Friday, October 28, 2011

John Gruber's Favorite Pen

If you don't know John Gruber, you aren't missing a whole lot.  He's a minor Internet celebrity.  He is not on the level of Wil Wheaton or Felicia Day, but he is kind of like a less creepy Richard Stallman.  A lot of people turn to Mr. Gruber to learn why the Yankees are awesome or why WordPress sucks.  He is generally regarded as a person who does take time to make well reasoned analysis on all things Apple from time to time, but that's all boring mish-mash when you are visiting a blog about Office Supplies.

On October 11th he posted to his site, Daring Fireball, about his favorite pen.  Anybody who takes the time to write anything about a pen is okay in my book.  He claims that the Zebra Sarasa 0.4mm Push Clip is his favorite pen and anybody who is not buying pens imported from Japan is not using a very good pen. While I agree with him on many things I have to disagree on this particular issue. There is no reason to waste money buying pens imported from Japan for $2.20 when an almost identical pen, for the average user, is available for less than $1 (when bought in a box of 12).

I would like to first go on the record as officially stating that I have never used the particular pen that Mr. Gruber is referring to, but that I have use many pens, and many are similar in style to his favorite pen.

First, I agree that no pen, dollar for dollar, beats a Zebra Sarasa.  I accidentally took the last Zebra Sarasa that I had at the office home and gave it to my waitress that evening.  The next day I tried to just use a Pilot G2, but it didn't take long before it put a nice big blob on my paper that I stuck my hand in and smeared all over.  In a fit of rage I threw the pen (lightly) to the carpet on the other side of my office and went scavenging for a replacement Sarasa.  Luckily, I found a few sitting unused in my neighbors drawers that they'll never miss (shhhh).  Coincidentally, when I came into work the next day there was a Zebra Sarasa multi-pack waiting for me.

The extra big clip on the imported Sarasa is kind of cool, but is it really worth it?  How often do you actually clip you pen to a small book?  The standard single plastic clip piece works for me just fine.  With a 0.4mm tip is the imported pen's tip really that much different from the 0.5mm version?  Not enough to convince me to pay double.

Everybody gets to have their own favorite pen, but the important thing is to make sure that if you lose your pen you won't feel like your world will come to an end.  So when you accidentally give your pen to the tow truck driver do you want to be out $2.20 or $0.89.  I'll gladly take two of the 0.5mm standard Zebra Sarasa pens over one 0.4mm fancy Zebra Sarasa any day.