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April 1, 2005: When the Pen Guy’s Yer Pop

Extra Fine Points Index  ]

BY PATRICK “MACK” FLUCKINGER • Hi, everyone, Mack here! For this very special April 1 edition of Nib Noise, I volunteered to write my dad’s column for him. I know you’ll all be just thrilled to read what I’ve got on tap for you — an exclusive interview with the Jedi Pen Master himself, my Pop! No, not my dad, my mom’s dad — my Pop! I asked Pop some questions I’m pretty sure none of you pen people have ever thought to ask. And I think I did a pretty good job for someone who’s only 19 months old. So here’s the straight poop on Pop.

MF: So, Pop, why fountain pens? Don’t you think crayons taste better?

RB: You’ll understand once your dad starts letting you use pens with ink in them. See this finger? That’s Waterman Blue-Black. And this one over here is Diamine Cerise. And that thumb is Aurora Black. Fun, huh?

Gee whiz, you really are as uptight as they say. You gotta loosen up, Pop. Here’s something to think about: Exactly how much mayhem can I wreak in your pen studio before you decide to childproof? Extra Fine Points

MF: Sure, Pop, whatever you say. I still think crayons taste better. I like green best. But you know what? Rufus the greyhound likes orange best. Boy was Mom mad when she found that out. By the way, I’ve been wondering, how did you become a Jedi Pen Master? And are the textbooks board books or pop-up books?

RB: It all started when I discovered that if I polished a nib bright enough it would flash in people’s eyes like a light saber when I twirled the pen around in dull meetings. The only textbook I ever had was Da Book, and it doesn’t even have any color pictures. Bo-o-oring, even in meetings it’ll put you to sleep.

MF: I see. Maybe we should consider publishing a new edition in board format. Trust me, your customers will go crazy for it. Board books are da bomb. Now, next question: What is your favorite flavor of pen?

RB: I think it’s probably Cotton Candy, because this place is a circus sometimes.

MF: I have no idea why you would say that, Pop. Hey, look, Arwen the greyhound is playing with the kitty! Hee hee! Wow, I don’t think the kitty likes Arwen, do you? Now — hey! Give that back! How come I can’t play with your “51” Flighter?

RB: Because you don’t have a pilot’s license.

MF: Geez! You are no fun. No fun at all. We need to jazz this place up some. I think you should design a fun new pen. You could call it the Mack the Boy Special!

RB: I don’t think they’d let me call it that. Everybody said “Columbia, The Gem of the Ocean” was too long. They shortened it to Columbia, but if they did that with “Mack the Boy Special” they’d call it Mack, but that’s no good because somebody would get it confused with a truck. And you know you like Fisher-Price trucks better.

Mack working on a nibMF: Well, that’s true. Although I like pretty much any trucks. In fact, I also think you should get a truck and start a mobile pen repair business. I could be your copilot! Isn’t that a great idea? Oh, hey, where’s that ink stuff again? I want some.

RB: Mack, get out of there! NOW! … Barbara, I need a roll of paper towels in here!

MF: Pop … Pop, don’t cry. I know Gran will be able to get that ink stain out of your favorite vest. She’s magic! And speaking of ink and stains, how come I use diapers and you have to use blotters?

RB: Gran would kill me if I put a diaper full of Omas Roma Blue in the washing machine.

MF: Oh, no, I don’t think she would do that. Gran is cool. That’s my new word of the day — do you like it? Anyway, you should try it sometime. I bet you could even get those special waterproof diaper wraps like the ones I have. They’re great — they have Velcro! I love Velcro. <rrriiiiipppp> Hey! Pop! Come on, dude, a guy deserves a few diaper-free moments in his day, don’t you think? Geez… . moving on … where was I? Oh yeah. Pop, when I take naps, I take my cars to bed with me. Do you sleep with your pens? How about your customers’ pens?

RB: Pens aren’t good to sleep with, if you cuddle them too closely they need diapers. And then you’re back to that washing-machine thing again.

MF: Gee whiz, you really are as uptight as they say. You gotta loosen up, Pop. Here’s something to think about: Exactly how much mayhem can I wreak in your pen studio before you decide to childproof?

RB: Didn’t we do this one already, just before Gran brought me the paper towels?

MF: Well, apparently I haven’t reached the limit yet. I’ll keep working on it. Now, any final words to your customers, now that I’m taking over the business?

RB: <gulp>

cover Further Reading: Harold and the Purple Crayon 50th Anniversary Edition, by Crockett Johnson

For those days when a fountain pen really doesn’t suit your style, this insightful tome chronicles the adventures of a kid and his favorite writing implement.

Freelance toddler Patrick “Mack” Fluckinger lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, and is the grandson of Richard Binder. His binkies have been found in car backseats, under church pews, and floating in dogs’ water dishes around the U. S. Please note: Any opinions stated in this column are Mack’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Richard Binder or this Web site. If you have questions, comments, observations, or suggestions for future columns, please write to Mack at Don Fluckinger
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