Archive for April, 2012

A radio station here recently ran an informal survey to determine whether or not pencils were still in daily use, outside of job requirements that is. The hosts seemed surprised when quite a few folks called in to say that they consistently used pencils instead of pens.

As this was a question that plumbed the depths of modern philosophy, it got me thinking: Which do I use and what does it say of me? Rarely is there a simple to answer to a simple question. If I use a pencil, am I too old-fashioned? If I use a pen, am I too modern? Does the term “vintage” apply to pencil-use? How about “cutting-edge” to pen-use? Do I use pencils because my self esteem is so low that I must edit and re-edit a Post-it note for fear of scribbling the wrong thing? Or is it because I am a perfectionist and pencils allow me to erase over and over again until it is just right? Do I use pens because I am arrogant (or merely confident) in my abilities? Am I reckless, plowing through line after line regardless of proper grammar or spelling? Perhaps I seek permanence or wish to leave a legacy? Ink lasts longer than a bit of ground lead. Maybe I am sentimental or eccentric, the sound of a pencil-tip scratching across the surface of coarse paper reminding me of days gone by and spurring my thoughts to greater creativity?

“And what if you are merely insane?” you ask.

Well, that’s a topic for another day. Pencils. I came to the decision that there are criteria for my use of one over the other. I adore pencils (Focus, padawan.) for their aged qualities. The scent of a freshly-sharpened pencil is pure heaven and there is nothing akin to the feeling of utter joy when facing a single, blank sheet of paper with only a #2 pencil in hand. You sighed just now, didn’t you? I know I did.

Pens are completely different. They are silent, smooth. Use them with three or more sheets of paper. Always. If I want something to last, I use pen. Even those pesky “erasable” pens never completely remove the ink. For some, pens even add an air of professionalism. They can be bold or fine, crisp or bleed-y (It’s a fairly new term. You’ll get used to it.). And don’t forget the color options! Just when you think you’ve seen every shade of red known to mankind, another one crops up that is precisely the color you’ve been looking for your entire life.

Needless to say, I use both of them. I could launch into further questioning as to what that little tidbit says about me, but I’ll not do so. For your sakes. My mind automatically commenced the query when I first began this post, so there’s really nothing I can do about it for my sake.

How interesting is it that we can analyze something so trivial and “determine” an individual’s personality based on our observations? I find it very interesting. Our world today decries stereotyping or generalizing; yet we seek out personality quizzes and psychologists who do just that. We love it. Crave it, even. Is it because we feel that we know so little about our own selves that we hope that someone else can shed some light into the shadowy space we call a soul?

Distractions, distractions…



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Well come. You have my gratitude for your kind visitation on this “momentous” occasion.

“Beyond Distraction” is meant to serve as a means for me to explore some of the ideas, people, and things that I encounter in the world (and in my own head from time to time). The little things that we deem to be mere distractions can lead to something much more than that. My hope is that a bit of rambling now and then may just lead me to somewhere downright awe-inspiring.


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