Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | June 22, 2012


I’m working at the circulation desk this morning, dealing with a couple of nutter-butters as it is, when a dude we’ll be calling “Bic Bickerson” walks up to inquire about his lost pen.

Simple enough, right?!

Wrong…always wrong.

Bic Bickerson: “Hi there. I left a pen here yesterday and I would like it back.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Um, okay…I can check the lost and found.”
Bic Bickerson: “That would be splendid.”

At this point I did two things. First, I focused heavily on the fact that what appeared to be an 18-year-old kid just used the word splendid in regular conversation. Second, I meandered over to the lost and found. Unsurprisingly, there was no pen to be found.

Cap’n Charisma: “Sorry, doesn’t look like anyone turned it in. You could go check where you think you left it and see if it’s still there.”
Bic Bickerson: “Spot on, I will do just that…”

He walked off to go check whatever desk he was sitting at yesterday and I spent more time wondering why he was talking like an old-timey movie character from the black and white film era.

He came back a couple of minutes later looking utterly dejected.

Bic Bickerson: “No joy.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Well, sorry about that…”
Bic Bickerson: “Okay then. May I be reimbursed?”
Cap’n Charisma: “Reimbursed?”
Bic Bickerson: “Yes. Reimbursed.”
Cap’n Charisma: “…for your lost pen?”
Bic Bickerson: “That is correct.”
Cap’n Charisma: “We don’t generally reimburse people for losing their own things.”
Bic Bickerson: “…but it happened within the library.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Right, but it’s your pen and you left it behind.”
Bic Bickerson: “Yes…in the library. So the library is liable.”
Cap’n Charisma: “…for your pen?”
Bic Bickerson: “Correct. The library is liable for the loss of my pen.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Well, we don’t reimburse people for items they lose. We have plenty of signage posted warning people not to leave their things unattended.”
Bic Bickerson: “A sign does not dictate liability.”
Cap’n Charisma: *sigh* “…what kind of pen are we even talking about here?”
Bic Bickerson: “It was a Bic with a click top. Blue ink. Brand-new, so it was full of ink.”

I took a minute to compose myself and fight the urge to bash his face in using the three-hole punch. I mean seriously, who dances around liability issues for five minutes when you’re talking about a sixty-cent pen?!

Luckily, I’m a huge nerd and love me some pens, especially clicky pens, and I’ve usually got 3-5 clicky pens in my pocket at any given time.

So I did what anyone else who wanted this dude to shut up and go the hell away would do, I pulled out three pens.

Cap’n Charisma: “Here…take a pen.”
Bic Bickerson: “…but how do I know these are full of ink?”
Cap’n Charisma: *sigh* “…take two, heck take all three.”
Bic Bickerson: “Oh, that is quite a good deal.”
Cap’n Charisma: “Sure…we all cool now?”
Bic Bickerson: “Indeed. Have a spectacular day.”
Cap’n Charisma: “You too…”

Then he walked off with a glimmer in his eye and a bounce in his step.

I’m assuming he is some sort of professional hustler who read about my kleptomania for clicky pens and decided he’d one-up me, by tricking me into handing them over.

Well-played, Bic Bickerson.

You win this round, you rogue.



  1. Dude, Should have just said.

    “I look forward to hearing from your lawyer. Have a good day”


    • Touche…that would have been decidedly more entertaining.


  2. Can you expense a pen ;). or will MIT slap you for turning in a 1.80 receipt for a pack of pens


    • Most of mine are swiped from other places anyway. I’ve got like 200 clicky pens in my desk right now, not a one of ’em was paid for by the Libraries…I think I’ll let it slide.


  3. You got played.


    • Making it more odd is that the Libraries always have pens and pencils available for people to take and use at any time. He could have just taken a handful of pens at any given time and been all set.

      This dude was devious.


  4. Hilarious .. Who what else he will lost the next time ? 🙂


    • Yeah, I’ve got no doubt he’ll tell me he lost his iPad, or laptop, or Porsche next time around and he’ll assume that I can just hook him up with a new one on the spot.


  5. Why does this guy talk like he jumped out of the movie “Casablanca”? By any chance, did he have a British accent? That might be the only logical excuse. Otherwise, individuals like this guy just seem like they’re trying too hard.


    • He didn’t have an accent, which made it even more weird. I couldn’t stop feeling like I was being taped for an episode of “Punk’d” or something…it was all so strange.

      -Talks funny.
      -Freaking out over a pen.
      -Goes on and on about “liability”…for a pen.



  6. You should have done a Bic variant of The Joker’s famous pencil trick.


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