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Archive for August 21st, 2012

I Shall Use Only Waterloo Station(ery), Too

Posted by Dirck on 21 August, 2012

I have now and again mentioned the foolishness of generalizing from a very small number of data points, and also the foolishness of making resolutions.  Well, here I go, indulging in foolishness:

I shall not buy second-hand pens from France any more.

There was the memorable though remediable disappointment of my Parker 75.  Yesterday there was more of a fright than a disappointment.  A modern Waterman, yet another member of the vast tribe of tube-shaped pens of the 1980s, which I’d ordered late last month, appeared in the mail slot.  The fact that it could pass through the mail slot was the initial indication of trouble.  A properly packed pen, which lounges at the core of a series of soft and hard protectives, can’t get through a standard letter slot.

Then there was the nature of the wrapping.  This pen was, indeed, in many layers, but the outermost had been added in transit.  It was a large transparent plastic envelope, on one side of which was printed an apology from Canada Post, which in short said, “This thing fell apart in our hands.  Here’s all the bits we could find.”  Easily visible through the plastic were vast rents in very thin paper envelope which had been the outward layer when the pen embarked on its way.  That’s a combination of elements to drop one heart into the boots.

Within this mismatched pair of envelopes was a small and distressingly flattened cardboard box.  I will admit to taking a few moments to gather myself before cutting through the tape that kept the cardboard together.  In a horror film, this is the bit where the Final Girl is slowly opening the closet from which mysterious rustling noises have been heard….


We may all breathe a sigh of relief.  The pen is, to all appearances, in as good shape as when it departed from France.  However, there’s the evidence of disaster only just averted, and indeed averted by no agency one can comprehend, as the holes in the very thin envelope were certainly large enough for the contents to have dropped through.  This and the 75 move me to put France under an interdict.  I’m unwilling to subject my spirit to that kind of turmoil.  So far, this same effect has not attended my new purchases from that nation– no ugly surprises from the Pen Seller from France, no more than a single moldy bottle of Herbin ink– so it’s not a complete embargo, something I hope never comes about.  I don’t have the resources to throw a blockade around Toulon and Marseilles….

Today’s non-Gallic pen: Parker Vacumatic
Today’s non-ocean-crossing ink: Noodler’s Walnut

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