I Miss Pencils

I’m having a weird sense of nostalgia for pencils.  I used the phrase “pencil you in” in a recent email and it struck me that we don’t really do that any more.  We might tentatively type someone’s name into a list, but there’s no convenient way of giving it that same sense of changeability vs permanence.

When I graduated from high school, one of my teachers gave me an address book.  She told me that I was going to be meeting all sorts of new and interesting people (boy was she right!) and I would need a way of keeping track of their phone numbers and addresses.  This was before we all had computers and cell phones for that purpose.

I remember her caution about using ink in my address book.  She told me that people will move at least 8 times before they are 30 yrs old and it wouldn’t make sense to put their information down in ink since it would soon be outdated.  “Just pencil them in until you know they are settled for awhile.”

Funny thing about pencils, they make a better weapon than writing utensil.  I still have a black mark on the back of my right hand where I stabbed myself with a very sharp pencil.  I remember it clearly.  I had it sticking, point up, in the back pocket of my jeans during high school marching band practice in 1978.  I brought my hand down onto the point when I was being careless and I effectively tattooed myself.  It takes me back to that day every time I see it.  I guess that pencil did have some permanence!

Now, I pretty much only use a pencil when a pen isn’t handy.  Most information is now typed, like this blog, and there’s no indication of how permanent or temporary any particular word or sentence is.

Yeah, my mind travels to weird places sometimes.  I’m too pen-sive I guess.

One thought on “I Miss Pencils

  1. Funny how we’re all different. I love pencils. In fact, that lovely bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils in your picture is breath-takingly inspiring! You see, I write with pencils. In little notebooks, and leftover lab books, and abandoned spiral notebooks. And envelopes. And napkins. But almost always in pencil, rarely pen, unless a pencil isn’t available. Here’s something even funnier—I don’t necessarily FINISH in pencil, it just gets me going, so at some point I’ll switch over to the computer.

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