I bought a pen 24 years ago…

The other day I had a sad thing happen. My old friend got injured. He either had someone man-handle him, or he fell from a great height. I picked him up the other day and I noticed something was off…

Back in 1989, I left the confines of my parental homestead, and moved over to the big city to get an education. If there is one thing that post secondary education teaches you, it is to think outside the box. One day, as I sat through yet another boring English lecture, I looked across the 200 or so students, and noticed each and every one of them ( including me ) was using a disposable pen. Hundreds of crappy pens, trying to keep up with another lecture about symbolism and Margaret Atwood.

For one reason or another, I started thinking about all the money I was about to start spending on pens. It was probably an early flag that my mind wasn’t quite into the Arts program, and I should start all over again and go into the Sciences. haha.  I figured out that one of these disposables lasted me about a week or two before I tossed it out. In my wisdom, I figured I was going to be spending hundreds of dollars on pens over the next 4 or 5 years…Books were expensive enough (yes, a complete understatement), so spending that much to simple take notes about the books seemed like something all together evil!

In the days before the Internet, one did not simply look online to find solutions. You pulled out the 6 inch thick phone book and went straight to the back of the book and looked up what you were searching for. In my case, I went to P, and found Pens! Ah, the good old days. I saw one pen shop in Vancouver that sold all sorts of pens! At least that’s what I gathered from the 2″x2″ ad they paid thousands for. I picked up my phone receiver, and proceeded to rotary dial the store. Yup, I did say this took place 24 years ago. 😉

The fellow on the phone told me there were having a pen sale on right now, and I should come on down and he could help me come up with a nice solution to my disposable pen problem.

I went down the following weekend and on that day I realized that I grew up in a disposable generation. I was introduced to the “fountain pen“. It seemed like the perfect solution to me throwing away hundreds of pens! What a great new invention!! Ya, I had never seen one in my first 18 years of life.

I found the following fountain pen on for $40 (half price! Woo Hoo!), and the store threw in a free bottle of black ink…


I felt like the smartest guy ever! I calculated that by the end of my first year, I would break even. After that it was all profit baby!

The pen is an Elysee. A German company that sadly has since gone under, but I loved it as it was thinner almost like a regular disposal. I got a fine nib so it didn’t feel like I needed to learn calligraphy before scratching rabid notes during one of my fast paced lectures about famous authors. Yawn…

This pen has followed me around for a very long time…Through my multiple failed attempts at completing a degree, to my first serious job that required me to sign my name, to the birth of all my kids, 2nd marriage, all the way to 2013. I suppose like many German-made cars, this pen was made to last, and through time, it has proved itself without ever failing me.

That is until I picked it up last week and noticed a small crack on the pen. I don’t know how it happened. It is easy to point fingers. It could have been my curious 3 year old, an old scorned lover, an angry declined loan applicant, or simply…Time.

Much like an old classic car, it is off to find replacement parts for him. I can’t give up on him now! He’s saved me a fortune, and now it is time to repay the favour…





6 Replies to “I bought a pen 24 years ago…”

  1. Awesome blog! I love pens but you had a love affair of 20 something years! Did you by chance get the pen at the Vancouver Pen Shop? It’s still open across from SFU Harbour Centre where I have my writing classes.

  2. Any time I have some significant win in my life, I reward myself with a visit to the Vancouver Pen Shop! Fountain pens are definitely the best!

  3. I need to get myself a pen! I’ll have to reward myself for all the writing I’ve been doing and pop by there next time I’m around. Need anything to fix your pen? I can ask them for it!

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