The Personalities of Pens

Often, I will look at a pen and wonder what is its personality. Every pen has a unique feel, an aura, and personality. When ink meets paper there is a specific interaction depending on what type of pen is in use. When we hold a pen in our hand do we realize the potential these tools of creation yield, or do we only care whether they work? How often do we overlook pens that are lying about, dismissing all their accomplishments? Where is the future of the pen with all the advances in technology and our ever growing dependence on computers, phones, and tablets? Do pen’s personalities affect us, or is it a one-way street. Let’s explore the personalities of some pens.

The “Disposable Hero”

“All Labor that uplifts humanity has dignity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Utilitarian. We all have seen these pens, the inexpensive pens that are a dozen for less a dollar, the ones that people chew on the caps and throw away without thought. When I pick up one of these pens, I can feel it’s willingness to get the job done, always at the ready, trustworthy, and consistent. We can feel the pens dependability and confidence to complete the job.

How many impressive feats have been accomplished using this loyal tool? All their contributions to human society tossed away without an acknowledgement of greatness. Imagine the number of complex equations that have been solved using this simple tool. Time and again we discard these everyday heroes. However, how many more equations are being solved digitally, and does this simple ball point pen still have a place in this increasingly paperless world? Will we one day throw away our loyal friend one last time?

The Technical Pen

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til, your good is better and your better is best.”-St. Jerome

Many trades require more than an inexpensive ball point pen. This is where the high-end technical pen comes into play. Spending five dollars on a pen is excessive, but imagine spending around a hundred dollars or more on a pen. Who would even need such an expensive pen? Artists and architects need a willing partner to join them on the ten-thousand-hour journey to expertise. This costly instrument will help us go from below average to better. It will be by our side for years while we perfect our craft. Precise and efficient, we cannot blame the tool, but only ourselves, because this pen will beg for our best, and we know we cannot let it down. Eventually, we will know this pen better than we know some of our friends. This pen is not easily thrown away, rather it is treated like a loved one. We will become a happily-married couple, anticipating each other’s moves, and knowing we are in this together to overcome any obstacle together.

Most of us will never need a pen like this, but for those who need an extension of their self and a true tool of creativity, this pen is the solution. These pens will be there mocking us at the beginning of our journey as we struggle to master our craft, then urge us to keep going and will finally be beside us when we have persevered and accomplished the precision need to excel at our chosen craft. We will learn this pen’s personality and eventually blend our own personality together to form a unique relationship that most people will never be able to experience, or understand.

The Red Pen

“A fondness for power is implanted in most men, and it is natural to abuse it when acquired.”-Alexander Hamilton

Authoritative. The red pen is unforgiving, bold, and definite. It is does not waffle, rather it is direct and signifies an ending. For example, other colors such as blue and black are mere suggestions, the red pen is definitive. The red pen does not play games but gets right to the point. Uncaring and bold, our feelings do not matter to this pen, only results. The red pen inspires fear and anxiety in all of us, it has the final say when we give our best academic efforts. No one wants to see an assignment that they invested their time, feeling, and effort into to come back marked up with red marks scattered about their work.

When we have the red pen in our hand, we hold the fates of others. Does this power corrupt? Do we let our ego inflate to a dictatorial level, or do we use this pen civilly and only correct when required? Answering these questions, we find that the red pen is a pen that can influence our personality.

All categories of pens have personality, and those personalities affect us when we decide which tool is right for the job. Whether a pen is cheap or expensive, they are needed in our world, but with our technology boom how long will that be? Will we lose the bond that we have created with these simple tools? From the simple to the elegant, pens are all around us, from completing everyday mundane tasks to pushing us forward to achieve great feats. Do we have a finite amount of time with our constant companions, or will they be a causality of this digital era? Will pens always be around? Will their replacements affect us the same way? Does a stylus have a personality?

Neal Hogan is a student at Aaniiih Nakoda College.

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