Friday, June 17, 2011

Bad Habit Number 1

As I stopped at my credit union today, I found myself once again pocketing one of their free fountain pens. I love these pens -- compact, smooth writing, and with a clicker.

After I got to the car, I thought: “What are you doing??????”

*thumps self in head*

I need another ink pen like I need a job. Regardless, I brought the pen home and added it to the 3, 458 pens I already have.

What makes me do that? I just can’t seem to help myself. Recently, I was at a festival where places like Wellstar, Metro PS, and churches were giving away pens. I readily picked them up and brought them home to add to my stash.

Hello. Landfill fodder.

This is just a bad habit and left over from my teaching days when a mug full of pens usually disappeared the first week of school as one student after another “borrowed” one because he couldn’t find his. You know -- the first week of school and what on earth would a student need with something to write with?

*thumps students in heads*

Somewhere out there is a black hole full of ink pens and pencils, sucked out of the classroom, lockers, notebooks, and book bags of former and current students.

I admit I am an office product nerd. Folders. Post it Notes. Erasers. Paper clips. Scotch tape. Note paper. Sharpies. They just make me happy.


I don’t go in places like Office Depot without making sure I have reread my brochure: Office Supplies Store Intervention: 8 Easy Steps in Avoiding the Pen and Pencil Aisle.

Nothing makes me happier, however, than a good writing pen -- and nothing makes me happier than a FREE good writing pen.

When I taught school, I primarily used the Bic stic pen. I used the blue or black ones for recording, making out lesson plans or tests [ they were awesome for dittos], researching, or doodling during faculty meetings.

I had the annoying habit of holding on to a pen till it ran out of ink, and I was notorious for keeping up with it and not allowing anyone to borrow it. I acted like it was a Mont blanc or something.

When I first got married, David said, “I have never seen anyone use a pen till it ran out of ink.”


Me: I'm special like that.

The red ones -- yes -- I adored, and I used them for marking papers. I loved them -- medium point red Bic stic pens. I think that I used a packet a year. My students hated those pens -- and would groan when their papers, bleeding with comments, were returned. I loved it -- those pens wrote so well that I just couldn’t control myself. I called those pens -- soldiers. Red soldiers -- dying in the fight against comma splices, passive voice, and lameness.


The Bic stic pen were cheap. Really. Cheap. I bought them at the beginning of grading season by the dozen. When I was particularly optimistic, I would buy two packs.

Grading season. Ha. Always open.

*laughs at own joke*

When I first taught school, I bought 24 Bic stic pens for a dollar. At one time, they were 19 cents each, but I don’t remember when that was -- they were always cheaper by the dozen.


Speaking of math: My friend Jane told me about a great t-shirt she saw in Chapel Hill.

English Major
You Do the Math


So, today, I picked up yet another pen because I could. Not because I need it, but because it is a bad habit.

Bad Habit Number 1.

And there will not be a post on Bad Habit Number 2.

Just sayin’.

BTW: The Bic pen writes "the first time, every time" commercials were classic. I searched, but I couldn't find the one with the figure skater attaching one to her skate, doing a couple of figure eights, and then writing with it. :)


  1. This could be the subject of a government grant for a university study. I can resist pens -- but if someone ig giving away notebooks, I'll see how many I can get away with.

  2. I'm a pen picker-upper, too. I can't help myself. It's like sinless stealing.

  3. With me it's matches. Everywhere I go I grab matches with restaurants/hotels name on it. I have become kind of sentimental about some of them. Just the other day I found some from when I went to Hawaii, 20 years ago! It's kind of weird, because I don't smoke and almost no one I know does, but I do love campfires :-)

    Hey, just read your comment on my blog and yes, I feel the exact same way! I am staying away from the fires, breaks my heart that some of the prettiest places in Arizona are burning....prayers desperately needed!

    Have a great Dad's day! Lori

  4. i like fine tip pens . purple is my fave.

    thanks for leaving a comment on my blog :-)

  5. I was reading an article today, and thought you might like this quote:
    “A principal at an elementary school told me that a parent asked a teacher not to use red pens for corrections,” she said, “because the parent felt it was upsetting to kids when they see so much red on the page."

  6. i adore pens. i completely understand, friend. :)

  7. I once bought a pack of 24 off-brand BIC pens, STAPLE's own brand. Virtually none of the pens worked, even after an hour's use. I learned my lesson after that.

  8. Fallen soldiers...this was one of the first things that Shelley told me about your class :)

  9. I remember the column of "fallen soldiers" taped to the corkboard. You'd add a pen each time it died!

  10. I have many favorites ... and keep a watchful eye on them!!!