Are you working hard or hardly working? It could be the “same difference” for some of us – because language is a funny thing.
Sometimes I’ll be seated at my desk, pretending to be working or lost in thought, and someone will walk by and say, “Is it okay if I steal your pen?” As they ask me this, they’re grabbing one of the hundreds of pens that I’ve acquired over recent years, and that are now scattered around me, lying in drawers, standing in empty peanut cans, buried under a pile of papers, or tucked into books. My response is always the same.
“Yes, of course,” I reply, because I have a giving nature, and also because I know that most of the pens don’t work anyway. When I’m feeling especially generous, I’ll say, “Take two, just in case.” But on the inside, I’m still trying to make sense of their original question. If you ask permission, then it isn’t really stealing. It’s more like coerced borrowing. I guess they see it as…
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