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Some things are just personal
by James Snyder
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I will grant I have a few eccentricities. But, let me make this perfectly clear, far fewer than the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has avowed through the years. Listening to her, a person might come to believe my eccentricities are without limit. This simply is not the case.

I firmly believe one man's eccentricity is another man's way of doing something. After all, everybody has a way of doing everything they do. If that is eccentric, we all have a lot of explaining to do.

If the tables were turned, I could make an equally infinite list of eccentricities associated with my wife. Since she sets the table, who am I to turn it? I keep this as a secret stash to revel in occasionally when I'm feeling a little poorly about myself. The secret will go no further.

An example might prove my point. My wife thinks I am a little eccentric when it comes to pens. But, not so. I am just particular when it comes to using a writing instrument. After all, I'm a writer, and writers are experts when it comes to writing instruments. I sure could not play a musical instrument, but let me have a writing instrument and I can play all day long.

When it comes to writing instruments, a pen or a pencil, I have my preferences. When I say that, I must confess, I have never seen the pen I did not want to own. The pen, any pen for that matter, has something of an alluring draw for me. I sometimes go into an office-supply store just to worship before the array of pens they have. Rarely do I walk away without taking one pen to the checkout counter and rescue it from obscurity.

I possess pens of every shape and color and purpose. As far as I am concerned, every pen has a particular purpose. I always carry on my person a variety of pens with a diversity of ink colors because you never know what you are going to write doing the day. It would be beneath my dignity to use a pen for a purpose other than its intentional task. That is just the kind of person I am.

Often a certain resident of our household, which shall remain nameless, has made fun of what she calls "Your silly eccentricity." This person is always looking at me when such remarks are made. I'm not smart, but I get her nib.

If I wanted to make a point with her, I could say she is rather eccentric when it comes to her tools. To walk into her workshop is to be confronted with tools of every size and shape and purpose. I have watched her work and she never uses a hammer when she needs a screwdriver.

I once confronted her with this and she replied, "Oh, don't be so silly. It's not the same."

Another thing some may consider eccentric is the fact I do not use other people's pen, if at all possible. And I jolly well do not like others using my pen. It's just the rule I go by. When I'm at a restaurant and it comes time to sign the credit card receipt, the waitress always supplies one of her pens, but I never use it. I always select from the assortment of pens I have on my person at the time. That is the reason I carry pens.

After all, I do not know who used that pen last. And, I would not want to promote jealousy among the pens I do have. This is a rather strict rule I have followed for as long as I can remember. I do not use your pen and you do not use my pen, and the world is a wonderful place to live in.

This past week I faced a crisis in this regard. I was standing in line at the post office minding my own business, thinking of the package I had to mail. If you have ever been in the post office line you know how long it can be and the longer it is, the less people they have to serve at the counter.

If there are two or three people in line there are six people standing behind the counter ready to assist you. If there are over 12 people in line, the number behind the counter reduces to two. It's just the way the government works.

As I say, I was minding my own business when a woman came up and ask a simple question. I'm used to people asking me questions but this one put me in a bind.

"Could I borrow one of your pens?"

I lacked not in pens, for I had six in my shirt pocket. It was the principle of the thing that got me. I had six pens, she needed to borrow one, and everybody in the post office was looking at me, or so it seemed. My world stopped.

With some hesitation, I pulled a pen from my shirt pocket, put a smile on my face I did not really mean, and handed her my pen. It used to be my favorite pen, too.

Even the Bible says that everything has a purpose and every purpose has a season.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

The great challenge in life is to discover your purpose, and no matter how anybody else thinks about it, you stick to it and do it for the glory of God.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jane Ward 15 Dec 2010
Hi James, I just want you to know that I still enjoy your articles after all these years. I am a peneccentric myself. I too am a writer, so pens are held in high regard in my life. Thanks for being a faithful writer on Faithwriters.


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