2009/02/21

The long and the short of my FP addiction

Originally posted at FPN as my self-intro.

The one pen that started it all
Sometime back in elementary school, possibly when I was around 10 to 12, my brother brought home a really cool looking pen (a Platinum Standard) and explained to me how this strange looking thing works. I was immediately taken by it and decided that I must have one. After saving up my allowance for quite some time, I finally got a shiny blue one of my own. The sensation of gliding the nib across papers got me hooked for good. This pen accompanied me all the way to college. The tip has been completely worn out by then so I was forced to replace it with another pen (a Cross Townsend this time). I still have the Platinum with me and it will remain as one of my most cherished collections.

Early stage of addiction
With the help of the Cross Townsend (along with a Rotring 600 that joined later), I made it out of the college 4 years later. To celebrate the event, I used my first paycheck to buy a Pelikan M800, the pen that has been my daily user for the last 10+ years. Soon after the Pelikan, I was bitten by the vintage bug and started to collect pens. Wahl-Eversharp Doric and and Parker Vacumatic are my favorites.

Passing the point of no return
With the arrival of our first baby, my fountain pen collection frenzy came to a screeching stop. While I still use FPs daily, I no longer have the time and energy to think about getting more. In a sense, I was almost cured.

Unfortunately, my father passed away in Dec 2007. After the funeral, I watched a lovely Japanese film "Closed Note" on the flight back home. Curious about the pens featured in the movie (possibly a Nakaya, I have never seen Urushi pens before that), I did some googling and found FPN (which I shouldn't have done, darn it).

Wondering through the FPN re-ignited my passion for FPs. With all the great info (and many evil enablers), my FP/ink collection went through an explosive growth in 2008 (I know for sure that I am not alone on this). It didn't help that my wife has been more than understanding about my addiction. She said things to me like: "Honey, you really need to have that Bexley Americana to celebrate you PhD degree.", "Your birthday is coming up, what kind of pens do you want?", or "Hey there's a pen show coming up, do you want to go?".

Where I stand now
After going through all these, I finally have a better idea about what I like (or at least I think I know). Now I prefer non-expensive full-size modern pens (say under $200-300), ideally light and colorful. That said, a nice Urushi pen from Nakaya/Danitrio remains as my dream pen. Maybe this can be my next milestone pen when I finally land a permanent academic job.

My biggest regret
Just very recently, I remembered that my late grandpa had a FP, possibly a Parker 51. I lived with my grandparents for the first 3 years of my life and was extremely attached to them. Sadly, them both passed away very early (when I was in high school). The pen, along with all other of their stuff, was cleared out of the house long ago and nowhere to be found. I soooooo wanted to have that pen as something that I can keep in their memory (I do have a jade pendant from my grandma that I wear on a necklace all the time). Alas, such is life.

Nonetheless, one must learn from history and look at the bright side of life. I am proud to say that, my three kids, along with all my future grandkids, will have no trouble getting my pens should they want to do so. Now, isn't that a great excuse for me to get some more pens? ;)
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