A graduate of the Class of 2015, who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, has disclosed to the Pennsylvania Punch Bowl a deeply personal tale of constant pain.
“As the saying goes, you can take the student out of Penn, but you can’t take the Penn out of the student. Well, for me, that’s literal.”
The student, who we will call John, has woken every day with pens sticking out of his body in various locations. “I graduated in May, and have not been back to Penn since. However, each morning, I have pens inside of me,” John describes. “Sometimes they are in my ears. I had a penn in my nose for eight mornings in a row back in July. Once I woke up choking on a pen that was under my tongue.”
John hesitates to discuss the most painful morning he experienced. He sits now across from me fighting back tears. “I went to the emergency room on September 3rd because I had a pen sticking…” his voice trails off. “I had a pen sticking out of my butt.”
I give John a shoulder to cry on for a few minutes and begin to write down what he has said. John has to turn away out of fear. “I can’t look at pens the same way anymore. They give me the heebie-jeebies.” Whenever he sees a pen, he has flashbacks to the morning of September 3rd. His stress has overwhelmed his life. I feel a tinge of pity as he sips at his coffee.
“On the plus side, everybody at work loves me. I bring in pens every week for people to use. I don’t tell anybody where I got them. They think that I’m just out buying pens for them out of the kindness of my heart. I’m not. I’m doing it to get these instruments of torture out of my sight.”
John has tried to seek answers. He has been to therapists, physicians, tarot card readers, and game show host book signings. Nobody has been able to help.
“It’s frustrating for sure,” he says. “I don’t know why this is happening to me. It started the morning after graduation. It’s been every morning since. Every time I pull a pen out of me, it stays out. I’ve been able to keep this under wraps for now. Only my ex-girlfriend knows. She broke up with me a week after this started because waking up to a pen sticking out of her boyfriend’s face every morning was too jarring. I understand that. I don’t resent her. I just wish it would stop.”
Well, John: We at the Pennsylvania Punch Bowl are with you in your time of crisis. You may never be back inside Penn’s campus ever again, and hopefully we will wake up to a world one day where you do not have a pen inside one of your bodily orifices.