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Going ahead and looking backward.

Posted by Dirck on 18 February, 2010

A two-part post today, which should lead to a perfect balance, a nullity even, of rage and joy.

This morning on the drive to The Regular Job, I was listening to the news on CBC 1. One of the stories was about a murder trial getting underway in which the accused has essentially confessed and led the police to the locations of all sorts of evidence, which led to this speculative sentence (not verbatim, but close enough for current purposes):

“Observers wonder what the defence’s strategy might now be, going ahead.”

Bless him, the chap speaking the line actually paused at that comma, apparently uncomfortable with it. Let’s try it again, doing away with the last two words, shall we?

“Observers wonder what the defence’s strategy might now be.”

Well, how about that. A perfectly good, meaningful and 98% fat-free sentence. I will admit that I occasionally lard my writing, but I try to do so with an eye to either art or whimsy. This particular two-word tumour is cropping up an awful lot lately, and I’m getting mighty sick of it.

I am also one of those dinosaurs who prefers to use “impact” to mean “delivery of a physical blow”, rather than as a synonym for “affect” in the emotional sense. “Impacting” and “impactful” are anathema, too. It’s a noun, gang. I will allow “impacted” if followed by “wisdom tooth”.

On to the happy. Today, happiness comes in the form of nostalgia generated by today’s pen. It’s an older model of the kind of pen that got me started on the whole mannenhistu-do lifestyle, decades before I invented the word to describe it. Using it today, I realize how I was drawn into the belief that a fountain pen is a vastly superior mode of making marks on paper to most others. It’s a willing pen, and yet is was dirt cheap in its heyday. To an impressionable child, it’s an easy gateway to becoming a signature-flourishing roue.

Because nostalgia always has an undercurrent of bitterness, I am brought to wonder why this sort of pen isn’t still made. Apart from far Eastern makers, who are still making pens that combine function and cheap, it seems that the willingness to entice the kids into becoming a fountain pen user (who ideally has a notion that the brand they started on is the best ever) has vanished.

I’ll blame lumpen bottom-lining on the part of Board of Executive members in charge of the grasping conglomerates that now hold most of the major pen-makers in their tentacles, and to whom what is made doesn’t really matter so long as profits remain large. This crowd also gets paid such vast sums that it probably doesn’t occur to them that a $25 pen is not an impulse buy the way a $1 pen was in 1975.

…and now I’m in danger of turning the balance back to rage. Time to uncap the pen, doodle some childhood figures, and grasp this particular line of joy that runs back from this grey future to the shiny past.

Today’s merry pen: Sheaffer Skripsert
Today’s jolly ink: Lamy blue

One Response to “Going ahead and looking backward.”

  1. wordsworthwhile said

    At the time I got mine, it was pen of glory, of fun, of success, of hard work, of feeling grown-up. We were so proud of taking care of and using our very own pens. Now, it is a pen of nostalgia, and as you aptly put it, a bittersweet enjoyment. That pen did start a life-log fondness for Sheaffer pens. Yours is a pretty one!

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