Writing in the Stars

So my dad used to own a pen. I know, I know. A lot of dads have owned a lot of pens, so you want to know why this one is worth writing about. That’s fair. It probably isn’t the most alluring intro to a blog I’ve ever posted, but what is important is that this pen wasn’t just any pen.

It was a Fisher Space Pen.

You do know about the Fisher Space Pen, right? The pen that supposedly cost NASA one billion dollars to develop? The pen that can write in zero gravity, upside-down and underwater? The pen that has a Wikipedia page here? (Spoiler alert: the thing about the billion dollars is an urban legend and it isn’t true, but it does sound cool so let’s keep that legend alive together.)

My dad had one of these pens when I was a kid. It was shiny silver and shaped like an elongated bullet. I remember it having a little Space Shuttle near the top where a clip would usually sit. It could do all of the things that a Space Pen was supposed to do. Writing upside-down and on wet or grease-stained paper suddenly became an exciting opportunity… that I never actually took advantage of because the pen was my dad’s and he wouldn’t want me to spill grease on the dining room table in order to use his fancy pen. But still, the allure was there. A pen that had been used in space. Well, obviously not that one. I don’t think so, anyway. Although that would have been a fantastically valid reason for why I was so rarely allowed to use it…

After years of moving house and growing up, there eventually came a time when I couldn’t remember when I last saw that pen of my dad’s. Maybe he’d taken to hiding it. Maybe it actually had been to space and he’d secretly sold it to keep me up to date with the latest Lego sets and action figures (I was a bit of a spoiled brat in my youth). I don’t know where it went, but I will always remember that pen and how cool it was.

I was thinking about this the other day when I was suddenly struck with a fantastic realisation: I’m a grown up. More than that, I’m a grown up with an Amazon account.

I pulled out my phone and, within moments, I had a Fisher Space Pen in my basket and a gift certificate code punched in for the payment method. So now, sitting in an Amazon collection locker, a matte black Fisher Space Pen (I could have gotten an identical one, but this one is mine and I thought it should be different) waits for me to take ownership of it.

Just like that, something fondly remembered from my childhood is soon to be within my possession. It may be weird to put that kind of emotional weight on something as simple as a pen, but maybe that’s just how my mind works. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to pick up my brand new Space Pen and then immediately attempt to write something upside-down. Maybe I’ll even find some grease-stained paper…

The moral of the story, you ask? Although our wonderful memories of youth may be long in the past, sometimes you just might be able to buy a piece of it back.

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