The Papermate Compulsion

I could have sworn I posted this before (at some point, years ago). Alas, wasn’t able to track anything down so… here goes again.

I latched onto a favorite pencil late in high school, and later in college: the Paper Mate Sharpwriter. I loved the way it felt on paper, more than any other mechanical pencil I’ve used.

On top of that, I got into the habit of trying to twirl pencils while I was thinking or listening to someone lecture. And I liked how smooth the pencil felt.

One catch though: the pencils came with this horrible protrusion that lets you affix them to shirt pockets I guess? I ended up doing this rather insane/obsessive thing: I’d break the thing off. Then I’d take a pair of pliers and rip off as much as I could. Then I’d take a nail file, and file the area smooth.

This does not feel like a normal thing for a high school kid to do.

But this became a kind of ritual. And made a great pencil even better to me, as it no longer felt like a bumpy thing that got in the way of my twirling.

I’m getting a small notebook to carry with me, for our upcoming trip. And as part of that, I wanted a few pencils. A few, obsessively modified and smoothed pencils.

Side note: I’m super sad I haven’t been able to locate the custom laser-etched Moleskin notebook I got in Amsterdam, about six years ago.

So… Does This Make Me a Freak?
Amsterdam, Day 3 (2015)

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Did you know you can refill those?

    Alex Reply

  2. I’ve seen the inside thing before, but didn’t realize you could replace them with lead. I thought the lead was kind of fused to the plastic bit (not sure why). Will be curious if the 0.7mm feels the same as what’s in the pencil.

    It’s odd to talk about pencils, given how much of my recording process is now done with either phone or keyboard.

    avoision Reply

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