My ballpoint pen of choice for some 20 years has been the Montblanc Meisterstuck. I don’t mean I load up on pallets of them every five years, like so many disposable Bics. I mean that in 20 years this is the pen I’ve carried with me and used for writing purposes great and small. Yes, I call it Monty. In fact the pen I have today is a direct descendant from the first that I bought back in my wanna-be yuppie days/daze of the mid-’80s. By that I mean that when the black resin barrel of Monty The First cracked apart in 1990, I shipped it off to Montblanc with a mournful letter regarding its demise and Montblanc responded to my plea by replacing it free of charge with Monty II.
I’ve had it ever since and today was the day it suffered its own similar and seeming mortal injury. The end of its barrel just shattered into several pieces as I was writing a check to pay a bill. There was no sound other than the clickity clatter of the broken bits onto my desk. I stared sadly at the carnage and supposed I could package it up and send it off to Montblanc just like I’d done the first time some 17 years ago with a sob story (or just go buy a new one), but instead I pulled out the superglue, hauled the desk lamp close and as surgically precise as I could be I put the tiny little three-dimensional puzzle back together (and bonus: did so without gluing my fingers together). Then for reinforcement I wrapped a piece of electrical tape around the reconstruction.
Good as new. Or old, as it were.
Even though the black tape blends in with the color of the barrel nicely, perhaps setting an adhesive cast around the pen barrel’s busted nose isn’t a very dignified addition to such a dignified writing implement. But it will have to do because this particular pen and I have been together a long time and through a lot and I’m not ready to say we’re finished. Monty II and I have been to college together and Italy and Greece and Brazil and Argentina and across the United States. Monty II survived my 1994 motorcycle accident and rode with me all the way down the coast for the 475-mile bike ride from San Francisco to L.A. back in 2003. We’ve signed documents important and trivial. Written stories and ideas. Taken notes. Cut countless checks. We’ve doodled.
But perhaps the fondest memory of Monty II came when it was stolen from me back in August 1993 in Sherman Oaks and miracularously recovered several days later in Long Beach. It’s a longish story that you can read here if you’d like in the form of a column that I wrote about the enterprising ordeal for the fall 1993 Pierce College Roundup when I was its editor.
Suffice it to say me and Monty II have been through a lot and I want to go through some more together.