"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black, cat-shaped holes in the universe."
-- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Friday, January 25, 2013

The End Of The World As We Know It

            Yesterday, I was reading Help! For Writers by Roy Peter Clark.  On page 180, the author describes his preferred tools for writing by hand: “my favorite Poynter Institute pen and spiral notebook”.  I found that very cute and also unforgivably wrong.  Obviously, the most superior writing tools in the world today are the Pentel RSVP pens (fine point or medium) and the Greenroom brand notebooks.  (My preference is the large composition book, but all sizes and varieties of their comp books and spirals are superb.)  I scoffed at Clark’s amateur taste in office supplies, but decided to continue reading his book anyway. 
            I couldn’t focus though.  As I daydreamed about the clean, defined point of the RSVP and how it comes in so many colors and rarely ever forms one of those nasty little bubbles on the tip, even when near the end of its ink, and as I ran my hand over the smooth, eggshell, faintly-lined surface of the Greenroom, which somehow—how is it possible?!—allows the RSVP’s ink to flow even more velvety across its easily-turned pages, I thought about my dad and how much he loves Ticonderoga pencils and Big Chief Tablets and how he laments their scarcity. 
            And that thought led me to contemplate the unthinkable possibility of Pentel and Greenroom ceasing the manufacture of my beloved instruments. 
            And that led me to the journal entry I wrote this morning:

A beautiful array of Greenroom products, in all their glory.
Though their original covers are always eye-appealing,
I sometimes make some minor adjustments of my own.

* What would happen if, all of a sudden, Pentel stopped making RSVP pens and Greenroom stopped making composition books?  

When a pen I really love runs out,
I make sure the last word it ever
writes is something pleasant.
Well, I’d go crazy.  We can skip right to that inevitable conclusion without pause.  I’m neurotic in my cute little way, slightly OCD.  I like things the way I like things.  I have spent all my life searching for the BEST pen and PERFECT paper.  I’ve tried the GTC and the Riverside Paper Company.  Putting a cute kitten or a unicorn on the cover of a Mead spiral doesn’t make the pages inside any less dry and inconsistently lined.  I’ve used Bics, Papermates, and Z-Grips.  I even tried gel pens for a while.  (Don’t judge—you’ll stoop to any low if you’re desperate enough.)  But rarely did I write a pen to its demise, always giving up on it, leaving off with ink half full, disappointment the last sentiment penned across the page. 
Now… now that I have finally found the promised land of creative construction… (It’s Target, by the way.)  …Now that I’ve finally found tools that never let me down, tools that I cheerfully purchase over and over and over again, I think it’s obvious that having that joy taken from me would drive me crazy.
The insanity would start slowly at first.  It would begin with denial—What?  No… They’re just out right now.  I’m sure they’ll be back in stock in July for back to school season… Right?  Then, after some ugly bouts with anger, bargaining, and depression, I would eventually accept the situation.  The grieving process would be complete, and I could move on to dealing with the problem (a.k.a going crazy).
Luckily, I have a back store of supplies.  Not enough, but some.  I’d have to ration.  No more tearing out a page just because it was too messy.  No more using a Pentel to write the grocery list.  That useless crud can be done in blood for all I care, it’s not getting the precious ink of my RSVP!  I’d install a lock on my office door.  Naturally.  Instead of carrying them unprotected in my purse, I’d strap my pens into a holster on my thigh—three on my body at all times:  black (of course), red (for when things get serious), and purple (for those whimsical moments). 
It wouldn’t be long until all that was left was purple.
Inferior products,
all of them.
As my stash dwindled, and I realized painfully that I was down to two pens—pink and green—and one poor comp book with a bent cover, I’d start getting desperate and bold.  By this time I wouldn’t be sleeping anymore, staying up all night reciting poems in my head, memorizing story ideas so as not to have to deplete my stores.  I’d start dropping by friends’ houses, asking to use the restroom, sneaking into the office instead, searching through drawers and piles and little ceramic holders that say “Keep Your Paws Off MY Pencils!” looking for the precious ink or pages.  I’d even steal a notebook that was filled up already.  Maybe I could write between the lines…
I’d be thrown out of schools, kicked out of Office Depot supply rooms, escorted away from the classroom donation box at Starbucks.  By this point, I would no longer be eating or drinking or showering, consumed entirely by my search, my need. 
When I was down to my last RSVP—the pink one—I’d open it up, inject the rosy liquid straight into my veins, hoping it would reproduce in my body, turn my blood into ink.  On the last space of my last Greenroom composition book, I would write—in my own ink-blood—tiny tiny letters explaining what I had done, and why.
Then the infection would set in.
Twenty-four hours later a librarian walking to her car would cringe in horror as I—ravenous, feverish, my eyes streaked with hot pink lines—would sink my teeth into her arm, mistaking her starfish tattoo for a blot of spilled ink from the Pentel RSVP I saw peeking out of the pocket of her laptop bag.
The cops would be called, but it would be too late.  She would be infected.
Within a month, mindless blood-ink crazed monsters would be loosed upon the world and the few who survived would be forced to document the fall of civilization with a cheap Papermate clicky-top on a Five Star spiral notebook that would never hold up through the end of days.
And they too, though uninfected, would go mad.

So there you have it.  The loss of my beloved writing tools would lead straight to the zombie apocalypse.  So… Pentel and Greenroom, do not stop making my favorite pens and composition books because you really don’t want the end of the world as we know it to be on your shoulders.

Scary, right?
And this is just a zombie finger-puppet sitting on my windowsill.
The real thing would be much more terrifying.

Consider yourselves warned.

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