Sharp Pencils

Crank This Puppy Up

Crank This Puppy Up

We all have our quirks.  Some people are particular about how the toilet paper roll hangs.  Some people have to load the dishwasher just the right way.  Some people never use their turn signal.  I like sharp pencils.

I know a lot of people don’t even use pencils.  They yse pens, if they write things by hand at all.  It’s not like people tend to keep journals these days, or write letters.  Even the words I am writing now are not being written by hand, unless you count typing on a keyboard.  Pencils seem so elementary school.  But I love them.  If I start a grocery list, I reach for a pencil first.  Crossword puzzles?  Gotta be in pencil.

The thing is, I like sharp pencils.  A dull pencil is like a dull knife.  Sure, it can get the job done, but it isn’t fun and it isn’t easy.  A dull pencil makes for work.  A sharp pencil makes for pleasure.  A fine graphite tip scratching across paper–that is simply a joy.  And those mechanical jobbers won’t do.  A newly sharpened wooden pencil is a fine and incomparable thing.

I got a pencil sharpener from my grandmother a few years ago.  She moved out and so cleaned out and gave me one.  It hangs on the wall and has a hand crank.  It is one of the most used tools in our house.  I use it almost every day, in fact.  I attached it to a post next to our desk downstairs.  A few pencils sit in a bin above it.  When my pencils start to wear too much, I crank it and start writing again.

One thing of which I am not a fan is an electric pencil sharpener.  That seems like a waste of energy.  That seems like it was designed for sloth.  You can’t even wrap a couple of fingers around a little knob and make a few turns?  You need electricity to sharpen a pencil?  How lazy can you be?  I guess if you have to sharpen hundreds of pencils (SAT test administrator?) it would come in handy.  But otherwise, come on people.

We have been trying to weed through all of the random crap in our basement lately.  We have boxes with art supplies, kitchen supplies, office supplies, all of which are half unpacked.  I keep wondering how one couple could have gathered so many damn writing utensils?  We have hundreds of pens and hundreds of pencils.  I kid you not.  I have to keep changing the system for how we will store them to accommodate more.  We have a whole bin of pencils on the kitchen counter, tucked behind the telephone.  My sharpener has been busy.

This doesn’t count, of course, the pencils that my daughter brings home.  Apparently someone at the National Education Association convention recently announced that all teachers will be condemned as half-ass slackers if they do not provide dozens of pencils for each pupil to bring home each month.  And the National Halloween Federation must have passed a ruling that since candy is bad for you, the safe and smart alternative is to hand out pencils.  As a parent this isn’t all that bad–hey, less candy to rot my kid’s teeth.  But if I were a kid I’d be pissed–A pencil?  Do that again next year and I’ll poke your eye out.

In summary:

  • I like to write with pencils
  • I have scores of pencils, some of which are older than Thriller
  • I like sharp pencils
  • Electric pencil sharpeners are for lazy people
  • I sharpen my pencils with a tool that is older than Michael Jackson himself
  • I support, although I do not necessarily agree with, the idea that pencils are better than candy, even if they are sharp
  • If you happen to need a pencil when you stop by, and I’m not home, you can find them behind the telephone
  • Satellite television is the biggest ripoff ever

OK that last one has nothing to do with pencils.  Got a problem with that?  Write me a letter.  In pencil.

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