The Pelikan Brief (Update)

For those who’ve never had a blog, I see SJ via a “dashboard,” which offers me all the options and information necessary to actually drive this beast.  While you see it from the public face, I’m constantly seated in the back room, and rarely see how things look up front.  This means I sometimes miss something obvious to you, but then, I also get to see a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t.

That’s right. It’s cool to have your hands on the wheel of this truck.

One of the things I see is incoming hits and links, other websites, blogs, newspapers, chatrooms, that have linked to something here.  It’s always interesting to see who is linking so I often take a peek.  Sometimes, it’s painful, as the link will come from a website promoting an idea I find repugnant.  Other times, it’s just kinda curious, as happened the other day when I spotted some incoming reads from a fountain pen forum.

It turned out that one of the forum members started a thread about why she decided not to buy a Montblanc pen. [Aside: apparently, it’s Montblanc, one word, rather than two as I had previously written it.]

It was this: A Lawyer and His Pen and then this: Gandhi Pen I understood from the Gandhi pen that the modern Mont Blanc doesn’t understand pens.

What was rather surprising is that my post about the Montblanc pen is almost six years old now. I had forgotten all about the post. And then, boom, it’s back. One of the things I most appreciate about the blawg is that it leaves something of a legacy of thought. Sure, not all of it is worth the pixels, but some have enough legs to still serve a purpose years later.

But then, there is a secondary aspect to finding some link to a long lost post on a website with which you have no connection: you get to “listen in” on other people’s perceptions of what you said years ago. It’s like watching your own funeral, in a weird way.

For example, one fountain pen commenter wrote:

The lawyer sounds like a real nut job.  Didn’t bother reading the second one.

That seems needlessly rude.  Are fountain pen collectors so judgmental?  Another wrote:

I tend to not really trust online rantings of angry folks when it comes to customer service complaints. So many people that are that heated are doctoring the story because of their rage, and it just has turned out to, more often than not, be unreliable in that case.

Rantings of angry folks?  I thought that was a fairly humorous anecdote.  Not that I don’t have my rants here, but that wasn’t among them. I wonder how this commenter would take my thoughts on cops killing people by accident?  I wonder where, in the scheme of important things, fountain pens fell relative to people being killed?

Of course, there is much to commend the idea that one should take posts that complain about customer service with a grain of salt, though to accuse people of “doctoring the story because of their rage” (rage?) is pretty myopic.  Is this person fair and reasonable, and everybody else enraged liars?  Whatever.

But the piece that caught my eye was that this was a forum for fountain pen aficionados. When my posts are linked by certain extreme groups, say  neo-nazi’s for instance, I anticipate that they will find me far too cowardly for their tastes.  The sovereign citizens think I’m a tool of the government. Cops think I’m a cop hater. That all goes with the territory, and none of it bothers me in the least.

But fountain pen aficionados?  Do I really have to endure being called “a real nutjob” by some anon guy who adores Montblanc fountain pens?  Or must I suffer the doubt of “doctoring the story because of [my] rage”?  Seriously?  Tell a story about a pen and its supporters get quite vicious.

Had they been knitters, I would have understood. Knitters are a tough crowd, and those needles aren’t sharp by accident.  But there’s only so much damage a nib can do.

Ironically (yes, this post is replete with ironies, which will no doubt elude those who are very serious), my son became a fountain pen lover last year, and among the things he wanted for Christmas was a fountain pen.  Not the crappy kind he already had, but a decent one.  I asked a friend who was also a longtime fountain pen collector, and he urged me to get my son a “starter” good fountain pen.  I didn’t know there were such things, but then, what do I know?

I bought him a Waterman, which I thought was pretty sweet.  Jack was very happy with it, and other than my mistake in getting him blue, rather than black, ink (which he immediately corrected), thought I did a pretty good job.  If he sticks with it, I plan to get him Pelikan next time, which is a step up in the grand scheme of fountain pens, from what I’m told.  After that, he’s on his own.

As for me, I can’t use a fountain pen, as I’m left-handed and us lefties smear the ink. It’s a mess.  Then again, even if I could use a fountain pen, I’m not sure I would.  After all, those people at the fountain pen network were really kinda gratuitously mean. It’s not like I did anything to them, so they just don’t strike me as the kind of people I want to hang around with.  They clearly have no sense of humor, not even among themselves, and were way too pompous for my taste.

Vintage watch people, on the other hand, and classic car people are far more fun, and far less nasty.  I’m sticking with them, and leaving the Montblanc fountain pen people to themselves.  After reading through their forum, I’m constrained to note that they come off as a bunch of insufferably pompous jerks. If I was interested in fountain pens, they would drive me to grab the nearest BIC and run like hell.

