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To this day I keep many more pencils than I need or use. Beside the computer at home and at work, beside the bed I keep them as practical artifacts of a former self and simpler time. In elementary school I began a pencil collection and by middle school I had become known as the pencil kid. I studied the various brands enough to recognize the unique patterns in the little metal tops that hold the eraser. Friends would approach me and hold out a pencil with just the head visible for me to guess the brand name. Some of my favorites were Venus Medalists, Ticonderogas, Eberhard Faber Mongols, Herald Square Mallards and Mohicans by Empire. My collection grew with a certain idiosyncratic reputation. The days of Bic pens, fountain pens and then keyboards came yet I’ve never been able to view any pencil as anything but a link to those days then and that special meaning in my heart.

high school bully—
holding the pencil out at arms length
before snapping it

American Haibun & Haiga Volume 4