[ Extra Fine Points Index ]
BY DON FLUCKINGER • It’s November 2008, and no matter how the U.S. Presidential election turns out, 40%-50% of voters are going to be unhappy. The stock market is shrinking like an old accordion wheezing its last chord, and gasoline and fuel oil prices will make it a long winter for some of us.
|”Bailout” for us means pulling the lever on a half-full sac so we can change ink colors.|
But it’s still November, and we’re just not allowed to be down, because each November Americans traditionally are supposed to sit back and take stock of what they’re thankful for. Fountain pen collectors, in particular, have plenty. I’ll give you the first 10:
Back in the 1930s, no one sent the nib of your Big Red Duofold to whatever was the Depression-era equivalent of Cash4Gold.com. Even though you might be tempted to do it yourself when you see those late-night TV commercials, don’t. The guy (or gal) using that pen in 2088 will thank you for it.
Market forces made the Eversharp “Burp Pen” go the way of the dinosaur, along with the lava lamp, Milli Vanilli, and the Ford Pinto, too.
While your 401K might have disappeared, pen shows haven’t. When the economic outlook’s got you down, there’s nothing like a road trip to get your spirits up.
The quality of line your favorite pen puts down on the best paper you can afford is not subject to the ups and downs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
No matter where the subprime mortgage crisis leaves us, there are still few experiences as cool as seeing a serial ballpoint recidivist pick up a “51” for the first time and seeing his or her eyes light up when the ink starts to flow.
“Bailout” for us means pulling the lever on a half-full sac so we can change ink colors.
While the dollar might not be worth what it used to be, your fountain-pen investments are probably holding their value a lot better than your Wall Street ones.
There are no interest penalties for early withdrawal from your pen collection when you’re liquidating to buy that special limited edition you just have to have.
Your Sheaffer Balance will never run negative campaign ads about trying to distort your Targa’s congressional voting record.
Our performance in the debates we have on message boards about the merit of one pen, ink, or paper over another will not affect the course of history, the global economy, or whether Ohio swings red or blue.
To our American hobby peers, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving; to our pen collecting friends around the world, enjoy your respective November holidays and try to find an excuse to write with your favorite pen today.
Further Reading: Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, by John C. Bogle
What’s enough, when it comes to wealth? A lot of people are readjusting their opinion of just how much — or little — with which they can be happy. Pre-order Vanguard founder “St. Jack” Bogle’s new book about just this topic; his stories and opinions allegedly will surprise those of us who aren’t among the ranks of the super-rich.
|Freelance writer Don Fluckinger lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, and is the son-in-law of Richard Binder. His articles have been published in Antiques Roadshow Insider, The Boston Globe, and on the Biddersedge.com collectibles Web site. Please note: Any opinions stated in this column are Don’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Richard Binder or this Web site.|