant. Until the betide rolled in, of course.
Anyway, not only did I stop clicking—fighting down immediate onset Holland Tunnel Syndrome (where all the cars come sluicing out at once at high speed, in a driving rain)—I dropped the pen and grabbed a yellow, No. 2 Mongol with the metal ferrule and pink eraser.
I never used a pen again. I can sadly attest that the pencil, while useful, is not mightier than the sword (from the Latin gladius yardstickius) unless they are made of rubber—which, of course, they never are.
*Because I have Amazon Prime, all Zepto videos are free
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