My friend David Jacobs is incredibly smart and even more opinionated. But the thing is: he’s one of those guys who’s has a strong viewpoint on everything, but also wants to seem nice. Which, when we’re talking about me, is totally my favorite.
For example, yesterday he was telling me – AGAIN – what a great writer I am. I know, I know. You’re not supposed to admit to stuff like that if you want people to take you seriously, but you know what? BECAUSE I want you to take me seriously, I’m going to admit to stuff like that. Because, um, hi. Writers don’t write so that we can sit at home all alone with our cats and cheap grocery store wine while perusing our journals from high school. You think I wrote those journals for ME? Please. Every single word I’ve every written was in the hopes that one day—some day—I’d have an audience who wanted to read them.
Anyway. Back to me. (Oh right. Because we ever leave that topic.) Earlier today my smart, talented, super intelligent friend David Jacobs and I were talking about great I am. Okay FINE. We were actually talking about football, but in between that, he might have said something kind of exactly like:
“You could write about pencil sharpening and I'd read it.”
So, my awesome friend David Jacobs. This post is for you.
On Pencil Sharpening: An instructional how-to for people who don’t know how to sharpen a mother fucking pencil. In 34 easy-to-follow steps.
- Before we can really tackle this subject, first we need to discover why it is you feel the need to write with a pencil. As far as I’m concerned, the only important difference between a pencil and a pen is that a pencil is impermanent. Erasable. Changeable. Uncertain. So maybe the bigger question here is: WHY A PENCIL?
- I’m not a therapist, but I have one who’s outrageously expensive and would happily chitchat with you about everything except your need to use pencils. Bonus: he’ll also laugh at all of your jokes. Sometimes for, like, twenty seconds. Which you’ll later calculate cost you $1.34. But, I mean, hi: it’s kind of worth that much just to have someone laugh at your jokes, am I right?
- Anyway, after you get validation that your childhood was pretty fucked up and that it basically makes sense why you are the way you are, hopefully you’ll have the confidence to buy a pack of goddamn pens (which pen specifically is too broad of a subject to tackle here, but when you’re ready, rest assured: I have an opinion) and end this pencil nonsense.
- In the meantime, because, yes, the therapist’s job is to drag this out for weeks/months/years, let’s talk about your stupid pencil.
- Am I going to set you back with your shrink if I ask why you’re not smart enough to buy a mechanical pencil?
- Fine. I’ll pretend for the sake of this exercise that you’re taking a standardized test. Maybe the LSAT! Your parents always did hope you’d amount to more…
- I guess I’m also now pretending that we live in the 1980s and they don’t offer these tests on magical machines called computers.
- Honestly, if you’re going to make me go back in time, can we at least go back to a time when Huey Lewis & the News didn’t rule the airwaves?
- PSYCH! I LOVE HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS! (You remember “psych,” don’t you? It’s from the ‘80s. When you still had things like “hope” and “dreams.” And the confidence to write in pen. FINE, it was erasable, but still.)
- Anyway, no point in living in the past. Here we are. Just you and your pencil. Your unsharpened, good-for-nothing pencil.
- Um, yeah. I just Googled “unsharpened pencil” and was assaulted with this result: “Life without God is an unsharpened pencil.” Mostly I blame myself for relying on Google for help when I’m feeling uninspired, but also? FUCK YOU. (You is YOU, not Google. Just in case that wasn’t clear.)
- So, just so I’m clear, we are now in total agreement that life is far better without unsharpened pencils and/or pencils in general, right?
- I hate you.
- Okay. Take the pencil. Now find your sharpener. OH RIGHT. This is basically impossible because pencil sharpeners aren’t an actual thing that exist! Kind of like “happy marriages” and “good parenting.”
- You know what? Because I’m feeling so generous and because you’re basically the most demanding and insecure person I’ve ever met, I’m going to help you out. Go to my bathroom. Look on the third shelf all the way to the right. There. See that blue plastic thing? That’s my eyeliner sharpener. TAKE IT. It’s a gift. No seriously. Keep it. I can totally afford a new one.
- Now stick your pencil in my sharpener.
- No seriously. Ew.
- Wow. Really?
- Awesome. I’ll just sit here while you….
- Okay. Now, oh god. This is only going to get… Now turn your pencil in my—I mean—THE—sharpener.
- Keep turning it. Like a good nine or ten solid turns.
- Now pull your pencil out.
- ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
- Assess the tip of your pencil. This is a personal preference. Personally, I like a pencil so sharp (not that I write with pencils because I’m not a savage, but IF I DID) that I may very easily shatter the tip with one forceful crossing of a “t.” You seem like you may like your pencils a little more, well…accessible. But hey—whatever. You can always come back and sharpen it again.
- Speaking of. Oh my god. Did you let the pencil shavings spill all over the floor in step 23? Jesus Chris Mother of Mercy. You’re supposed to sharpen your pencil over a wastebasket. Or even the toilet. Were you raised in a barn? Oh, this is my fault because I didn’t tell you exactly how to do it? Well played. Well. Played.
- Pick that shit up.
- Hopefully by now your therapy is starting to resonate and you’re feeling like the things you have to write are worth inking for eternity. But just in case you have a relapse, let’s try the pencil out.
- Here’s a single sheet of binder paper. That seems like something people who use pencils would be into.
- Write whatever you want.
- Oh, look at you. An “F,” a “U,” a “C”…
- Oh! Look at that. Someone’s pencil broke already! Next time try writing with less “enthusiasm.”
- Also, is that REALLY your handwriting? Yikes. Good luck with that.
So there you go David Jacobs. This is what happens when I can’t sleep at night and when I make a New Year’s resolution two weeks into the New Year that I’m going to post on my blog at least two times a week. What tough topic would you like me to tackle next?
Daisy promises to blog more in 2012 if you promise to be patient while she remembers how to do so.