Pictured below is an assortment of pens I’ve had ever since I packed up the old Ford Escort and moved away from Drexel avenue way back in the winter of 86.
Over the years, this bunch of pens has contracted and expanded. Pens have come and pens have gone, but there’s been one writing instrument that I’ve seemed to have held on to all of these years. It’s an old pink Paper Mate pen that belonged to my paternal grandmother.
It’s a pretty basic pen – ink, not gel. It doesn’t have a stylus tip, and there is no squishy ergonomically correct cushioning to reduce the potential trauma of writing more than five words.
It caught my eye one morning not too long ago as I was grabbing a pen to toss in my pocket.
All was well until I was sitting in a meeting and had a cause to take notes. I attempted to write and realized this pen – I think first used when Carter was in office – was all dried out (Not to be confused with All Cried Out, that Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam 1985 hit). Always prepared (Truth be told, I’m one ink ruined shirt away from carrying a pocket protector – hey if fanny packs are coming back, why not?) I deployed my back up writing tool and commenced my note taking, in my never ending efforts to look professional (As I tried to avoid asphyxiation brought on by the cloud of pompous, hot air that sucked all breathable oxygen out of the room).
Normally if one of my old pens fails to perform I toss it out, but in this case I couldn’t bear to part with this relic from my younger days. I had to bring this old girl back to life.
As soon as I returned home, I gently dismantled the pen and removed the expended ink supply, and like CSI Gil Grissom at a crime scene, I tossed the empty ink vessel into a zip top plastic bag. Next stop, my neighborhood (Really, it is in my neighborhood, right down the road from Casa de McCullough) big box office supply store.
I found my way to the refill section on the writing instrument (Cause pen and pencil ain’t fancy enough) aisle. If there were any part numbers or similar descriptors on the old ink supply, I didn’t see them, so I had to rely on my sharp (Multi-focal contact lens enhanced) eyes to match the old ink to a new refill.
Suppressing the urge to yell “Eureka!” I found a refill that looked like it would fit. So I made the purchase and rushed back to my (Wannabe Tony Stark workshop) basement to perform the delicate reassembly.
The refill fit perfectly, and this venerable writing instrument was back in service.
Right about now I bet you’re wondering why I would take over 400 words to gush over replacing the ink in a 35+ year old pen.
Long time readers of these pages know I harbor a sentimental side. Bringing back to life a pen that wrote letters and completed crossword puzzles brought back memories of a time when people actually wrote letters and completed crossword puzzles.
I’m happy that this writing implement accompanies me to the 9 to 5 from time to time. It makes me feel like my grandmother – who didn’t get a lot of education and wore a domestic’s uniform gets to hang out with her grandson who got a lot of education (Some I even still use) and wears suits, ties and dress shirts.
And on that dress shirt is a pocket where I can carry a big piece of my youth close to my heart.