Tuesday, May 10, 2005

It's a Conspiracy!

Something happened to me today that got me thinking. (I know, hugely bad idea, nothing good ever comes of it, and my brain hurts for hours afterwards.)

I answered the telephone, and had to take a message. Of course, the person on the other end assumed that I'm an organised person who has a pad and pen next to the phone at all times. If you know me, you'll find this laughable. I'm about as organised as a tin of Alphabeti Spaghetti.

"Wait a minute!" I said. "Let me find a pen."

The hunt begins...

It's one of the universal laws of nature that the availability of pens during a phone conversation is inversely proportional to the urgency of the call. In other words, the more you need that pen, the harder they are to find. This is a set in stone, iron clad fact. Think about it, as you're walking about your home, Biros (that's ball point pens for the americans) simply fly at you. They're everywhere.

The second you actually need one, however, they all run off and hide.

This is what got me thinking...and thinking so hard I had to put my head in a bucket of ice-water for a few hours afterwards.

About a month ago, after a telephone call where I had to write the very important message in my wife's lipstick on the living room wall, I went to the local dollar general and bought a pack of 20 ball point pens. Sensible idea. Each pen lasts for around 2 months of continuous usage before the ink runs out. That's 40 months, roughly 3 and a half years. Pen problem solved!...Or so I thought.

It is now 4 weeks later, and do you know how many are left?

None... Not a single, solitary pen left.

I did not take a single one out of the house, did not throw any away, or put them anywhere where they can fall down the back of the sofa/desk/etc. They vanished. Plain and simple.

For the purposes of investigating this phenomena I searched the house from top to bottom. Looked in every draw, moved the furniture, looked under the cushions...basically I looked everywhere a pen could hide, no matter how unusual. (It took some explaining to the wife when she caught me rummaging around through her underwear draw, but the doctors have said my vision will return in time.)


Zip, nada, zero. Not a pen anywhere. (I did, however, find: Lint, a comb and a foreign coin. This is another fundamental law of nature, whenever you look down the back of a sofa you will always find some lint, a comb and a foreign coin...this is true even if the sofa is brand new and still has the protective slip cover on.)

So my question is, where in the bloody hell did they go?!?

I did a calculation (Which resulted in me plunging my head in the ice bucket again). It went thus:

Stay with me on this, this is all leading somewhere, despite how it looks so far.

The Vanishing Pen Phenomena (henceforth known as the VPP) is not localised to any one location. It happens all over the world (leading me to beleive the Planet Earth is in some sort of strange ball-point galactic bermuda triangle).

There are roughly 280 million people living in the US. To be fair, let's assume the average household has 4 people, meaning there are 70 million families. Assuming a rough number of 1 pen vanishing per week, per family, that means every year over 36 billion ball points vanish in the USA alone! That is 1144 pens per second!

Err...I was going to measure a ball-point in order to work out how many times that would reach to the moon and back but, in all seriousness, the pen I keep next to the keyboard is no longer there. Hmmm. Wait a moment.

Nope. Not under the desk, in the drawer, anywhere...spooky.


So where are they all going? They're made of plastic, which can't bio-degrade and considering they were invented nearly a century ago, and 1144 go missing every second...there's a pile of ballpoints somewhere that's bigger than Mount Everest.

Now that's a hard thing to miss, even without such modern conveniences as satelite photography. If it exists, someone must've seen it and you have to admit, it would cause some comment:

" 'ere, Pete, That gargantuan pile of Biros. That wasn't there yesterday, was it?"

"Shut yer face and get back to work."

The other point is, how many times in your life have you actually bought these things? The only time I can remember buying a cheap ball-point was that time 4 weeks ago. So the question is, not just where are they going to, but where are they coming from???

I have a theory. Hold on to your hats, people, because it's a doozy.

We are unwittingly being used as weapons testers for invisible miniature aliens from another dimension for the purposes of the century old stationary war.

There! That explains it! Ha!

(Sound of wind whistling. A tumbleweed rolls lazily past.)


Need more convincing, huh?

Well, here goes...Stay with me on this...all will become clear. After all, you've stayed with me this far. Why give up so close to the end?

Ok, in order for this to make sense, we have to understand that it's not only pens that vanish. I brought 15 pairs of socks with me to the USA. I've not thrown a single pair away, yet I now have the grand total of 3 complete pairs, and bizaarely, 13 odd socks left. Not only have I lost 12 socks, I've somehow gained a new one. Go figure!

The same is true of other things like paper clips, elastic bands etc. You never buy them, but there's always plenty in your home...right up to the point you need one of them.

Here's my thinking:

The miniature invisible aliens from another dimension make the pens. The 'ink', as we so naively call it, is actually a deadly poisonous chemical weapon which only effects minature invisble aliens and their enemies. They're dangerous to test, so they dupe us into doing it for them.

