Sank You My Pencil Essay

       A pencil — the perfect writing and drawing tool
               Sharp, dull, long, short, thick, thin, wooden, mechanical
It comes with assistants and helpers
               Erasers, sharpeners, boxes of lead, pencil cases

       If I were a pencil, I would love it whenever my owner
               Picks me up and writes with me
Because I know my owner needs me
               To write and draw and spin and doodle
       I would love the way it feels when gripped in a hand
               Sweaty, dry, big, small, rough, smooth
And the way I brush against Paper
               White, yellow, lined, blank, new, old, thick, thin

       I would love it when I’m sharpened
               To a fine point, sharp as a needle
And I would feel new again
               Despite losing weight

       I would hate it when I break
               And I’d curse for being so fragile, like a vase
And I would hate it when I make mistakes
               Because Eraser gets smaller and dirtier
       And Paper gets crumpled up and thrown away
               Unwanted, and that is what I one day will be
When I’m too old and too short and too dull and too stubborn
               I’ll be unwanted and thrown away, a piece of garbage

       I’ll be unwanted and thrown away, a piece of garbage
               Or lost and kicked aside by uncaring students…

One sign, up near the stage in the amphitheater, reads "Stills," inviting not moonshiners but still photographers.

Another, near good seats in the center, proclaims "Cameras," for the TV medium.

Behind them, the view largely blocked, is the designation "Radio and Pencils," which was where I took a seat at yesterday's Clinton rally at Montgomery College in Maryland.

What a deliciously archaic synecdoche: pencils, to stand for "the writing press," much as head is the part used for the whole of "cattle." Most of the pencils around me take notes with laser-point pens or hand-held recorders or laptop computers and would not know a lead pencil from an antique quill, but the figure of speech is apt and original to this campaign.

I am a pencil. So is the 10-year-old boy sitting in the row below, laboriously writing an essay while we await the arrival of the candidate. I can make out the large block letters at the top of the page on his composition pad: "A Saga of Carnage," presumably about Hurricane Andrew; it is unlikely his topic is the plight of the Bosnians or Somalis.

The school chosen to be the setting for the day's public campaign event is the two-year community college in Montgomery County, Maryland, a wealthy area in a Democratic state. It has good facilities and teachers, superb jewelry-making and crafts courses, and is close enough to Washington D.C. to provide a useful suburban backdrop for a stump speech with emphasis on education during a day of political huddles.

The crowd is a couple of thousand nice people on a pleasant day. Many are bedecked in badges, festooned in ribbons of momentary authority.

Governor Clinton ambles in. I remember Richard Nixon explaining how a political leader should make an entrance, striding into a room or onto a stage briskly and authoritatively, taking charge -- but that's not the Clinton style. He eases his way to the platform, almost sleepily listens to the introductions, and embarks on his speech in a folksy way.

Continue reading the main story

One thought on “Sank You My Pencil Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *