I’m at work. I need a pencil. There’s three cups of miscellaneous writing instruments on the desk around me, so I finger my way through each one.
Pens, pens, pens everywhere – plus an emery board, magnifying glass, ruler, book of matches, clothes pin, lint remover, shoehorn, screwdriver, pliers – but no pencil. I’ve noticed this about a lot of desk top cups these days – no pencils. What? – the world does it’s checkbook balancing in ink now? What? – I could file my nails, get a closer look at my fingernails, measure this desk’s dimensions, light a cigarette, hang my laundry, clear my fleece shirt of lint, slip into more comfortable shoes, and fix my toaster, all before I could find a graphite writing instrument?
I finally hit pay dirt digging out a stubby pencil from the bottom of the cup. But, like all pencils scrounged from cups nowadays, the eraser is petrified and, of course, the graphite tip is broken off.
If good pencils are hard to find, pencil sharpeners are even harder. This place doesn’t have one, so I’m forced to use the knife I saw a minute ago. I’m no whittler and manage only to club the wood into oblivion trying to sharpen the point.
Frustrated, I realize I must resort to using – gasp – a pen to write with. How many of these cheap pens do I have to go through to find one that actually works? What happened to good old Bic pens that blanketed civilized places forty years ago? Still, what I’m really craving is a vintage Eberhard Faber or Lippincott pencil with a fresh, pink, gummy eraser. I make lots of mistakes when I write (ones I eventually “erase” when rewriting on the computer later).
Ah-ha, the computer, modern day’s eraser, and – for all that matter – pencil. But good luck finding a computer in the bottom of of a desk organizer cup.
Doesn’t anyone around here have a plain old pencil? Dammit. Where’s a pencil!?
2 responses to “Remember This? The Pencil”
Pencils are going the way of the dodo, I’m afraid. But they are my favorite writing implement. Especially when new. There’s nothing quite like a new pencil. The problem with the pencil, though, is that about 50% of the pencil gets wasted. By the time you’ve used half of it, the eraser is gone, the whole thing is too short to be of practical use, and you want to stat over with a new one. Also, if you are the type who learned to spin one around your thumb in highschool, you can’t really do that unless it’s brand new. A pen with a cap is better for that. (And a pen without a cap is no good for that.) I doubt anyone knows what I’m talking about now, so I will stop. I do like a good pencil, though.
What they don’t know can only hurt them.