Op-ed piece from The Pioneer, 14 July 1995

The pen is mightier than the sword, but only if you can find it
By Joel Edelman
Joel Edelman is a mass communication major at CSUH

The pen is mightier than the sword, but only if you can find it.

Most people aren’t exactly sure what it is that they want, but they are positive that whatever it is, they don’t have it. I know what I want out of life- the perfect pen. There are many different types of pens, and there are also many problems with pens. Perhaps this says more about me then anything else, but one of my main goals in life is to use an entire pen without something happening to it first.

Pens disappear. I know this for sure because I have been on both sides of the deal. In fact, the pen I am using right now is not mine, but my roommate’s. One day I was late for class (correction: I am always late for class, so on one of the days…) and as I scrambled through the jungle of my dorm room for a writing utensil I noticed a single pen lying harmlessly on my roommate’s desk. He was gone, and the pen had “steal me” written all over it.

Pressed for time, I grabbed it and went to class. This is one of the best pens I have ever used. I hope this one doesn’t disappear or break like all the others, but I have faith that it will. One day I came home from work and there was a pen lying on my bed. A classic Bic Stic¨. I don’t know how it got there; it definitely wasn’t there while I was sleeping the night before. I firmly believe that a pen fairy, although she is less publicized than the tooth fairy, exists. This pen fairy snatches pens up like a tornado from the earth’s surface and returns them to a new location, up to thousands of miles away. A classic episode of Ren & Stimpy takes the viewer to a hill of missing socks. I believe there is a huge pile of pens somewhere, maybe in the middle of Nebraska. Maybe Beavis and Butthead will find it. That would be cool.

From ball-point to felt pens to those “uniball” pens, there are many different species to the ink genus. I am all for stamping out racism, but when it comes to pen selection, I admit that I am “pen-ist.” Ball-point pens are nice, but the “uniball” pens are the best. Ideas flow like, well, ink to paper.

The main problem with these trackball pens is that the ink takes forever to dry. I am left-handed, and writing quickly involves putting a fresh coat of smudged ink on my left pinkie and ring fingers. While I wouldn’t give up being left-handed for anything, it can create problems in the writing department.

When I was 14, I visited the CSUH campus (no, there was no parking then, either). I went to the bookstore, and for 79¢ I bought a green CSUH pen. The pen was my pride and joy. For over a year I carried my prized possession around my high school, and set several personal records for pen possession in the process. I even amazed myself. I started to think that using all the ink in the pen would be the ultimate achievement. Three hundred ninety-six days after I bought the pen (the record still stands today), disaster struck in English class. During an in-class-essay, I decided that, after making a valid point, an exclamation point was necessary. I inferred that the dot under the vertical line which makes exclamation points so vital to our everyday lifestyle needed extra emphasis. I figured a dent in the page would have to be created to emphasize my point, so, lifting my pen to the sky, I slammed my green CSUH pen to the desk with all my might. The room was alive first with the sound: pop-goosh!, an expletive and then major laughter from all in the room except me. There sure was a lot of ink left in that pen, and now it was all over my hands and my brand new 49er T-Shirt (d’oh!!). True story. My English teacher gave me an “ink-complete.”

(Writers’s note: I am unable to finish this commentary due to the fact that I have lost all of my pens. I regret this inconvenience. My email address is, jughead@inferno.com for anyone who has any comments, ideas or questions.)

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