Sede Vacante

The light is on but no one is home.

The sharpest weapon in my arsenal

Staedtler 780C

Well, technically, the second-sharpest.

So what is it? As a class of writing instrument, it goes by a number of names: clutch pencil, drop pencil, or leadholder. I just love them. I think it’s the best kind of graphite pencil there is. Woodclinched pencils are almost perfect, mind you. But you can’t just chuck them in your pocket or your bag. The tip will break, leave messy skidmarks all over, and lead you to the next problem–the need for a sharpener.

This baby holds a beefy 2mm graphite lead. None of that half millimeter sissy pansy bullshit for me. It has a free ratcheting mechanism that allows you to let the lead out for whatever length you want. The leads come in all 12 grades. More importantly, you can slip the lead completely inside the body, protecting the sharp end, and the metal push-button has an integrated lead-pointer (a sharpener to you troglodytes).

If you’ve ever met me, you’ve probably seen one of these. Truth be told, I’ve only fallen in love with them again recently. I practically forgot about them for about 10 years, and then out of the blue I found myself wanting one again. My fascination for these things began simply enough. My father loved them as well. I don’t really know why. He’s an accountant. As far as I knew, accountants never wrote in pencil. But then again, my father isn’t your run-of-the-mill accountant. I’ll leave that right where it is.

As I’ve said previously, I just love pencils. Not because I’m indecisive and like to erase shit. I don’t even keep an eraser on me. I just like the feel of graphite on paper. I can’t draw worth jack, so I use these things to take notes and write nonsense when bratty kids are getting on my nerves. Pencil lead just has the right balance of smoothness and traction on a paper surface. Pens tend to go into ridiculous extremes. Ridiculously slippery like throwing a hotdog across a waxed parquet floor, or annoyingly rough like scrubbing your nuts with a brand-new loofah.

As the Buddha says, the truth is somewhere in between.

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