Mid Life Comforts – the quality pen.

Posted: January 23, 2014 in Musings

If there is one thing that typifies being middle-aged, it’s the desire for creature comforts that in your younger years would have been dismissed with a sneer.

I remember when I thought I’d never tire of going to gigs and how it didn’t matter what I wore or what I owned. The idea of possessions being important  to me just didn’t register. Thirty years later its a different story. I can justify it to myself in so many ways – the household appliances make my life easier or seeing as I really enjoy watching movies then a good HD TV makes perfect sense (and oh yes, I do love that Sony Bravia 50 inch piece of engineering brilliance). Most people could understand those, but one thing less easy to explain is how I am a sucker for is a nice pen.

I remember when going through school and onto college, the sign of the well to do up-and-coming young student was that epitome of writing class, the Parker Rollerball.


You could tell it was a class act – it even came with its own box.

Normally, the source of such an implement was the well-intentioned Xmas present from a relative who didn’t know you well enough to choose something you’d really like but wanted to play it safe while scoring points with your parents by acknowledging your Nobel-prize winning potential. I must have had about a dozen of these over my school and college years. Strangely enough I have no idea what happened to any of them, other than they never lasted long  enough to need a refill.

Working full-time thereafter I was happy in the day job using the everyday disposable biro without a second thought. Then suddenly one day I wanted a ‘good’ pen. Where did that come from? No idea. It didn’t build up on me gradually. It was bang, one day the biro’s I had been using for years without a second thought were suddenly flawed, rubbish and frankly just shit! I need a better writing implement than this. How can I expect to function to my full potential while having to use such a shoddy pen? I should explain here my job doesn’t require a lot of writing. I was a depot manager at the time and would spend more time on the PC than I would with pen and paper. So there is no real justifiable reason for this desire to upgrade my writing implement of choice. I just wanted something I perceived to be better. It was an indulgence. Well, what of it? That’s one of the advantages about being in the mid-life bracket. I want to indulge myself, so fuck it, I will!

Not knowing much about pens then (and not much more now) I quickly did some research and found a range that I not only liked but I could afford too. And this was how the Waterman pen came into my life. Gone are the rather tacky matt metallic finishes of the Parker and in come the gorgeous shiny lacquered finishes of the Waterman. And ohhhhh the weight – let me tell you about the weight. If you’ve never used a ‘good’ pen before, it’s the weight that gets you straight away. It just sits in your hand perfectly, it feels as if it belongs there. Oh yes my friends, this is writing bliss!

watPatrician-lacquerNot only do these things look great and feel great, they even write well. Once you start using a pen like this, going back to the old biro’s of the past just isn’t going to happen. Well, not without a fight anyway.

I probably write even less now than ever, but I have three Watermans – two pens and a propelling pencil. Each one is a complete indulgence and frankly I wouldn’t be without them. I had a business meeting this week where I required to take notes and its so much less of a chore with a quality pen than a biro. Want a mid-life treat? Go buy a Waterman.

The only thing even a pen this good does not help is that my handwriting still resembles the last throes of an arthritic spider that fell into an ink well staggering across a sheet of paper.

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