They drop the pens into our dimension, and we try to write with them. If they work, we keep them, if they don't, we bin them. The aliens then turn up later to steal back every pen that works...while dropping off new ones for testing. This is also true of the elastic bands, which are used to make the catapults to launch the pens. We use them, and if they're poor quality and break, we throw them away...leaving only 'weapons grade' stationary behind

This also explains where our socks go. 36 billion pens, in America alone, is a lot to carry, so the aliens stop by the laundry room and steal our socks to use as sacks to carry the pens (Excuse me, Ballistic Ink Missiles). Ever noticed how socks only go missing after they've been washed? This lead me to beleive that fabric softener has the same shielding effect on the ink as lead does to radiation.

So what of the paperclips?

Well, duh! They use the paperclips to clip shut any holes that there may be in the socks (Everyone has at least one pair of holy socks, so this is necessary.) Given that the primary purpose of socks is not, as previously thought, to keep your feet warm, but instead to carry pens also explains where those holes came from in the first place.

So, pretty convincing huh?

Okay, I can sense that not many of you are totally there yet. If miniature invisible aliens actually exist, we'd know, wouldn't we?

Duh! No! They're invisible. Pay attention at the back!

The reason why so many of you don't beleive this yet is that the aliens are also helped greatly in their conspiracy by that particular knack only humans seem to have:

One, we can accept just about anything,

Two, the existence of the mysterious SEP field.

The first is easy to explain. Take for example, the tax system. Everyone pays tax, we have to, it's the law. We accept taxes as a normal and natural part of life. After all, we'd get into trouble if we didn't pay. You could say taxes are an accepted part of life, yes?

Unfortunately, the accepted 'truth' of taxes is complete nonsense. Imagine if next time tax season came around, instead of filing our returns the entire country sent the following letter:

Dear Tax Man,

We have decided not to pay tax this year on the grounds that we don't want to.

Your's faithfully

I. P. Freely

What the hell could the IRS do? Arrest and imprison the whole country? I don't think so. Yet every year we go and file our returns, regular as clockwork.

To put that point in a more sensible (and less communist sounding) way, people used to beleive that the Earth was flat, and laughed at people who suggested that it was round.

We accept what we're told.

If the Miniature Invisible Alien Stationary War Theory was taught in schools, we'd be laughing at anyone who suggested that the Vanishing Pen Phenomenon could be caused by anything else. Therefore, we beleive that 1144 pens per second just 'vanish' without cause. Pens dissapear so often that we all accept that vanishing is just what pens do. This, of course, is nonsense.

On to Number two:

The existence of the SEP field is a little harder to explain, although we all witness it (or not witness it whichever way you want to look at it) every single day. The SEP Field, or "Someone Elses Problem" field is a magical forcefield that is projected around anything we don't want to see. A good example of this is the problem at work that will force you to stay late, that you just happen to miss completely until 9am the following morning.

In other words, if you saw your ballpoint float up off your desk, be deposited in a similarly floating sock before vanishing in a dimension tearing blast of light, the SEP field would pipe directly into your brain and the following would occur in your subconcious:

What I have just seen, in my own personal little universe, is not possible.

If what I have seen is real, either everything I know about the universe is wrong, or I need some serious psychiatric help.

Therefore, what I have just seen cannot possibly exist, Therefore it doesn't.

That's the point where you'd say: "What happened to my pen? I could have sworn it was there a moment ago. Oh well, who knows what happens to these things?"

You do, you just saw the alien nick it.


"Err, Joyce, I'm just going out for a while."

Ok, by this point you're either a beleiver, or think I'm a couple sandwiches short of a picnic. (It is, of course, possible that both might be true) If you don't beleive me, I challenge you to come up with a better explanation. On the other hand, if you want cast iron solid proof of the SEP field in action, pull your car over to the side of the road and raise the hood. See how many people see you and stop to help. They won't. you are currently Someone Elses Problem.

The above will not work, however, if you happen to be an attractive female wearing skimpy clothes...men will see you though the SEP field, even if the SEP field is being generated by the fact you have a grenade in your hands, an evil grin on your blood spattered face and a lime green traffic cone on your head. This is called the SEPBHB (or Someone Elses Problem Breaking Horny Bastard) field. The only known antidote to the SEPBHB field is the WEG (or Wife's Evil Glare) Field, which can actually result in bodily harm.

So anyway, people, I've opened your eyes, so I implore you, from now on only use the more expensive, fanicer pens. They're apparently unsuitable to be used as ballistic missiles in the Miniature Invisible Alien War...and is saving the extra dollar really worth the lives of countless miniature invisible aliens?

Don't even get me started on what they use disposable lighters for. Some things the human mind was not meant to know.

Of course, as to what happens to the Drill Chuck Key is a complete mystery.

No comments: