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  • Isabel Beariault

In Defense of the Common Pencil

I’ve never seen more mechanical pencils than at Holton. What’s so great about a pencil with a lead so thin that it breaks every minute? Not only that, but you have to repeatedly click the pathetic eraser on the mechanical pencil’s end to produce lead, which outrageously costs more than $2.00 at CVS. Instead of wasting time and money with a mechanical pencil, everyone should just use a traditional pencil.

Pencils are cheap and perform the task of writing and drawing just as well as any mechanical pencil. Instead of wasting time inserting new lead, pencils can be easily sharpened to look brand-new again! Pencils are also universal. They are present on every continent, in every country, and are used by both the rich and the poor. They have been used for hundreds of years to discover scientific breakthroughs and write literary masterpieces. In short, pencils have been uniting humanity throughout the past, present, and future. Yet, to many people, they are considered worthless and are replaced with an ugly piece of plastic. The last time you saw a lonely pencil lying on the sidewalk, did you pick it up? Probably not. But how could you leave such an important tool in the dust?

At Holton, I seem to be the only person to use a regular pencil during class. When I pull a pencil out of my pencil case, I am often met with weird looks from my classmates. One of my peers even described my writing utensils as “crusty.” I especially remember one class where a classmate asked to borrow a pencil. Naturally, I took out a pencil from my pencil case, just like she asked, and handed it to her. The pencil was sharpened with a full eraser, so what more could you want? The girl took one look at the perfect pencil before saying, “I’ll just borrow one from someone else.” I remember staring down at my pencil and being confused. She had asked for a pencil, and I had given her one, so why was it not good enough? This was the first of many similar experiences.

Why are Holton girls so obsessed with mechanical pencils? Is it a preference of plastic over wood? Is it a preference of fancy over simple? I honestly cannot figure it out, but what I do know is that a traditional pencil can do the exact same job as an expensive mechanical pencil. So next time I let you borrow my “crusty,” yellow Ticonderoga, just take it. Accept it with honor and joy, knowing that you are using one of the most underrated tools on earth.

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