Thursday, 29 July 2010

Pencil Case Contents

School has ended on 23rd July and my nine-year-old son has brought home his pencil case with its contents ravaged from a year of learning. Pencils with no leads, chewed or split in half, or sharpened at both ends; rubbers transformed into hideous faces, broken and poked or having some voodoo ritual performed onto them; stubs with the rubber extracted from the ferrule, and one deconstructed pen witness to some journey of scientific discovery, no doubt, that involved unravelling the mysteries of the pen's insides.

My son fails to understand my penchant for pencil sharpening. The very idea of sitting down to a session of pencil sharpening leaves him cold. Respecting one's eraser is an alien concept. Choosing a "proper" pen for cartoon drawing does not matter to him. Any pen would do. Peeking into the empty classrooms of his school I see the root of the problem: potfuls of Unsharpened Pencils standing unashamedly at the centre of the tables.
Ah, the evils of substandard Writing Implements Education.

And so I shall propose to volunteer to take on a serious matter: pencil sharpening. I shall offer my services to local schools and also to restaurants that pretend to cater for children's pre-meal entertainment by offering pots of unsharpened stubs. I shall be known as the Lady Sharpener. And as my services and influence expands, maybe a dedicated Sharpening Police shall be established issuing unsharpened pencils search warrants and next knocking at your door.

Except Nemo's door that is, because this would have been bricked up.


  1. This is a great post, and I love the photos! They remind me of my own days in elementary school. I don't what it is about erasers, but my friend and I also had erasers with faces and personalities. I recall that at one point the erasers were in such sad states that we had to perform surgery on them! And of course we loved taking pens apart as well; for a while we both had collections of the springs out of old pens.

  2. Thank you, Heather. I see that despite your childhood record of writing implement abuse, you turned out to be a pen aficionado. So there's still hope for my son.

  3. Thank you for that wonderful post! The left eraser is great – to me, it would look nice in a little frame ;-)

    Thank you also for for being a sharpener advocate. I have several sharpeners in various places because I can't stand unsharpened pencils either.

  4. Thanks, Gunther. Actually my son informs me that the yellow eraser with the pins is not a face at all. It is actually a Playstation control.

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