Monday, August 8, 2011

Mechanical Pencils- A Love/Hate Relationship

So the other day I was using my mechanical pencil, and it ran out of lead. Naturally, I decided to blog about it.

The thing about mechanical pencils... is that I love them. A lot. Mechanical pencils are always perfectly pointed, so you never get that progression of handwriting that just goes from bad to apocalyptic in a matter of minutes. It's perfectly consistent and reliable. I tend to get a confidence boost about my handwriting whenever I use a mechanical pencil. I'm pretty sure it's the same crappy scribble, but deep in my heart I feel improvement. I can't even begin to tell you what believing you have better handwriting can do to your day. It's like, you're just going along, doing normal tasks and feeling dull, when suddenly you get a mechanical pencil. And all of your writing magically seems beautiful as it sprouts on to the page. And  you can do anything. You can climb a tree again. You can swim a channel. I don't care which channel, just a channel. You can brainstorm ideas about what you can now do all day just because your handwriting will make the ideas possible.

It's really an incredible experience, to use a mechanical pencil. However, just like all good things in life... there are complications. The main one being, that mechanical pencils hate me. I don't know what it is, but they don't like to see me happy. That's a fact.

I'd say I get about a day to enjoy a mechanical pencil before something happens to tear my pencil and I apart and remind me that I actually secretly hate mechanical pencils. I shall list the three most common ways mechanical pencils display their hatred.

1. My pencil runs out of lead. Usually when I come across mechanical pencils they are already used, so it only makes sense that sooner or later they will run out of lead. I understand this, and I also understand that I am fully capable of finding replacement lead. That said, I am a lazy person. I don't carry lead around in my pockets, so finding one of those little, pin-sized glass cases full of lead, which is probably buried deep in the confines of my artsy stuff cabinet, would be a pain, and much more work then just finding another pencil. But it isn't my laziness that makes my eye twitch as I look upon the useless pencil in my hand. No, it is the fact that it torments me. The pencil is not satisfied with simply running out of juice right when I need it. It has to make the last bit of lead impossible to use. That little millimeter of lead that just keeps sliding back into the pencil when I press it onto the paper mocks me. It rubs salt into the already blistering wounds of my heart.

2. The erasure runs out. There is nothing more depressing then trying to erase something and failing. Because then you have to look at that un-erasable thing for the rest of your life. Or until you disintegrate it with a flame-thrower. Unfortunately, flame-throwers are harder to come by these days than you'd think.

3. Mechanical pencils are secretly the reincarnations of Houdini. I don't know why, but my mechanical pencils are always running away. Oh wait, I do know why. They hate me. It's not even like the pencils wait until my back is turned to make a mad dash for the exit. They pouf out of existence the second they leave my hand, even if I had been staring at it moments before and made a conscious decision to put the pencil in an easily rememberable location. You can't escape like that without a thoroughly developed plan sketched out along the walls of a jail cell.

So yeah. Despite the fact that I love mechanical pencils, they never seem to return the feeling. So I hate them back. It's difficult to understand, really. All I know is that mechanical pencils are an important part of my life, so I guess I'll have to learn to live with my conflicting emotions.

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