We Who Like Pencils.

[Stephen Watts is back, with another fantastic contribution! Thanks, Stephen, and we hope this is the first of more pieces for Pencil Revolution!]

We Who Like Pencils (or 鈥淲WLP,鈥 pronounced 鈥淲WLP鈥? routinely deal with any number of annoyances in the pursuit of our inexplicable obsession. One of my pet peeves has been the scarcity of suitable pencil display options.

There aren鈥檛 many choices available unless you鈥檙e okay with hiding one end of your pencils in a cup or stand. I prefer my pencils to proudly stand out in the open, reveling in their naked glory for all the world to see. Acrylic holders that horizontally showcase 1-13 pencils worked well for me until my collection outgrew them.

Several years ago, I succumbed to the madness and beyond all reason purchased a $500 lockable jewelry display cabinet. My son Hunter was with me the week it arrived and when, conveniently, my wife was away with Hunter鈥檚 twin brother Garrett. The exorbitant shipping charges should have been a clue that the cabinet was so heavy it had to be shipped on a pallet in a moving van. Hunter and I stared, dumbfounded, as we watched the platform on the back of the trailer slowly lower the beast to the ground. Desperate to hide all evidence of the crime, my deputized accomplice and I decided the smartest thing to do was get the cabinet upstairs in the den and mounted on the wall before my wife got back home. 200 pound painful-to-hold lockable jewelry display cabinets, we learned, don鈥檛 travel easily up twisting flights of stairs.

Fortunately, through destructive trial and error and before my wife arrived back home, Hunter and I got the Heavy Beast from Hell securely fastened to the wall and populated by a relieved flock of vintage pencils.

Dazed by a celebratory excess of potato chips and Mountain Dew, we forgot about the empty pallet which remained in the front yard awaiting bulk refuse pickup. Our ill-conceived plan to pretend as though nothing happened instantly collapsed when my wife pulled into the driveway and cried out to Garrett 鈥淗ow many pencils did he have to buy for them to be delivered on a PALLET?鈥滭/p>

My wife never found out how much I paid for the cabinet or how tiny our tax deduction was when we donated the cabinet to Goodwill a few years later as we downsized into an apartment three states away.

Once again, I needed to find a way to display these little treasures. Typical searches unearthed descriptions of how to construct my own suitable-for-framing display using thick poster board and elastic cord. This utterly ridiculous, labor-intensive solution brings with it the reprehensible requirements of patience and the ability to evenly punch holes in the poster board so one can thread the cord through perfectly-spaced holes while leaving enough slack in the elastic to hold the pencils. Sure, I found images of terrific-looking results. But with intentional deception, the instructions never revealed that such craftsmanship, in real-world scenarios outside the laboratory, is achievable only by skilled lunatics unaware they can more profitably spend their time binge-watching Netflix.

Time and again in my quests I found myself staring admiringly at the readily available but wholly unsuitable golf pencil displays. The ubiquity of these pretentiously perfect products is especially maddening because we know that golfers don鈥檛 care about their itty bitty 3.5 inch 鈥減encils,鈥 more accurately referred to by normal people as 鈥渟tubs,鈥 or we can separate ourselves from them altogether and call the teeny pencils 鈥渢eencils.鈥 Golfers aren鈥檛 displaying their teencils, they鈥檙e displaying how many golf courses they visited. The irony here is that golf itself doesn鈥檛 even matter. To quote the authoritative July 1979 Sports issue of National Lampoon Magazine, 鈥淚f you want to take long walks, take long walks. If you want to hit things with a stick, hit things with a stick. But there鈥檚 no excuse for combining the two and putting the results on TV.鈥滭/p>

After looking at these displays time and again, either I saw one model for the first time or for the first time realized what I could do with one model and it dawned on me the answer to my problem was hiding in plain sight.

If you鈥檙e like me, not just uninterested in golf but adamantly opposed to it, you鈥檒l appreciate how I鈥檝e discovered a way to cheat the golf cabal鈥檚 clever little system: Yes, available to both golfers and humans alike, there exists a beautiful display case intended to hold 64 embarrassed 3.5 inch teencils that can be repurposed to triumphantly hold one row of 32 anatomically correct pencils. It鈥檚 available in a cherry or oak finish and can be found at Great Golf Memories and Amazon. I purchased two, and a full month after putting these displays on my wall I still spend whole days standing in front of them, silently weeping with joy.

Author’s Note: I don鈥檛 work for the companies that create or sell these display cases. I just revel in this 鈥渉ack鈥 and hope that if you go this route, you won鈥檛 spoil it for the rest of the WWLP crowd by admitting your true purpose to the golf mafia.

Hell Freezes Over Twice!

(This is another fanfreakingtastic piece from Stephen Watts, whose efforts for Pencildom do nothing short of blow my mind!)

Hell Freezes Over Twice!

aka Father and Son Pencil Review VI
aka Final Review v4.0

From the June 2015 Father and Son Pencil Review V:

You know I never lie about these things, so believe me when I tell you that this is the end of our pencil reviews, unless and until I happen across a Blaisdell Calculator 600, that most rare of Steinbeck-sanctioned pencils. If that day comes, Hunter and I will sign ourselves out of the nursing home, come back to my den, blow the dust off the old computer and we鈥檒l let you know where the third of Steinbeck鈥檚 favorite pencils falls in our list.

Friends, hell hath frozen over, and not just once, but twice.

You鈥檙e reading the second version of this review. After I submitted the first, something else happened that I doubted would ever occur: General Pencil Company advised Gary Varner of Notegeist that our pleas have been answered and the General鈥檚 Cedar Pointe #333-1 will have a second life. We will probably see it back on shelves before the end of the year! More on this later, but let鈥檚 get back to the original description of how hell has frozen over.

I was innocently minding my own business one day when I was assaulted by this eBay auction title:

Vintage Blaisdell Pencil Co. Calculator Special Grade No 660 Lot 11 Original Box

驴Qu茅? Special Grade 660? What was a 鈥?60?鈥 What it was, it turns out, was a mistake. And that mistake may have been what allowed me to win an auction for a nearly full box of Blaisdell Calculator 600s at a fraction of what I might expect to pay for a box of far more plentiful vintage Blackwings. I鈥檇 begun to doubt I would ever run across a single one of these mythical creatures.

Continue reading “Hell Freezes Over Twice!”