My cul de sac is a masculinity nightmare. Across the street from me lives a guy that can literally do anything. Build anything. Always has the correct tools. You know the guy. Next door to him is a well to do physician of the old school. A fine fellow also. Next to him an old town man with family money from timber baron days. Huge house, brand new. Then my next door neighbor. A Navy fighter pilot and [really] all around great guy. Then me. Itinerant storyteller. Can't fix anything. Can't shoot down anything. Trust me, whenever I walk out my front door it is a TOTAL manhood crisis.
But I have one thing going for me. I have some nice pens. Thanks to the blogger Heavy Tweed Jacket, listed at the right margin, I learned some time ago about the Parker Jotter. A really magnificent retractable ball point. Inexpensive. Classic design. Well made and dependable. Still. It was noted as being the first pen pilots could use in the air. Check out HTJ's piece on the pen and learn the history of this fine writing instrument.
Immediately upon learning of the Jotter via HTJ, I went out in search of them and bought a few. Six to be exact. Three for me. Three for my son the Future Rock Star. He sometimes likes to have things that I have you see. For now. I knew the pens would be a big hit. The FRS has an artist's eye. And a very good sense of classic design. He loved the Jotters immediately. Keeps them in a special place on his desk. So he and I have a pen bond. I have that going for me anyhow. On my cul de sac.
This pen is a marvel. Perfect for these odd economic times. The pleasure you get when you press the button and hear the hefty click that extends the tip puts you in the mood to don a monogrammed starched white shirt. Then head off for a Martini lunch. Timeless. And a tremendous value for the Jotter's low price. The ink flows well from the tip which rotates a little every time you push the button to help prevent blobbing. Goodness knows we need significantly less blobbing. For a couple of bucks, Parker sells a gel refill for the Jotter which makes the writing incredibly smooth. Just the thing for your latest draft of the Great American Novel. Or for doodling during a business meeting. Plus, the Jotter comes in a variety of cool colors. Trust me when I say that this is an Epic implement.
A few months ago, our wonderful neighbor the pilot gave us tickets to a show put on by the Navy Blue Angels flight team. An amazing show all the way around. I took my son and one of his pals. One of the other demonstrations in the show was an Air Force F-15 Eagle. Flying solo. Going this way and that. With almost NO turn radius. Doing an aerial ballet. Of the deadly sort.
A bit later in the afternoon, we spied the Air Force pilot walking alone. Solitary and unrecognized at a Navy show. My son rushed over with a scrap of paper for him to sign and introduced himself. Mildly amused, the young man turned and took the paper...
"Son, you know I'm not in the Blue Angels?"
Which prompted the FRS to reply...
"Yes sir. You're an Eagle driver! And....isn't that a Parker Jotter in your sleeve pocket?"
Amused, the pilot grinned, ruffled the hair of the FRS and signed his paper.
"Yes it is. We all use em. Son, you know a lot about aircraft AND about great pens. Is your daddy an aviator?"
"No sir. But he has pretty good style."
The Eagle driver threw back his head and laughed.
"Well, give him my best, will you?"
The FRS ran back over to me and gave me a big hug.
Sometimes a small gift of perfect, classic design yields very large rewards. To the recipient. And to the giver. At least that is what I thought later that day. When I returned home. King of my cul de sac.
John le Carré.
21 hours ago