It's a long, sad story . . .
by MID
  Article # 367 Article Type: Fiction


Have you ever noticed all the pens in advertisements and icons where a signature is required? Where do all these pens come from? Do the ad agencies have some they use all the time?

Every year, thousands of pens come to New York and L.A. hoping to make it big -- as a professional pen model.

These pens, some of them not more than 14 or 15 years old, come from the heartland of America, from places like Iowa, and Indiana, and Illinois, and other states that begin with "I" -- like Wisconsin. But the truth, unlike the pens, is not pretty.
Few make it.

Although many are beautiful, they are considered "too fat" by an industry that magnifies flaws and induces unreasonable expectations. Or their nibs are too small. Or their air hole are the wrong shape. They go home dejected, their one chance to be something destroyed by a ruthless image machine. They live out their lives forgotten at the back of a desk drawer, spending their days thinking about what might have been, A few do find work, but mostly in catalogs, or even on the internet.

Only those pens who are deemed sufficently "perfect" and who can play the game, become the highly paid models we see and admire in ads and in the pages of glossy magazines, like Pen World. But even then, pen modelling has a dark side.

Many of these young pens -- those who make it -- can't handle the sudden fame, the sudden attention, or the sudden money. They get involved with the wrong crowd. They get dipped in bad ink, or SITB. Heavy handed agents take advantage of these young pens, they misuse them, or press too hard, and sometimes spring their nibs. In an effort to stay "uninked," the pens don't eat enough,and are sometimes used to "write dry." They get passed around from hand, shared, and their iridum tips become irregular. And then they get used up, discarded at the roadside of penlife like a spent cartrdige of Penman Ebony. And no one cares, because soon enough there's another batch of pretty young celluloid godesses coming from Iowa, and Indiana, and Illinois, waiting for their chance.

Pen modelling. It's not pretty.

Text © 2003 MID.

Thanks to Pamela Murray, whose original question quoted at the start, inspired this story.

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