Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Rant: Failure Pen

The ball-point pen is a fine invention. Before it, writing in ink was done with fountain pens, messy and expensive devices which were nonetheless better than what came before. Pen technology has become rather advanced, and a fantastic variety of styles, shapes, colours, and grips is on display at office-supply stores.

But the majority of these pens are pure, unadulterated, disappointment. Last night I might have disturbed my nearest neighbour, by the crashing sound of a useless waste of plastic and ink shattering against our adjoining wall. Two pens in as many minutes failed the basic writing-utensil test of drawing a short line. A short line, like the letter l on a scrap of paper. Total, repeated, failure.

Ink dries in the reservoir. Rollerballs stick, or become impacted. Grips slide and twist. Click-buttons self-eject, stick, become lost. Caps disappear into a strange, plastic-filled parallel dimension. But most of all, pens gradually fail, in the most aggravating way possible. Oh, for the days of catastrophic, one-time failures, with ink splashed across the page, desk, and trousers. For the days of ink on white shirts, and screaming curses for ruined reports. Instead of this high drama, we have the pen that skips a centimetre, then again. Then drags a scratch through the page, but does not tear it. Weakly, it slides along, deigning to deposit ink only with remorse.

Enough! I say! Bring me a pen that writes and will not quit, then quits and will not write! None of this half-way apathetic incompetence from my writing utensils; I demand a pen of clear boundaries, that draws a line at the end of its life as clear as the first line it drew!

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