Where have all the pens gone?

My computer was visited by a little-bitty “virus” today, which happened to knock down our entire network along with that of many other firms. Our Information Resources department tells us that, in fact, it was not a virus but a “bad update” from McAfee (the anti-virus program). I’ll leave the semantics up to the experts. Bottom line is that I was off at 3pm, blissfully disconnected.

After watching a pathetic Champion’s League match, I came home and opened up a dusty Moleskin. My entry began as such (edited text in red)…


Funny how foreign a pen can feel these days. I can scarcely count more than a couple legitimate purposes for the wielding of this archaic instrument:

  1. Writing checks
  2. Signing bills or contracts
  3. Entering a building as a guest (when security is present)
  4. A short note (e.g. recipe, reminder, work-related task)
  5. Anything involving Post-Its

Essentially, we have an exchange of funds, personal identification and random musings that inevitably get trashed or digitized. Can someone please tell me, where have all the pens gone??!!

Despite my love of the backspace, there is something to be said for indelible ink. You can cross out regretted words, but with the proper lighting, one might pick up original intent on the backside. And please, have mercy on teachers and government employees — handwriting is experiencing serious atrophy. I can barely form a cursive letter without blurring words and ideas and punctuation. Luckily, schools are beginning to permit laptops, lest all would fail for incoherance incomprehension (is that even a word?).

Putting any luddite inclinations aside, the question arises — does it matter? So what if pens, notebooks and office stores are on the decline? My fond feelings for Post-Its and leather-bound journals notwithstanding, we’ll probably save some trees and eliminate at least one form of plastic waste.

On the other hand, what impact will the disappearance have on the free flow of ideas? Sure, we verbal vomit on emails and chats and blogs (except this one…naturally), so we need not worry about the disappearance of rambling train of thought. But what about writing for oneself? Will my stack of 9 half-finished Moleskins never meet their next of kin?

And what of the white board, paper napkin, back of the hand? What instrument will guide the next generation of great ideas?


Funny that such a ridiculous train of thought is only enabled by the medium itself. Until next time…

I commend a fellow WordPress blogger for really instigating change where it's needed.


One comment

  1. carinecarmy

    So much for the backspace! Just saw this article on the Economist titled, “Computer security: Loose clicks sink ships. The sounds of typing can be decoded” I guess we’ll now have to think before we type, too.

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