Speaking of pencils

I’m a firm believer in #3 pencils because they make crisper lines on the page than the teachers’ favorite #2 pencil and don’t smudge as badly if you accidentally rub your hand across the paper or while pryring homework out of a dog’s mouth.

These days, most people don’t know what a pencil is, much less what the numbers on pencils mean. Miniature golf courses still hand out pencil so you can keep an accurate score card. Everyone but braggarts does crossword puzzles with a pencil. Bankers told us never to write checks with a pencil because evil-doers could change a $10 check into a $100 check. But that’s about it.

My daughter and granddaugters have been doing a lot of sketching lately, so when I saw them last Thanksgiving, they had boxes of multicolored pencils. These pencils come in colors I’ve never heard of and cannot be used to take standardized tests or write checks or sign wills.

Personally, I’ve always thought large pencils were better than small pencils and–unlike carpenters’ pencils–they had to be round. (See photo) During the days when I was forced to wear church clothes to work, one needed a large pencil to scare away the riffraff.

When I was younger, I bought pencils in tourist attraction giftshops. When I was in the Navy and told to carry a pen or pencil at old times on the off chance the top brass said anything important, I ended up with a surplus of U.S. Governent pens and pencils at home. This wasn’t intentional. You left the base, drove home, and took the pencils and pens out of your pocket. The next day, you forgot about them and so you needed a fresh pen and pencil once you got to the office.

Navy chiefs loved catching people without sharp #2 pencils. Especially in boot cap, the chiefs wanted you to constantly be taking “a good set of notes.” So, we all wrote stuff down because we’d get demerits or would be put on report if we were caught not writing stuff down.

Many wartime casualties occured because sailors were writing down “abandon ship” rather than getting the hell off the ship.

Out of curiosity, does anyone reading this post even own a pencil?


Since my father was a journalist, I learned to type before I learned what a pencil was for. This means I don’t write my books one a yellow legal tabled with a pencil. 


2 thoughts on “Speaking of pencils

  1. I do! I love pencils! And I’m not even an artist. But sometimes a well-sharpened pencil simply feels right, even compared with my favourite pen. Especially for a crossword puzzle!

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