My wife knows I like fine pens. I have lousy handwriting, but that doesn't mean I have to settle for one of those stick pens or click pens that make the rounds, often with tooth marks on the end--sometimes from many, many mouths.
About twenty years ago, she spent some of her hard earned money on a Cross pen and pencil set. They were emerald green, with gold plated clips. They weren't too heavy, or too light. They felt good in my hand and looked good. I lost the pen, and although I missed it, I received a Mont Blanc rollerball pen shortly after that as a recognition for a job well done. The Mont Blanc won a little piece of my heart...until I got tired of paying $14.99 a week for re-fills. They're real proud of those refills!
Cross stopped making that particular line of pens and pencils in the 1990's. Of the two--the pen and pencil set, or the wife--I would much rather still have my wife by my side than the pen in my hand. Lucky for me, she's still here!
Still... I want both. The trouble is, Cross didn't make that particular set for very long and they don't make that one anymore. By the time I decided to seek replacements for the set I lost, they were out of production. I thought I had lost the opportunity. I let the idea go.
Now there's eBay. I didn't trust eBay when it was just an auction site. I don't know about you, but when I want to buy something, I want to buy it. I don't want to stay close to my computer and try to beat someone else. I don't want to compete for my stuff.
When I shop eBay, which I do a lot these days, I go for the "buy it now" option.
The other night I was thinking about my lost pen and pencil. I wasn't really interested in replacing the Cross ballpoint... I'm a fountain pen guy now. I'm assembling a collection of cheap, Chinese fountain pens. Fountain pens are a left-hander's friend. The ink soaks into the paper and doesn't smear when I write. The nib--the point that delivers the ink--makes a nice sound as it rides over the paper. It doesn't slip like a ballpoint, and that improves my handwriting marginally.
So, with a little time to kill, I stared pecking around eBay. I searched for "Cross Fountain Pen" just to see if I could find one in my price range.
...And there it was! Not only did I find a NOS (New, old stock) Cross fountain pen, I found it in the style and color of my long-lost pen/pencil set. The seller has them in green, burgundy, blue, and black. The price is right for me, too. It's a nice pen, the kind you don't let other people borrow or use. I've learned my lesson on that one, the hard way. I like a nice pen, and this one fits the bill: gold plated appointments, and an ink converter included so I can fill it from a bottle of ink. I think I'll collect all four colors.
I'm not afraid I'll lose it, but I wonder how long it will take me to remember to unscrew the cap rather than just yank it off the end. The good news is that it's a quality pen, and I'm pretty sure the worse that will happen if I forget to unscrew the cap is that I'll transfer it from one hand to the other while looking like an idiot. I can handle that. It's good for a middle aged man to look like an idiot from time to time...
...It keeps him humble and prepares him for old age!