Borrowing a Sharpie in the Workplace

Candy Spilman By Candy Spilman, 6th Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

A humorous account of paranoia and forgetfulness involving a borrowed Sharpie

Borrowing a Sharpie in the Workplace

You know how you can absolutely swear that a certain thing happened or didn’t happen? Then you suddenly realize that you were wrong, and the bottom drops out of your world. You wonder if you might be getting Alzheimer’s.

I have been having moments such as those at work, and they all seem to involve a Sharpie. I’m sure that behind my back, I am now known as the quintessential Sharpie witch, and that’s probably the nice way of saying it. I am employed in the bakery of a major store chain, and yes, a Sharpie, ink pen and a box knife really are daily needs in our line of work. We can obtain such items free of charge from the personnel department, but most of us find it easier to provide our own Sharpies and pens. Lately, however, I seem to be the only one with a Sharpie.

I have learned that you don’t ever loan your stuff to anyone outside your own department, because if so, you will never see it again. But my own co-workers are a different story. They usually return things promptly, and if they don’t, I needle them until they do. But recently, there have been some embarrassing cases such as the following:

Me: Alyssa, are you done with my Sharpie?
Alyssa: I gave it back to you a few minutes ago!
Me: You did??
Alyssa: Yeah, I remember handing it to you!
Someone else: She did, I saw her.
Me: (Checking my pocket) Oh, sorry, I guess you did…

Truly mortifying, no? Apparently, I didn’t learn any lessons, because a couple of weeks later, we had another little scenario:

Me: Heidi, are you done with my Sharpie?
Heidi: Yeah, here… wait, I can’t find it. I must have laid it down. Where is the last place I used it? Let me look…

A few minutes pass. My Sharpie is nowhere to be found. Tension mounts…

Heidi: I’m so sorry! I will buy you another one.
Me: No, that’s okay… don’t worry about it.
Heidi: No, really – any color you want!

This poor girl probably really would have bought me one, except that later on, when I was reaching into my pocket to get my pen, I accidentally pulled out… my Sharpie. Oops. How is it that I didn’t remember getting it back?

In my own defense, the day before, Alyssa had borrowed this hallowed marker and forgotten to return it until after lunch. She even confessed that it almost fell into the toilet and that was how she remembered she still had it. She told me this after handing it back to me, by the way.

But still. What causes such paranoia that I fail to even remember something being returned to me? The bad thing is I love my co-workers! Now, I’m pretty sure they not only think I’m psychotic, but also delusional. Maybe next time, I will think to check my pockets before asking for my Sharpie back. The only thing is, nobody seems to ever ask to borrow it any more. Hmmm…


Borrow, Co-Workers, Humor, Sharpie

Meet the author

author avatar Candy Spilman
Former journalist turned freelancer. I'm a mom and grandma and love to write about family or Christian topics.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
6th Sep 2014 (#)

You sound like one of my co-workers, she is always taking home scissors, pens, and so forth, but never intentionally.

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author avatar Retired
7th Sep 2014 (#)

Love this and can totally identify. Sharpies are precious resources! Great piece.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
10th Sep 2014 (#)

Some funny things have been done to keep supplies from being stolen. When I worked in retail, I had my box cutter, sharpie, pen, and store layout cheat sheet (which I researched and made myself) on cords I hung around my neck until the manager made me "remove the weapon from guest site" -- whereupon I moved the items to a key-ring and carabineer I attached to a belt loop. I've also used nail polish to paint my name on all my items (or to paint in a color that co-workers would not be caught dead owning). When I taught, I exchanged my pencil(s) for the student's shoe(s). Rarely did I not get back my stuff
I like to say that just because we are paranoid does not mean no one is out to get us. In the same vein, when you are constantly having to ask for items to be returned, the emotion you associate with the item is that it has not been returned. If you co-workers turned over a new leaf, and returned your items more promptly (or brought their own and you borrowed frequently), these worries would lessen, and then you could feel the pen in your pocket!!

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author avatar Candy Spilman
10th Sep 2014 (#)

Since I wrote this, one of my co-workers has given me a marker issued by our personnel department and suggested that I only loan that one out. She said that way I won't have to worry if I don't get it back!

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