Pen Snob

I went for a fantastic Vietnamese lunch today with a friend who is a teacher for another school board. For some reason, most likely because we’re so doggone cool, we decided to stop in at Staples on the way back to my house. Luckily, it was teacher appreciation day at Staples and we got 15% off our purchases.

Although school starts for me in less than a week, and I’m certainly not looking forward to the end of summer, I got pretty excited about buying school supplies. I’ve been that way all my life, largely because I grow more and more snobby about my pens as I age. I write so much with a pen and paper in a week of school that I need a really smooth pen to be happy, particularly since I’ve had problems with my hands.

It was great to be in a stationery store with someone as excited to be there as I was today. My other friends, as lovely as they are, don’t really get my obsession with writing implements. The Electrician is rather perplexed by the mugs of pens and felts stashed in pretty much every room but the bathroom in the dollhouse. My teacher friend and I moved from one item to the next, discussing the merits of each new product and thinking about the best things to buy for the school year. Staples even had the schmancy new gel pens I’ve been looking for, the ones that require almost no effort for writing and so far have been manufactured only in black.

I need a pen that comes in blue for general writing, although I use the orange, green, and purple ones (never red) for marking schoolwork. The smoother the ink rolls onto the paper, the better, although I don’t prefer gel pens as a general rule because they often smear too easily. My favorite pens are fairly broad, about 0.8 to 1.2 mm, because the fine-tipped ones feel scratchy and drive me bananas. Bonus points for pens that have a thick barrel so my fingers don’t cramp up as much during long afternoons of grading papers.

The non-teachers in the crowds are shaking their heads right now, unable to understand why I’m so particular about my pens. I admit I’m more fussy about my pens than most, but that’s par for the course. Swap a mechanic’s tools for an inferior brand, though, or switch a hairstylist’s scissors for a lower quality pair, and you get the picture. People need the best possible tools to complete their work well, and I need pens that make my job easier.

I’m also picky about my chocolate and my eyeliner, but those might be posts for another day.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. melvisx says:

    I totally get it.

  2. FL Liz says:

    I get it too. I remember my 8th grade discovery of the Flair colored felt tip pen. Made my year. Fine tip point ball points give the creeps – the scratchy feeling is like fingernails on a chalk board to me. I once dabbled in the fountain pen but that too was too scratchy. I love office supply and hardware stores: All the cool gadgets and gizmos!!

  3. Janet says:

    I’m the same with pens. I’m a new teacher, but formerly/currently an editor (now freelance) — and both jobs require a lot of pen work, so I can definitely appreciate a good one.

    1. Janet says:

      ohh…and btw, since you mentioned eyeliner, you might want to check out: GOSH velvet touch eyeliner/waterproof — $12 @ shopper’s drug mart; smooth application, and once it sets, it stays put!

      1. Kay at Blue Speckled Pup says:

        Oooh, I’ll check that one out! Is that in Canada’s Shoppers stores?

    2. Kay at Blue Speckled Pup says:

      Thanks Janet. Good to know I’m not the only one who’s uptight about what I write with.

      1. Janet says:

        sorry — yes, at Shopper’s in Canada (I’m in the Toronto area).

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