Bedtime Stories by Brady – Pencils & Pens

bedtime_bookOnce upon a time there was a pencil. Not an especially special pencil. Just an ordinary pencil.

His name was HB, but everyone called him #2 – because he was never anyone’s first choice. HB was tall, and had a sharp point, but in his 5th Grade classroom he was never chosen.

The artists in the class that used a lot of shading techniques or wanted to make a bold statement would gravitate to the 2B and 4B pencils. Kody, who always wanted to make an exclamatory statement would demand to use the 6B pencil.

The other students who preferred fine and delicate work would use an H or 2H pencil. Alexandra, who desired to be an engineer, would use a 4H pencil; Alexandra always had the most detailed and exquisite drawings.

HB would always patiently sit, with a pristine sharpened point, in the pencil slot within the desk – waiting for his chance to shine. Then one average gloomy day, a student broke the soft lead on his 4B pencil; and obligatorily grabbed HB.

It just so happened, that this average gloomy day was a test day. And the student, Dougie Scantron, began using HB to fill in his multiple-choice test. As Dougie Scantron began pencilling-in the multiple-choice bubbles, and then constantly erasing mistakes, he realized that HB erased his mistakes better than the harder leads, and smeared less than the softer leads.

Soon, Dougie Scantron convinced all the students in the class to solely use HB on their tests, as well. Suddenly, HB was in-demand! No longer playing second fiddle to the other pencils, HB even ditched his #2 moniker – now, HB was #1.

HB was elated, he was always just average, but now he was lauded for his mediocre talents. He was even painted a vivacious yellow, so he would be easily recognizable, and therefore, utilized for every subsequent test.

When summer break came, HB was so happy, and couldn’t wait for the next school year. He patiently waited in the desk’s pencil slot, and even preemptively chose a desk in the 6th grade classroom to reunite Dougie Scantron and the other students.

However, much to HB’s chagrin, when the school year began – the 6th grade students no longer wanted HB’s services. They were too grown-up for silly HB’s yellow painted shaft. They were 6th graders! They could chew gum now, and most importantly – they could use pens. Yes. Pens! But no, not quite adult-grown-up mistake free pens. But the students could use blue or black “eraser” pens. These pens were awful. They smudged and smeared more than a ballpoint pen you “accidentally” stole from the bank; and they “erased” worse than Kody’s soft-leaded 6B pencils.

So once again, HB would sit in the desk’s pencil slot, with his pristine yellow paint slowly flaking away. Occassionaly HB would be utilized on a few multiple-choice tests with fill-in the bubble answers. But HB would forever be relegated, once again, to be the #2 writing utensil – behind the inferior “erasable pen.”

The End


The moral to this story is:

People want to appear more sophisticated by showing off their more expensive, yet inferior pens. 6th graders do it buy purchasing the juvenile “erasable” pens to appear more adult-like. Businessmen do it by displaying the, never-used, gold-plated pen on their desks. And artists and architects do it by purchasing the Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pen set. I recently heard an artist proclaiming how the crown jewel of Pen & Ink pens is the Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph set.

Sure, they showcase an air of prestige with their fancy plastic case and a bottle of black India Ink; but, unless you constantly use the Koh-I-Noor pens everyday – and constantly maintain them – they are completely inferior to the rOtring Rapidograph pens.

rOtring Rapidograph

rOtring Rapidograph


Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph

Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph

The rOtring Rapidograph pens have a great metal (replaceable) nib, and a little capillary ink cartridge that you screw in, and presto!

But The Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pens come with a service manual comparable to a diesel engine.

Instructions to fill with ink: You are guaranteed to make a mess, so pour carefully, and ensure you have paper towels and cleaning products nearby.
Procedures more complicated than a bee-mating ritual dance, just to get the ink flowing: Hold pen vertically and tap base of pen 3 times on desk or other hard surface. Then turn pen nib facing downwards toward paper, tap on back of pen with your forefinger 5 times. Do not shake pen! If pen still does not produce ink, scribble on paper for 20 seconds. Then repeat tap-tap-do not shake-scribble procedure 17 times.
Instructions to disassemble the pen: The ink will clog, and then permanently glue the pen shut. Sure, the $100 Koh-I-Noor rapidograph kit came with a couple plastic cogs to unscrew the nib, but the colored shaft part will also be permanently stuck to the lid. Therefore, you will need two sets of pliers to torque the shaft off of the lid; causing irreparable harm and permanently eroding the plastic pieces.
Instructions to clean the pen: After every use, flush with mild detergent.
Note: In a completely transparent attempt to sell their proprietary product; the Koh-I-Noor Rapido-Eze cleaning solution is recommended; because, inevitably, you will only use the pen for 15 seconds, and then 2 days later will want to use the pen again, but it will be clogged, guaranteed. Thus, you must soak the pen nib in Koh-I-Noor Rapido-Eze solution overnight, and then purchase their other proprietary Koh-I-Noor Red Pressure Bulby thingy, to blow the solution, and air, through the pen nib.

I have a complete set of the Koh-I-Noor pens and thought they were troublesome but fine, until I discovered the quality and ease of the rOtring Rapidograph pens. Furthermore, I recently discovered my Rapido-Eze cleaning solution jar has had a clogged nib submerged in the cleaning solution for the past 13 years! I used the little Red Bulby pressure thingy, optimistically hoping, but nope. My 3×0 pen remains clogged, over a decade later. I hesitantly re-submerged the nib in the milky solution – perhaps in another 13 years I will contentedly re-discover it again. 

Thus, the last time I ever used the Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pens was in 1984. Yes. Just like the Terminator, I went back in time to destroy the worst pens ever made. However, in my attempts to destroy the Koh-I-Noor pens, I must have accidentally destroyed the pens I was trying to save, because the rOtring Rapidographs are now impossible to find.|1|

Therefore, this is a plea to mass produce rOtring Rapidograph pens. Indeed, this simple bedtime story about a #2 pencil has turned into a nightmare – a nightmare with Koh-I-Noor black India Ink all over my hands.



What is your favorite pen?
– respond in the comments below.


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1 No longer sold at or Dick Blick – thus, I begrudgingly have to resort to Ebay to find my replacement nibs.

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