Several years ago, maybe ten, my friend and colleague Fran (who also teaches Biology) gave me two boxes of purple pens for Christmas. It was a bit of a gag, because she knows how much I covet school supplies in general, but also how much I loved my purple Pilot (Precise Roller Ball extra fine V5) pens and how I watched them like a hawk. I guess she figured if I had two boxes, which equals two dozen pens, I could relax. Au contraire.
I still guarded them with my life, and meted them out sparingly, taking a new one out of a box only if the one I was using was almost out of ink, or if I decided it was important to have one in a location other than my school bag. Like my purse. Or one for home. That sort of thing. That is, having two boxes did not give me permission to be careless with them—especially when they stopped making them! I kept them locked in my desk.
Alas, I am down to my last one, and there’s probably only enough ink in it to correct one more set of quizzes. So it was time to go to Staples, of course, to gear up with more. But what would I pick? What could replace the Pilot Precise V5?
If you are like me, you need to test drive a pen before you can buy it; you need to see how smooth it writes, how it feels in your hand, that sort of thing. Well, when they’re packaged in sets of 5 and 7, it’s hard to do—but even more necessary since it becomes a bigger risk in said packaging. Imagine taking a pen home and hating the way it writes, and having 6 of them. I was not going to fall into that trap. No way. They might take advantage of me at a tire place, but I know my way around school supplies.
So I stood in the aisle and discreetly opened three packages of pens and tested them on the back. I was conflicted. I liked all three that I tried—one liquid ink, two ball points. I looked at price and unit price per pen. In the end I went for one with liquid ink (the Pentel Energel, metal tip 0.7mm), and one ball point (the Zebra Z grip, medium). Today, I rather enjoyed correcting with the ball point.
Moving on was not as hard as I thought it might be.