Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Black is the New Black

Black Pentel RSVP Medium Point.
Hello, beautiful.

The best pen to write with.  Ever.

Even after the carpal tunnel made it difficult for any extended writing, the RSVP remains the standard by which all other pens are measured and generally found wanting.  A box or two of them are stashed in my desk as proof against the coming Zombie Apocalypse.  Yes, that’s a warning.  No, you may not borrow one of my pens.

There's a story that goes with the Pentel RSVP and its discovery as the finest writing implement ever.

In college, in the pre-Amazon.com days when the internet was exclusively for discussion and porn, the RSVPs were first released only in the fine point. Why remains a mystery to this day.  Fine points are only good for scratching and tearing paper to shreds, especially when you are really in the moment of telling Jenny Slater how you feel about her choice to take John McKenzie to the Spring formal instead of you—a general occurrence we can all relate to.

Internet circa 1990s
Perhaps Pentel was in bed with the Scotch Tape industry?  Perhaps Jenny Slater was too?

Suffice to say that the Pentel RSVP, while a vision in form and function, was flawed in this one, and only one, area.

If you haven’t had the joy of picking up the RSVP, let me explain to you that the size, shape and feel of the pen is unlike any that you are likely to experience this side of Heaven or a shot of Demerol.  Slightly larger in diameter than “standard” pens of the time, Pentel set a bold new trend by taking into consideration those of us with hands bigger than that of a Hobbit or a small child.  No more would we have to cramp our fingers around thin, flimsy hard to grip writing implements.  Here was a mass-produced item conceived of by a god and fashioned by angels, with a comfort grip that provided for hours of writing.

But that damned fine point.

Necessity, however, is the mother of invention.

I found that I could replace the Satanic cartridge with a blessed medium point Pentel.  Alas, as an iconoclast, a daring individual who marches to the beat of a different drum, at the time I was really grooving on the color green for my pen usage.  Pentel offered a lovely shade, in the fine point RSVP, but I couldn’t find it anywhere in stores.

Frustration can also be the mother invention—or an annoyed customer with a 1-800 number!

Vice President Steve
I called Pentel directly (another wonder of the internet), and spoke to Steve in their marketing department about how much I loved the size and shape of the Pentel RSVP, but despised their reliance on the evil fine point cartridge.  Without a doubt, Steve was the head of the marketing department, vice president of customer relations, with a direct line to the product folk.  I assure you, I made no demands on Steve, his company, and at no time did I call down the wrath of Michael, Gabriel and the FIRES OF HEAVEN AND ALL THE ANGELS or anything at all like that.  That sounds silly.  Steve was pleased, pleased I say, to take down my feedback.

A year later, Pentel released medium point RSVPs in ALL colors.

Coincidence—Most likely!

An archaic huzzah?  Definitely.


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