BY: JAMES F. O’NEIL
fet·ish: “an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency; OR, any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion: to make a fetish of . . . .” –Dictionary.com
“FETISH-RELATED WORDS”:monomania; complex, hang-up; appetite, craving, desire, fascination, hunger, infatuation, longing, lust, passion, pining, thirst, urge, yearning; idiosyncrasy, quirk; bent, disposition, inclination, leaning, partiality, penchant, predilection, predisposition, proclivity, propensity, tendency…
“When does collecting turn into an addiction–or become a fetish?” Good question.
I used to hear, when I signed my name, or put comments on a student’s paper, “You write like a girl!” That I had been hearing for many years since learning the ups and downs of The Palmer Method of handwriting, the scrolls and the loops and the curls.
Now, in the era of being nice, and equality, and political correctness, I hear something more like “Nice handwriting.” “Yes, that is my best cursive, taught to me many years ago.” And I continue to write notes and memories in longhand–and, sign checks. (See my blog posting from September 2013: https://memoriesofatime.com/2013/09/19/rulers-for-writing/.) I even try to write a note on each Christmas card I send. Something special, in cursive.
With a good gel pen or a fiber point, I can make my way across a piece of paper, stay on the ruled-line paper, and write in my college-ruled journal books IF I have the “right” kind of pen.
I have a fetish for pens. I have two coffee cups on my desk, one full-tight crammed with ballpoint pens and gel-ink pens; one reserved only for my collection of Cross pens.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways.” (Paul 1 Corinthians 13:11).
As a child and youngster, I had some good fountain pens; then cartridge types (which were not effective–always had to have cartridges in some drawer for refills). Then came ballpoint pens, with a thick and gooey ink that made blops and smears on the paper. Unsightly, and messy. (Blue exam books had near-tissue-thin paper. Ballpoint and fountain pens certainly kept me from getting all A’s in college. But pencil was not allowed. No right answer there.)
In 1976–I can remember it–I bought my first Cross pen and pencil set: chrome. (I still have both in the cup.) The purchase was a status symbol for this guy with a pen fetish (“an object regarded with awe”).
The pencil worked smoothly; the pen slid out of my fingers, slid down my writing fingers when I tried to write quickly, despite the knurling on the barrel near the point [“Knurling: The operation performed for producing indentations on the part of the workpiece. Knurling allows hands or fingers to get a better grip on the knurled object than would be provided by the originally smooth metal surface. Occasionally, the knurled pattern is a series of straight ridges rather than the more-usual crisscross pattern.” –See wikipedia.org.] The tighter I held the pen, the less control over it I had.
So that was that. Until the next Cross pen (“infatuation”): one in red, or grey, or blue–or classy black [“The Cross Classic Century is the signature Cross pen. It has become an icon with its mid-century modern design (since 1946) that has been alluring writers for decades. The slim design and smooth writing ink make this one of the most highly regarded ballpoint pens of its time.”]
Then, added to my collection, two gold, one chrome with gold accents (“idiosyncrasy”).
I had to stop. They are usable, but too thin and smooth for my arthritic fingers.
No refilling, no “perfect” gold nib needed, and no blips-blops. And the best ones have a rubber cushion for my writing fingers. All in many colors, to make strokes in bold, micro-thin, fine–or just plain “regular.” (I have learned, however, that the ink runs out faster than in a ballpoint.)
Nevertheless, despite my need for writing speed and my like for gel ink, I recently obtained a new Cross pen: a “fat boy,” in blue enamel, with chrome accents. [“The Cross Calais Ball Pen reflects Deco’s embrace of geometry, handicraft, and streamlined form. This magnificent pen is available in two lacquered finishes along with two-tone chrome and single tone chrome finishes.” Magnificent! I had to have one! Definitely “appetite, craving, desire.”]
I can really hold it tight as it rests on my “tall-man” writing bump on my right hand. It is stylish, though the technology or twisting to open-close the ink cartridge refill is still the same as in my first Cross pen.
And that is that. For now.
“You thrive on novelty,” an older gentleman cautioned me. Is that so bad?
So, about my blue-suede “box toes”…
© James F. O’Neil 2014
**To fulfill a desire you might have for further reading, see http://www.penhero.com/Your on-line writing instrument magazine, featuring detailed reviews, history, news, shows, and product announcements, and more links to writing-instrument-focused sites than any other source…