The Pen is Mightier…
. As much as I love technology, there is nothing I enjoy more than putting a pen to paper. I was the kid who loved back to school shopping because it meant fresh notebooks, new pens, and long walks through the aisles of Office Depot.
. One time, when I was in 7th grade, my amazing mom drove me to FOUR different stores trying to find the brand new erasable pen that had just be released.
. I’m sure she was thrilled when I got my driver’s license and was able to hunt for the trappings of a geek warrior without her. But then, lo and behold the interwebs made it possible to find lovely pens, stationery, and other goodies from all over. Every time I found a new pen site, I would scour the lists of new writing instruments and inks, checking off mentally which ones I had already tried or owned. In medical school, I was always trying out a new pen, picking out which inks were the most vibrant and smooth. One of my residents tried to permanently borrow a fave pen. It was rescued without incident by my intern and returned to its rightful home.
. For me, one of the most profound enjoyments I have is trying out a new pen. Yes, I know I’m weird, but seriously. I spend a huge amount of my day writing. Yes it may be signatures on prescriptions or notes on lab and radiology reports, but it is still writing. I have a special case of pens (my “everyday carry”, as serious enthusiasts call it) which sits next to my desk in a special spot. Throughout the day, I will switch in different pens depending on the job. I may break out a fountain pen for a signature then change to a trusty ballpoint if I am signing a stack of results or orders.
. I truly think I got this love of writing utensils from my dad. He always kept cups of pens on his desk. When he passed away last year, mom had found loads of pens that he had kept for years; always handy for when the mood struck him to write in a nearby notebook or in his ever-present journal.
. For all this affection I have for pens, I am ashamed to say my handwriting SUCKS. Outright. It’s so bad sometimes I can’t even read something I wrote 5 minutes prior. A friend once told me the reason people have bad handwriting is because the brain is moving faster than the hand can express. I would like to believe that.
. Dad also didn’t have the best handwriting, but he always said that he liked to write slowly. He said it was his honor to be writing whatever it was he happened to be doing. Signing a prescription, writing a note in a chart- he felt he was privileged and honored to do it. Using that pen for that job was humbling to him, and he did his best to communicate that to everyone who met him, be it patient, employee or colleague.
. I was showing someone today at. work a pen site after she shared how much she loved new pens and journals (seriously, I should get a commission from jetpens.com). It occurred to me that as much as I like this stuff, I tend to lose the humility and the experience because I feel the need to rush. Dad realized that the moment of putting pen to paper was the most important use of that moment. And to waste it thoughtlessly, without appreciating how much true gratitude and humility could exist in the simple act of signing one’s name or writing the date, is a waste of ink.
And ink should never be wasted. Unless you want to message me a new pen site so I can replenish my supply. :)