unnecessary details about my mail

I’ve purchased enough sub-hundred-dollar, but still-expensive-enough-to-make-my bic-settling-acquaintances-appalled pens to be on a stationary-related mailing list or six, so it wasn’t much surprised when among the mail waiting for me when I returned to the States was a pen catalog.

Paradise Pen’s “Giving Manual No. 8” saves itself from being a waste of paper in this Post Intertron World with its painfully overwritten copy. I suppose it’s hard to write about pens, they’re pens, and there’s not much you can tell a person who’s concerned enough with their writing experience to spend a little extra about a pen in text. “Giving Manual No. 8” solves this dilemma by riffing awkwardly on the arbitrary names given to pen models, like the Waterman Perspective:

It has been a tough, rotten week. One thing after another. I, who am almost always optimistic, was Down with a capital “D”. Then the package arrived addressed in my buddy Stuart’s elegant, loopy hand. Inside, his 12-year-old Masters sweatshirt, the one he bought the first time he took his son to the tournament. The sleeves were cut out, the hem was ratty, and it probably contained more holes than fabric at this point. I knew for a fact it was Stuart’s most prized possession. I laughed, then cried, then laughed again – and I realized that, yes, Pete Paradise, you are one lucky man. Aren’t perspective – and friends – wonderful? If you, like me, ever need reminding, this pen will help put your world back in order.

For the Montegrappa Stradivari:

I Hear a Symphony… every time I use this pen. I uncap it and the lights dim. A conductor brings his baton down. And violins play. This is the Stradivarius. In “E” major for Exquisite.

Well.

But the part that makes me immeasurably happy is the first product featured, Montblanc’s “Signature for Good” collection. Featuring Unicef iconography on the cap, some portion of the proceeds from each pen sold go to Unicef to support children’s literacy in developing nation. The portion? 10%

The cost, per item? $385-520.

“How wonderful,” the copy says, “when the items we choose to own also do good.”

I like to imagine the person who, having spent $520 on a fountain pen, feels proud of the good they’ve done because fifty-two of those dollars spent on such an absurd luxury item went to a good cause.

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~ by ironcupshrug on 01/18/2010.

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