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The pen

Following the launch of the iPad, it is time to take stock and remind ourselves about the pen.

The pen is quick, cheap, portable and has no great learning curve: once the user has become familiar with which end is which, the pen is simple to use. Some models feature an on-off switch, easily accessible by the thumb.

The pen can be used to write on a variety of surfaces, including the human skin.

Many pens have a handy clip which not only protects the nib, but allows the pen to be attached firmly to a document or a pocket.
Used in conjunction with a small notebook, the pen helps you keep track of events, meetings, contacts, phone numbers and general aides memoire. Note that if you happen to lose your pen, a mobile phone is a good (if elaborate) substitute for such tasks.

The instances of people being mugged for their pen are rare. And in happy-slapping incidents, no-one as yet has done a quick illustration, in pen, of the event.

No-one on a train ever got annoyed by a fellow passenger’s pen going off.

Fun versions of the pen are available – including one which when turned upside down makes the animated lady inside the transparent shaft appear to remove her bikini top.

The humble biro can be disassembled and it’s hollow shaft turned into a handy blowpipe weapon. Indeed, the same apparatus can be used as a life-saving chest drain or tracheostomy.

Held horizontally against a piece of paper, the pen provides a ruler-like platform for drawing a straight line with a second pen.

You can put a lightweight pen up each nostril and pretend to be a walrus. Is there an app for that? I think not.

Oh, and silver pens look really cool.


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