Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Pen

Recently a good friend of mine gave me a pen as a gift. I call him a good friend because he instinctively knew that I would love this pen. It was not on my Amazon gift list nor am I known as a pen collector. However, I am an aficionado of fine pens. I humbly accept this label after some deep introspection and a review of my pen purchases over the years.

It is a Fisher Space Pen, black bullet style with a clip. The Space Pen is the kind that writes upside down and that the NASA astronauts have used since 1969.
The pen measures about 3½” closed but opens to a full sized 5½” writing implement when the cap is placed on the back end. It fits unobtrusively in my pants pocket, has the weight and feel I like when writing and the ink always flows onto the paper from the first point I set the tip on without blobbing up like a cheap Bic.

If you are a Seinfeld fan, you’ll remember fondly Season 3 Episode 5 which is about a space pen that after reluctantly accepting the pen, Jerry returns because he realizes the gift offer was disingenuous.

A fine pen does not have to be expensive. It has to inspire you to write and flow the ink well when you do. It has to fit your hand both in size and weight. With the right pen in your pocket, you look forward to signing your name and would never dream of using the public string attached teller pen, even if it takes a couple of more seconds to produce your personal writing instrument.

My appreciation for pens comes from my father. In his early years he always had a nice desk pen set with both a ball point and a fountain pen. I was welcome to use the ball point. But no one was allowed to use the fountain pen because he said the nib gets used to the particular angle at which each writer holds the pen and another user can ruin the pen. That’s when I learned that pens are personal. He was right.

He was also a fan of the Pilot Razor Point. He taught me that a good pen lets the ink flow and does not require pressure on the paper. I can still remember him coaching me and my sister, “don’t press so hard or you’ll ruin the tip.”

I’ll tell you how I came to own my Mont Blanc Meisterst├╝ck.

I had always admired the Mont Blanc and wanted one for years. I was signing a contract at a local gym. (oh, they got you too?) The owner handed me his Mont Blanc to fill out the forms and when I was just about finished, he left his office. I waited for about 10 minutes and then left the pen and the signed contract on his desk.

He later called me to ask if I had “inadvertently” kept his special pen. I didn’t want him to suspect me so I went and bought him a new one and presented it in the box saying I was sorry I left his pen unattended. (Yes I also deal with a guilty conscience.) To my astonishment, he had either found his or already replaced it and refused my gift.

I decided to keep it but I rarely use it. Really it is a little light for my taste and I don’t like to pull it out because everyone knows the Mont Blanc symbol and it’s too flashy and nouveau riche.
Three other pens I own and like are:

A Cross Tablet pen my wonderful wife gave me on my first Father’s Day. Just because you go paperless does not mean you have to give up style and comfort. (Does not work with my new Dell XT but I blame Dell for their egregious design flaw. It might be reason enough to return to Toshiba. Anyone interested in a gently used XT?)

My hand-turned wooden pen I purchased at the Apple Festival in Ellijay, GA several years ago.

The Zebra F-301. I love the feel of the steel and it has a good weight for an “office supply” I can get my company to purchase.
Although not written with the space pen, but rather inspired by it, I close my first blog post. For unwittingly exhorting me to write again, I thank you my friend.


Angela said...

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Sweetie! I am, of course, going to say for the record that I (not Tony McCollum) "knew instinctively" that you would like that pen, and thus told Tony so. He then proceeded to steal my thunder by giving you the pen. Give full credit where credit is due!!!

Ren said...

A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
Proverbs 31:10-12 MSG

Angela said...

What are you trying to say???

deWeb said...

when I used to sell cars for a living (it was a short-lived and painful, yet remarkable prosperous career venture.) a fellow explained why he kept a mount blanc pen with him at his desk: "you don't ask somebody to sign for a fine, thirty thousand dollar autombile with a plastic, thirty cent writing utensil." coincidentally, at that dealership nobody signed anything until they got back to the finance office, where I think they used thirty cent plastic bics. but I got his point.

he didn't last much longer in the car business than I did.

holly said...

i'm with your spouse...i think i see the lord's sandal in the sky...:)
yay ren! this is the perfect time for me to say hasta luego to the blog world...
ang, the pony has giddyupped and is off into the sunset, searching for happier trails and steno pads.

Tony said...

Will wonders never cease?

Welcome to the blogosphere, Ren!!!

holly said...

the pen, mightier than the sword...