pig pen

Six years ago, my good friend Julie – who also happens to be the closet thing I have to an office mate – gave me a pen. But it wasn’t just any pen. It was an ACME pen. “It’ll change the way you write,” she said. “You’ll get excited to pay the bills with it.” And indeed, it is an outstanding tool. It’s got so many great attributes, I don’t know where to start. First off, it’s bright. And happy. It’s a bold yellow-lime color with abstract little shapes in it. And it’s hefty – solid and well built. The weight of it is comforting. It’s a rollerball pen and it writes like a dream. So smooth that you want to keep writing just to maintain the glide. And then there’s the fact that it was a surprise gift from a friend. Everything about my pen makes me feel good.
This particular pen, which is simply named “lime” was designed by Karim Rashid. I went online to look him up shortly after I got it. According to the ACME website, Rashid is “a leading figure in the fields of product, furniture and interior design and is largely credited for bringing exceptional, affordable design to the masses via iconic products like the Oh Chair and Garbo Trashcan.”
My pen has sort of become like an adult security blanket. I take it everywhere. Even when I’m fairly certain I’m not going to be required to write anything. Because you just never know. I don’t misplace it very often, but occasionally it happens. It’ll hide out in the bottom of my bag, or get lost in the couch cushions. It always surfaces, but I have been late to meetings looking for it. If it goes off missing for more than a day or two, I’ll e-mail Julie in a panic. I tell her that I feel nervous without it. She calms me down and assures me it will turn up. And she’s always right.
But then, last week, something terrible happened. My pen broke. Like really broke. I took it out of my coat pocket and when I removed the cover, the bottom half of the pen stayed stuck inside. This had never happened before. It was so stuck that I couldn’t even get the top and bottom screwed together again. This was serious. I gently tried to pry it out. No luck. So I tapped it on the desk. Again, nothing. And then, after a few more taps, the decorative metal cap topper flew off, the clip went scattering across the floor, and the metal chamber along with a plastic interior liner tumbled out before me. The plastic piece was cracked. I screwed the top and bottom together again, but every time I took the cap off, the little plastic liner piece came out attached to the writing tip. And there seemed to be no way to reattach the metal top or clip. I had to walk away.
I e-mailed Julie right away. She’d understand. Then, being it was 5:05 pm on Friday, I went to weep over a beer. I learned from the ACME website that my pen is no longer under warranty. But for $11.95 I can send it in for repair – or if it’s terminal, replacement. This seemed like a fair enough deal. But I wasn’t emotionally prepared to ship it off. The pieces of my pen sat pathetically on my desk for a few days until I mustered the courage to package it up and send it on its way to Hawaii, back to the motherland, for consultation with the good folks at ACME.
In the meantime, I have resorted to a plain-jane Parker pen that I took up with during my freshman year of college. It’s an old friend for sure. But now it feels awkward in my hand – too slender and light. Its navy and metal color combo is classy, but far from cheerful. And while it gets the job done, its no rollerball. Nevertheless, I sit and doodle with it, making loopy curlycues, and big block letters while I anxiously await any news from Hawaii of my trusted pig pen.

3 Responses to “pig pen”


  1. 1 Charlie Blair-Broeker March 6, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Hey–this one didn’t make me hungry. That’s a first, Jill!

  2. 3 Charlie Blair-Broeker March 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    OK, that does it. My mouth is watering as we speak (especially since I’m a couple hundred miles from the nearest Furious).


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