A few weeks ago I bid on a group of crap . . . er, I mean interesting treasures . . . in an online auction. It appeared to be what was left in the bottom of someone’s junk box, with a mix of early ballpoints that didn’t work, parts and a few interesting looking pencils. It was cheap and there were just enough things in that group that looked a little interesting that I knew it would keep me busy for a couple hours. What the hell, I thought. It’s cheaper than a movie ticket these days.
What I didn’t even notice was that the seller was Rob Bader, a longtime friend with enough great stories to fill an evening and a reputation for being a bit of a prankster. After you see this one, if you know Rob, you’ll say as the title of the article suggests, that’s about right.
One of the things in Rob’s bag of tricks – and it wasn’t one of the things I thought might be interesting, mind you – was this one:
Hmmmm.... unmarked, and not American . . .
Jon’s unwritten laws of pencil collecting specify, in the absence of American origin or manufacturers marking, that this one must be either (a) attributable to a manufacturer or (b) freakishly awesome. I have no idea who made it, so you know where this one was going.
I couldn’t figure out how to advance the lead - no amount of twisting the cap made any difference, so I decided to jot something to see if maybe the lead advance was tip-actuated . . .
. . . and as I pressed the “lead” onto the table . . .