Ol’ Red was not some space age gel rollerball pen or a snotty, elite pen that came in a fancy wood box. Nor was he some cheap promotional pen, whoring himself out to whoever picked him up at a trade show booth. He was a ball point pen with a cap and old fashioned values: simple, hard working and modest (some pens like to show off their inner plumbing but Red preferred an opaque plastic around his). He and I had an unspoken (obviously) friendship. He was my favorite.
Grading chemistry tests is a hard life for a pen. The first quiz of the year was a bloodbath and it took a toll on Red. Not that he complained – his lines were as smooth and consistent as ever, always the right amount of ink regardless of how angrily I marked the incorrect answer. In that way, Ol’ Red was a calming influence on me and I like to think that he had a sunny disposition towards the students, despite the amount of ink they took from him.
Ol’ Red gave his last drop as I graded the second batch of quizzes. We were making our way through the pile, pleased that the students were doing well. His end came suddenly when he simply stopped, drained. Even this act was typical of Ol’ Red. Some pens drag out the process, failing to write more frequently as time passes but Red just kept showing up to work, giving it his all, until he could write no more. His last contact with paper was a check mark next to a correct calculation.
I still have to grade the rest of the papers. I have a new pen, a new-fangled retractable Paper Mate with some type of Sure-Grip Coating® for easier handling. We are both going through a transition period with each other. Some of the other pens call him Clicky. He’ll probably do ok but he’ll never make me forget Ol’ Red.
My condolences on your loss. Ol' Red sounds like a most faithful companion in difficult endeavors.ReplyDelete
All hail Ol'Red!ReplyDelete
As one who long embraced one of Red's distant relatives, it warmed my soul to see an appropriate tribute to those who have been spuriously implicated as poison to self-esteem.
Long live Red!
Beaker Ben, you must now make a small Lucite rectangle and encase Ol' Red in it for he isReplyDelete
THE LENIN OF CORRECTION PENS.
And ensconce him in Ol' Red Square, diorama-style. Get out the popsicle sticks, toothpicks, and shoeboxes.ReplyDelete
Post of the week!ReplyDelete
Hear, hear, P of the muthafuckin' W.ReplyDelete
I've been told by various people that using red pen is (gasp!) just too HARSH on the little snowflakes, and that I should be using a more gentle color like green or brown.ReplyDelete
I usually have to restrain myself from dipping my pen in their blood to get just the right shade of crimson.
Holy crap - I really am a grading Nazi. I don't think I've ever had a red last 2 months, let alone 2 years.ReplyDelete
I hoist my Chili's To Go cup to you, Ol' Red.ReplyDelete
May your marks remain indelibly on those you corrected and credited.
Blame me for the dates on Ol' Red. I couldn't stand Beaker Ben's lovely post not having a graphic. I spent several seconds scouring the World Wise Web looking for just the right example, and I made up the birth and death dates. I just assume that Ben's equanimity would result in only the lightest and tenderest of ink-ages, so I thought Ol' Red might have lasted so long.ReplyDelete
Poetic license, is what I'm hoping you can grant me.
@DrNathaniel: Fresh human blood is scarlet, not crimson. Remember: Harvard crimson, U.S. Marine Corps scarlet (consider what it is that marines do).ReplyDelete
Ooops - I didn't mean to be a pain in the ass. I'm like Bones sometimes. I think I have asperger's syndrome. I have a tendancy to be too literal and a little annoying. Sorry.ReplyDelete
Thank you to all who expressed their condolences and especially to Gordo for elevating Ol' Red's story to POW and the header theme. My favorite pen would be flattered and a little embarrassed (hard to tell since he was already red) by all this attention.ReplyDelete
Ben, you totally could have replaced the ink! Then Ol' Red would have lived on.ReplyDelete
I actually don't grade in red. It's more because it's hard on my soul (although I tell the flakes it's for their benefit -- anything to help the evals). I grade in purple. Afterall, purple is my favorite color. ;)
Wombat, it's kind of cute. It goes with your former avatar of the wombat juxtaposed with technological non-sequiturs (copiers, school buses). We love you.ReplyDelete
You know what would be cool? Scratch and sniff grading.ReplyDelete
I never liked Ol' Red. He was a lazy, irresponsible drunk. He couldn't stand on his own; he always had to be held up. I never once saw him sober. He was uncultured. He was a liar. Every day, he criticized other people. He won't be missed.ReplyDelete
But that was a hell of a post, Beaker.ReplyDelete
Perhaps it would be a comfort, Beaker, to realize that you imbued Ol' Red's life with meaning. Without you he was useless, incoherent, unresponsive. Only when you held him could he express the truth about your chemistry.ReplyDelete
Southern Bubba, I think you are mixing up Ol' Red and me on a Friday night. OK, Friday late afternoon.ReplyDelete
Best. Post. Ever.ReplyDelete