Pilot has been my pen brand of choice since sometime in the sixth grade. That’s a dozen years before I moved to Connecticut, where they were made. That added a patriotic element. The longtime Pilot president Ron Shaw, a former stand-up comic and salesman who, in his businessman philanthropist mode, was an especially artful chairman of the board of trustees for New Haven’s Shubert Theatre.
Pilot no longer is a Connecticut-centered enterprise, and this past summer marked the end of the grandest thing they’d stuck their name to that wasn’t a writing implement: the Pilot International Tennis Tournament. (The tournament will continue as a women’s-only event under the sponsorship of Yale and others.)
I still use Pilots more than any other pen—mostly the G2 retractable, but occasionally the Varsity disposable fountain pen and the classic razor point. I find the Dr. Grip a bit bulky and silly (when I am forced to think of a gripping, groping medical practitioner, I don’t want to imagine a pen as part of the scenario) and am still coming to terms with the new G7 models. I can’t comment on their ballpoint line, just their gel and roller ball pens, as I haven’t used a ballpoint in decades except under duress.
For me, the point of Pilots is that they have a range of sturdy non-ballpoints that tend not to leak when they accidentally get laundered. And when I’m in a strange mood, I can indulge with G2 variations like green or purple or light blue ink.
Especially green. Hard to find a trustworthy pen with dark green ink. So I was startled when browsing the writingware selection at the Playtime art supply store in Arlington to find two brands of green pen I had never encountered.
The Pentel EngerGel NV BL27 o.7mm ball Metal Point is tough yet lightweight, sleek yet not pretentious. Not as pretentious a Pentel, anyhow, as the EnerGel deluxe, described on the company’s website as “beyond the next generation.” The NV BL27 isn’t a dainty diary-keeping pen; you can stab someone with it, or scribble shopping lists on the back of a Netflix envelope.
The Yasutomo pen company’s Liquid Stylist Fine Point Pen says right on its fat tubular trunk that it’s “for drawing, sketching, illustrating, writing, cartooning.” I’d like to visit the lab where they rate such abilities. (“Nope, lousy at accounting, and definitely not recommended for spirographs. Let’s test it again for crossword puzzles.”) A softer tip than the EnerGel, and not as energized. I don’t think I’ll use it as often. I’m a little worried about it. But it pretty much dares you not to see it as an art object (rather than an object that makes art), since the clear plastic cap acts as display case for the stylish Liquid Stylist tip underneath.
Enough pent-up pontification. Now it is time for me to go draw some grass, or money.