Tuesday, April 5, 2011


My pen is the barrel of a gun, which side are you on?

Right now it’s a Pilot G-2 05, and in the past few days it’s been too mighty for its own good. Twice now in the last week, I haven’t been able to publish a few of my masterpieces for fear of losing a so called friend, getting someone else fired from their job, or getting myself in more trouble than I care to get out of. Either way, trace all of these written mistakes or moments of sheer genius back to the beginning, and the blame can be nicely put on the pen.

The words that the pen writes may be done through some sort of abstract mental inspiration, but as soon as the actual ink that hits the paper, it becomes pure concrete fact. And that’s why, too many times now, the pen has gotten people into trouble.

In fact, the pen has been attacking people for years. Its defense isn’t too bad either. The power of the pen to express the written word has created a power far greater than any weapon we’ve ever imagined. As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword. Follow that out a bit further, and you get the idea of living and dying by the sword. So why not the pen too?
Could the inventors of the first official writing tool have ever imagined that a swift mark of some black ink, or any color for that matter, from a quill, ballpoint, or felt tip pen, could have been so powerful?

Probably not… But writing something down can change your life. And not just your own, but anyone’s really. With the creation of the pen also came a set of problems and solutions that forever changed how we as people would go about our daily lives. Maybe that’s why the Indians stuck with an oral society.

The pen is far more accurate and precise than any oral tradition of story recounting, or bow and arrow, or musket ball ever was. This gives new meaning to a ball point pen.

But as time passes and things evolve, some creations get better, and others worse, but the pen stays the same. In fact, it has changed little over its lifetime.

Pens have been around since almost the beginning. Hieroglyphics, cave paintings, and even finger painting are all examples of early uses of pens. Pens as we know it, with ink, surprisingly were not perfected until the late 19th century.

These days pens are everywhere in every form… a stick, a piece of metal, your finger. In fact, the word pen is defined as the instrument of writing or authorship. That is definitely true. And even with all the technology that is lying around these days, all that typed work and buttons pressed, and kindles sold, at one point or another, came down to a red pen mark. Some may even argue that the pen is boundless.

Stop! So there is one limit. Pens have class. No, not class as in the high waisted dresses, cocktail hour every afternoon at five o’clock kind of way, but class as in there is a hierarchy of pens. That’s right, a class system: upper, middle, lower, some are better than others—hierarchy.

Take my G-2 for example. It’s a pretty good pen. Black. Refillable. It gets the job done as far as writing is concerned, but as frequent pen users, we all know that some pens are superior to others.

Exhibit A: Pen Envy. Pen envy is a real thing, and we all have had it at one time or another.

It’s like when you borrow a pen from someone, use it, and then say, “Wow, this is a really nice pen!” And they agree because they know it’s a good pen, and they know that you’re jealous and that you are doing one of two things. The first, thinking of a way to steal their pen, or hopefully the second, carefully reading that rubbed down writing on the side of the it in hopes of being able to approach the massive pen wall at Walmart to find the exact same one.

Pens can also be expensive gifts. Like when your grandparents give you an expensive pen for graduation or your birthday. Hopefully, you wrote the thank you card, maybe with the pen even, but have you ever used it again? Probably not. It’s one of those gifts that you say, “Thanks grandma, I haven’t ever got one of these before.” Maybe not the best gift you have ever gotten, but remember, it’s the thought that counts.

A pen can be your best friend or it can be your worst enemy. Most people see a pen as a writing implement, device, appliance, if you will. And it is, but it is also a lot of other things too.
A pen can: open the plastic on a new pack of notebook paper, make a temporary tattoo, draw a picture, break a friendship, start a war, officiate a marriage, give you a good name, give you a bad name, buy you dinner (the credit card bill of course), ruin your new favorite shirt….

Don’t believe that these reasons equal pen power. Keep reading.

On a scale from one to pen….err….ten, the pen is at the top of the power scale. Everything goes back to it. Take a problem or a solution, and you can trace the line all the way back to some document that was filled out and signed….. with a pen.

Some things that are signed with a pen: The Declaration of Independence, a birth certificate, your reading log in the 5th grade, report cards, diplomas… If you want credibility baby, you need a pen.

Speaking of birth certificates, the very pen starts our life by inking our names on a piece of paper and then again finishes our time here by marking down the instant of our last breath. The pen does all this, and everything in between.

Pens know no boundaries. They speak every language, know every history, the truths and the fallacies. They come in any color, can be used by any color, by any age, boy or girl, it doesn’t matter. The pen sees no lines except for the ones that it draws itself.

I say all of this to say, a pen is a small thing. You never think about it, you just use it. But the pen that is lodged under the seat in your car, or is in the black hole bottom of your purse, or maybe that is neatly tucked into your right shirt pocket ready for use, is the same pen that will change your life. Every action you do, every new thing that happens, can go back to something that was written down with a pen.

Can a pen change your life?

Yes, yes I do believe it can.