All these years, I avoided links of my posts to websites and forums promoting violence and hatred, only to get sucked in by fountain pen people who, apparently, are just as vicious and half as interesting. Who knew?

Update:  Sadly, it appears the poison pen folks have deleted this thread from their forum. Not sure if that’s because of me or that they just couldn’t bear any negativity toward their pens. If the former, I’m sorry pen people. It was all in good fun.

25 thoughts on “The Pelikan Brief (Update)

    1. SHG Post author

      Thank you. As I’ve noted before, I never realized how many batshit crazy people there are until the internet came along, but even then, who would have thunk that fountain pen people where worse than the neo-nazis?

  1. Dave

    Now, now, just because one group of online fountain pen affictianados are nuts does not mean ALL of them are, any more than all criminal law blawgers are….

    Of course I suppose it doesn’t mean they aren’t either.

    And I always knew you were a secret leftie.

  2. Rick Horowitz

    In your rage, you’ve apparently been blinded to the possibility that some of us lefties actually learned not only to use a fountain pen, but to love them.

    And what kind of nutjob so denigrates Waterman? Except for the fact that they seem to break too often, they make a fine pen. I prefer them over Montblanc because…well, Montblanc, and Montblanc users, don’t seem to know anything about fountain pens.

      1. ExCop-LawStudent

        Try the Pelikano Junior. Yeah, I know it is for kids, but they make a left-handed version and it’s built to handle the abuse that kids give it. Pelikano also make left-handed versions in their regular pens, but I haven’t tried them.

  3. Ahcuah

    Of course you give blue ink. How else would a clerk know which is the original and which is a photocopy? (Yes, your son may not be a lawyer, but old habits die hard.)

  4. Wheeze the People™

    À gauche?? Now it all fits together. The puzzle of SHG is officially solved. Better luck next time. Signed, À droite . . .

      1. Wheeze the People™

        At various times in history, left-handedness has been seen as many things: a nasty habit, a mark of the devil, a sign of neurosis, rebellion, criminality, and homosexuality. It has also been seen as a trait indicating creativity and musical abilities. AND Some scholars note that left-handers may be one of the last unorganized minorities in society because they have no collective power and no real sense of common identity. Additionally, left-handers are often discriminated against by social, educational, and religious institutions. Social customs and even language set the left-hander apart as “different” and even “bad.” [Coren, Stanley. 1992. The Left-Hander Syndrome: The Causes and Consequences of Left-Handedness. Detroit, MI: Free Press.]

        So what’s not to hate?? It’s in our nature . . .

  5. David M.

    Protip: a great way to screw with people who like pens is to get them one engraved with their name, but in Comic Sans. My ex got me a Comic Sans Waldmann and it’s the bomb. Use it whenever I have to write something old-people style.

  6. Not Jim Ardis

    I’ve come to like disposable fountain pens because a) I’m too poor to buy a quality one and b) it forces me to not press too hard when I write. They are the only thing that keeps my hand/wrist from hurting when taking notes and the like.

  7. morgan sheridan

    I’m also a leftie and love writing with fountain pens. Somewhere circa 1972, I discovered England’s Osmiroid fountain pens with angled italic nibs for lefties. They’re considered a student pen, but who gives a damn?

  8. Catherine Mulcahey

    I tried the link for The Fountain Pen Forum. I got “You do not have permission to view this,” which hurt my feelings. Can we get a law against them?

  9. htom

    As an intermittent and erratic member of the FPN, all I can say is that sometimes there are problems linking into the posts (even within the board itself.) We’re usually happy laughing people, but there are subjects where tempers rise and flamewars begin (and are stepped on by moderators.) One of those topics is the use of expensive pens by people who don’t know how to care for them, abuse their nibs with too much pressure, letting the ink dry in them, … this can become one of those topics. I offer you my apology for the poor behavior some of our members have demonstrated.

    I invite you, if you want to learn about fountain pens, their inks, nibs, cleanings, and modifications, art with ink, handwriting, and handwriting alphabets, … please join and wander about there. I find I spend too much time reading reviews and tests of inks.

    I frequently now use Uni-Ball Vision Elite instead of a fountain pen. Easier to share, dries faster, has a horrid constant width line, and much cheaper to lose. The touch of nib on paper is very close to that of a good fountain pen.

    1. SHG Post author

      That’s very kind of you to offer. I have many hobbies, but fountain pens isn’t among them. I’m good with your forum members enjoying being amongst their own, and am sure that it’s otherwise a fine group.

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