Friday, March 01, 2013

1142 Confessions of a Pen Nut

1142 Confessions of a Pen Nut

The collection isn’t what you’d call “vast,” but it’s not small, either.  Can’t walk past a showcase, though, without at least looking and considering an addition or two.

Of course, there are displays and then there are Displays.  There’s a wall of these things in every Staples and in each of its staple-mates.  There’s another wall of them in Wal-mart, Target and every supermarket in America.

But the one you want is never there.

Like the transparent Bics.  They still make them.  They’re still inexpensive, though not cheap.  But try and find one. One.  Two, maybe. Not a package of a dozen.

Go into one of those stationery places and ask where the ink is.  They send you to the computer aisle.  No, no.  REAL ink.  Like for a fountain pen not a printer.  Maybe they have one dusty bottle of black crammed into a corner near the ball point, roller ball and gel refills.  Probably not.  Gotta get those at a “specialty supplier” like Levenger or the Fountain Pen Hospital or Arthur Brown.

Who hand-writes these days, anyway?  Especially with a fountain pen!

Well... in the age of digital insecurity, writing checks in actual ink is a safety precaution.  No one has a way of altering them because no one has real ink.

Pen makers are not sitting on their Victorian sofas and tut-tutting while the world passes them by.  No, sir!  They’re innovating, innovating, innovating.

See the commercial for Paper Mate’s “World’s most stolen pen?”  It’s called “Inkjoy” and it’s a dog.  It’s both inexpensive and cheap in three different but equally ugly colors.

Parker has introduced “Fifth Mode,” and the “Innovation.”  The former is a small rollerball-y kind of thing with refills that go for eight bucks a pop.  It’s a rollerball, fer cryin’ out loud.  But with a high priced fountain pen-like housing that costs way too much.

The “Innovation” is similar, but with a felt tip covered by something resembling a nib.  Kind of like a Sharpie in a pen suit.  (Isn’t there some law against impersonating a fountain pen?)

People who use fountain pens buy them for a lifetime.  Go see if you can find refills for either of these things in a year or two without having to do a major internet search.

Mont Blanc:  fanciest of the fancy with some models that cost four figures.

Customer walks into a jewelry store with a week-old Mont Blanc for which he paid three figures, tells the clerk “hey I just bought this and it leaks."

The clerk replies “yeah, they do that.”

THEY DO THAT?  A five hundred dollar pen and “they DO that?”

Yes, they do.  So much for “German engineering.”

Gotta stick with the trusty old 1947 Parker 51.

Anyone know where they sell fuchsia ink?


Book Note and blatant promotion:  Friend and colleague Ellis Henican wrote a new book with Rorke Denver, a trainer of Navy Seals in the post 9/11 era.  I am in the process of reading it, but it starts out strong and so far continues stronger.   The book is called “DAMN FEW, Making the Modern Seal Warrior” the publisher is Hyperion and it’s available everywhere.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2013

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