Faith, Humor, Memory, Thinking, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Writing

Baptism by ink?

I have a confession to make, and it’s one I’ve not told many people. I love fountain pens, and there have been consequences.

I’ve got nimble hands, which is useful in my line of work (as a neuroscientist). I first learned I had a gift for fine motor ability when I was 3 years old and figured out how to tie shoe-laces just by watching my mom do it. I was able to do it in one try.

Now, here’s where it goes all wrong. I got prideful. I forgot I had this gift, and when you have a talent and misuse it with things it’s not meant for, the result is humiliation or worse. In my case, it was worse.

I had become very good at twirling pens between my forefinger and middle-finger, sort of like a cheerleader’s baton, except with a small writing instrument. I’ve done it well, and back in high school, I was a master.

At that time, I also discovered fountain pens. Oh, what a cool little toy. You pull a fountain pen out of your pocket to take notes in English class and you’re a brand new person. You are different–when I reflect on this now, however, it was kind of an odd-ball thing to have–but I’m older and more mature (yes, I am!) so I have the freedom to smile at these memories.

A Lamy 2000, best pen ever...discovered

I was sitting in English class and was listening to a lecture, but not really paying attention, twirling a pen around. Spinning and spinning, like a smoker absentmindedly tapping ashes into an ashtray. You see, I was practicing. Always practicing for some big show. Of course, I guess some shows aren’t meant to be shown.

Someone turned, maybe to pass a love note to their neighbor and glanced at me, then laughs. But it wasn’t a laugh. She was choking like it was a burst of laughter, only repressed.

I realized I was twirling a fountain pen. And it was uncapped! I felt something wet on my face, my neck…. My hand came away with blue smudges when I tried to feel what it was.

My English teacher unmercifully asked in front of thirty-or-so of my peers if I needed to step outside and use the bathroom. Well, being in the back (I liked sitting in the back of the class) I had to walk through the aisles, past several occupied desks, and across the front of the room by the blackboard to the exit. I could hear the laughter, giggles and whatever muffled jokes were being told right outside in the hallway.

I thought it was game over when I arrived at the bathroom. I would just take my time, and slip back into the room unnoticed. Nope. I was punished a second time.

The volume of laughter, ridicule and hilarious comments increased when I came back into the classroom. Apparently, I had scrubbed myself so hard my skin had become red and splotchy; in exactly the same locations as the worst of the splattered fountain pen ink.

I had learned a big lesson that day.

Fountain pens are fun, but must be handled with care and respect. Cap ’em when not used for writing!


6 thoughts on “Baptism by ink?

  1. I absolutely adore fountain pens, too! Thanks for that little lesson- I would never have guessed they splash around like that until doing something like that myself! 🙂

  2. I love fountain pens. I have Lamy 2000 and have same opinion with you. And I am good at twirling pens. Three strikes. But don’t share the same experience with twirling uncapped fountain pens 🙂

  3. I recently found a Lamy 2000 at an estate sale and absolutely love it. It was my favorite pen until a couple days ago when I was able to buy a Sheaffer PFM, which I love a tiny sliver more than the Lamy. I envy your dexterity – my handwriting is awful.

    That’s funny about the spinning. Once, I was watching a poker game and absent-mindendly winding a pen up in some venetian blind cord when I slipped and stepped down on the loop of cord. The pen flew out, spinning, and moved over the table spraying red ink all the time. Everyone was marked.

    Not my best moment (and, unfortunately, not my worst).

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