There will be ink: Searching for the perfect pen

by Beacon Staff • September 16, 2009

priced and unnecessarily engraved pens, leather-bound legal pad holders (Does your dorm room smell of rich mahogany?)

and, inexplicably, baby-sized Emerson T-shirts.,If you venture toward the back of Barnes Noble, you will come across the Corner of Misfit School Supplies: exorbitantly

priced and unnecessarily engraved pens, leather-bound legal pad holders (Does your dorm room smell of rich mahogany?)

and, inexplicably, baby-sized Emerson T-shirts. We use protection, guys. Thanks anyway.

But let us not overlook the indispensable school supplies that get mixed up with these weirdos. The Beacon takes a look at the most, and least, useful items at your local bookstore.

Pencils

At Emerson, you will almost never need a pencil. Unless, of course, you are taking one of the few math classes we offer, are scribbling on a musical score or if you are really stingy and want to erase a doodled-on page for express redoodling purposes.

There is also the possibility that, for some strange reason, you simply prefer pencils to pens. If you must use a pencil, use a good one. Avoid the Paper Mate mechanical "twist-tip advance," priced at $3.48 per pack. More often than not, the lead will get stuck inside its plastic shell due to the shortcomings of the boastful "twist-tip." And seriously, $3.48? Jeepers, that's more than our lunch money, but far cheaper than what getting your tip twisted on Boylston Street normally costs.

Try the BIC "Matic Grip" mechanical pencil instead. Its smooth grip is a godsend, helping prevent calluses from grasping your pencil too tightly.

For the more traditional writer, a No. 2 pencil may tickle your fancy, but let's face it: The SATs are long gone and the likelihood of taking a bubble sheet exam in project-oriented Emerson classes is slim to none. Also, it's been years since we've even seen a functional pencil sharpener.

A pragmatic solution: The bookstore's "American Classic" No. 2 pencil, pre-sharpened of course. But are you patriotic enough to use it? Does this pencil link being American to the tradition of verbal and mathematics composite scores?

Like we said, just avoid the pencils altogether. They might break in your purse or pocket and portable pencil sharpeners, but have a second grade feel. Use pen-it's edgier. Don't be a wishy-washy sissypants. If you might need to erase something, it is not worth writing down. Wite-Out is for the weak and is, quite literally, tacky. Yes, you may have covered up that misspelling of "disappointed" or your misuse of "their," and the reader may not know the specifics, but they can see through that sticky, slightly fluorescent fa