Just had a conversation with Otto. Where do they keep the aspirin around here?
Me: Hey, Otto-maton.
Otto: I don’t find that funny, Alan.
Me: Sorry. Can I borrow a pencil?
Otto: A pencil?
Me: Yeah, you know, the lead filled…
Otto: I know what a pencil is.
Me: Great. Can I borrow one?
Otto: You don’t have your own?
Me: Uh, no…
Otto: What happened to your pencils?
Me: I’m not sure. I just need a pencil and there aren’t any in the supply cabinet.
Otto: Have you looked under your desk?
Me: Yeah, Otto. I’ve done a pretty exhaustive search.
Otto: Funny how pencils are going missing. I wonder if someone is taking them home?
Me: Maybe. Hard to say. So, can I grab a pencil?
Otto: I can’t help you.
Me: Excuse me?
Otto: I have 3 pencils. If I loan you one, I’ll only have 2.
Otto: And, I like to have at least 2 back up pencils.
(Deep breath. Try to smile.)
Me: Sounds sensible, but I just need it for a minute.
Otto: I don’t think so. You’re obviously not very careful with them.
Me: It’s just a pencil, Otto.
Otto: Perhaps, but I don’t see why I should be penalized for your carelessness.
Me: Otto, just lend me a pencil.
Otto: Sorry, but if I lend you one, I set a dangerous precedent. Next thing I know people are asking me for staples, post it notes, pens…
(Rub throbbing temples. Accept defeat.)
Otto: Maybe you should get a pencil case… To help you organize…
Me: Thanks, Otto…
Otto: Or write your name on them…
Me: Okay, Otto…
(Return to desk. Make mental note to come in early tomorrow and hide Otto’s chair.)