Friday, February 13, 2015

Sharing my Addiction

“You can get a decent writing fountain pen without spending a small fortune,” I said.

I have discovered the Fountain Pen Revolution ( FPR ), a Fountain Pen Company based in India, dedicated to providing affordable fountain pens. “Declare your independence from overpriced pens.” Long story short: FPR held a world-wide drawing for a free FPR fountain pen, which I won. It is a large pen ( my favorite kind ), green and black in color, good looking, a screw-on cap, very smooth writing. A super pen. I was soon carrying it everywhere.

At lunch with a friend, I shared the winning the pen story. I bragged about the pen, brought it out, showed it to him, wrote with it, let him write with it. The pen impressed.

“You know,” he said, “I’ve been thinking about fountain pens. In my work I frequently have to sign official documents. I use a ball-point pen and I’ve always thought the pen looks cheap and my signature kind of looks second class.”

Sharing this story prodded my fountain pen addiction; talking to a friend already thinking about fountain pens nudged me into full frenzy.

 “If you sign with a ball-point, I believe your signature looks rather second class,” I said. “Signing with a fountain pen would almost certainly change that.”

 “You can get a decent writing fountain pen without spending a small fortune,” I continued.

“I have a pen I like a lot for which I spent less than $40.”

“You don’t have to go online for these, There is a nice fountain pen shop less than two miles from where we’re sitting,” and we were sitting within one-and-a-half miles of his job. “They’ll let you hold the pens. See how they feel. Try writing with them. This is important.”

“In fact, Travis, for less than three bucks you can get a disposable fountain pen. Called a Pilot Varsity. It writes pretty decently. To test your interest in going further. To see if you want to invest in a really nice pen.”

I eventually inhaled again and realized I was nearly traumatizing my friend. “The place up the street is called Art Materials … and they carry the Pilot Varsity disposable. I’ve gotten several of them there.” I then let him change the subject.

Several weeks passed and we lunched again. Believing both that he really wanted to try a fountain pen and that he had not given it another thought, I had decided to give him one of mine. I had  had two or three of the Pilot Varsity disposables, just in case of some emergency but I hadn’t had any emergencies in the entire time I’d had them. They were literally just lying around.

He admitted he had not acted in any way on the fountain pen suggestions I had made. Not being in the habit of giving gifts while at lunch, I believe I was slightly awkward when presenting the pen. I know the segue was ragged. “Oh, thank you,” he said. Using the clip on the pen cap, he clipped the Pilot Varsity next to two other pens clipped to the placket of his shirt.

He looked pleased. He said, “Thank you.” But. Still. He had not even tried writing with it before clipping it to his shirt. Had I misjudged? I wondered …

He was off work the next week, taking a one-week, intensive management course, followed by a certification test. He was also starting a multi-week online writing class. In the midst of this, he sent an email continuing the discussion of a touchy subject. The email was all business, except for the last two sentences. My heart leapt.

“I’m loving the fountain pen. Thank you!”
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