Bahr: Pens are superior to pencils

Connor Bahr

Imagine this: You have just scrambled out of bed at 7:45 to make it to your 8 a.m. halfway across campus, when you realize that you only have one writing utensil. Would you rather it be a pen or a pencil? For me, I would have a pen over a pencil. Here’s why:

There are many reasons why the pen is a superior writing utensil to a measly pencil. For starters, it was Edward Bulwer-Lytton who said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”  If you look closely at the quote, you can see that he did not mention anything about a pencil. This is simply because pencils are terrible.

The biggest draw between a pencil and a pen is the color. Pencils are often light gray, sometimes hard to see, and easy to write over. One has to squint to see the weak, faint markings of a pencil! Pens are bold, letting their color sink deep into the paper.

Sharpening a pencil can be an even bigger pain than trying to write with it. Half of the sharpeners don’t work or are conveniently located across the lecture hall. After making the agonizing walk around all the people in your row, feeling the stares of your peers as you interrupt their class time, and then sitting through the deafening noise of wood on metal, you may get back to your seat only to realize that the tip of the graphite is loose, or that you sharpened too far. With pens, not only does one never have to endure the torture described above, but most pens also use refillable tubes of ink, meaning that after using a pen to its fullest extent, one may buy what is basically a brand new pen for half the price.

However, you shouldn’t simply trust the words of a stranger. Let’s take a look back at history. Many famous documents have been written and signed in pen. The Magna Carta, for example. Closer to home, both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were written and signed in glorious pen. Take a moment and imagine if these documents were written in pencil. By now, 200 years later, we wouldn’t know if we had the right to “free speech” or “French spinach”. “Me The Pepper” would have been the one to declare independence from Great Britain.

The main reason people despise pens is the fact that they can’t erase. For those people, I would tell them to look at buying erasable pens. For the rest of us who don’t care for the hybrid that is an erasable pen, I would have to say that scratching something out with a pen is quicker and, contrary to popular belief, neater. When writing over an erased pencil mark, the light pencil writing is often lost in the gray smudge that was once a word, while scratching something out with a pen offers an open, clean space with which to write the intended word.

Pens are simply better in almost every single way when compared with pencils. Now, if I could only stop losing them.