“I don’t trust pens.”


I was in the storage area of the department in the university where I work yesterday with another lady in my office.  We were talking about the archival quality of the creepy basement and ink and paper.  When we got back upstairs, I had to check-out certain archived materials with her so that I could take them to my office to peruse them.  She wrote down everything that I took with a pencil bearing our university’s logo.  I noticed a yellow pencil by her keyboard that she had been using earlier.  More in cups.

J: R, do you like pencils?

R: What?  Oh, yes.

J: Me, too (in a whisper).

R: I don’t trust pens.  They never work when you need them to.

J: I’m taking some boys camping this weekend, and I told them to bring a notebook and pencil because it’s likely to be too cold for ink to flow where we’re going…

And I went back to my office glad that I’m not quite the only pencil geek at work.

12 Replies to ““I don’t trust pens.””

        1. I’m afraid I already have a…strange reputation in the department for my unsocked feet, philosophy degrees and serious coffee addiction. I keep my stationery lust as secret as possible. : )

  1. Sadly, I’ve got a story from the other side of the isle. Happened just yesterday. I was taking notes in church with my trusty compy and a Mirado Black Warrior F 2 1/2. The lead broke off under the wood, leaving me with not even a stump of visible graphite. So now, there I was, sitting in the middle of a chapel with nothing to write with. And even though I had my new Alvin 3-hole sharpener in my pocket, what was I gonna do, drop shavings on the floor?! No way. So I had to sit through the whole meeting letting all these good thoughts and ideas fly away unrecorded. And I was thinking, I wouldn’t be in this situation with a pen. First thing I did when I got home was grab a ballpoint. I lost some faith in the pencil. Ideas? Something more elegant than carrying a shavings bag around with me?

    1. KUM makes some sharpeners with containers that are barely larger than their wedges. They only hold the shavings from one or two sharpenings, but that usually does the trick. :)

    2. I never liked portable bladed sharpeners for pencils. They work in a pinch if it’s all you got, but they’re not very good and never quite put a fantastic point on.

      I keep a small roll of pencils (anywhere from 3 to 10) with me when I want to do woodcased pencil writing for any period of time. That way I’ve always got a backup ready and it will generally last me until I have the chance to resharpen with a knife or rotary sharpener.

      However, If I’m going to put myself in situations where I need to write a lot but can’t conveniently sharpen a pencil, I typically go with a leadholder or a mechanical pencil. A bladed lead pointer like a Mitsubishi or SharPits lasts a long time, is quite silent, and stores a decent amount of graphite dust. A mechanical pencil needs of course no sharpening at all, and a broken point is generally no big deal.

      Or you could, you know, carry both a pen and a pencil. :D

      1. I’ve never been a fan of rotary sharpeners myself, but we received one for review last week that is just fantastic. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a review.

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