I’m fascinated with history. I once took up smoking cigars because I was so taken by the image of some of the great men of history bending over map tables, stogie firmly clamped between their teeth while carving up nation states and changing the very course of human civilization. The power embodied in that captivated me. I got it into my head that I would actually better understand these men and their places in history if I too lit up (and, I thought it might give me a certain roguish appeal with the ladies). As it turns out, there aren’t a whole lot of ladies out there attracted to guys turning green, coughing, then puking, all while trying to discuss the intricacies of the Bismarckian alliance system.
I have, however, found a more useful and rewarding connection with history that holds little likelihood of my regurgitating the contents of my stomach while talking about Sykes-Picot or the Treaty of Versailles. Yes, I’m referring to fountain pens. Every time I pick one up I feel like I have history in my hand. The weight, the deliberateness of the writing, the flow of the ink…it transports me to another time. As useful as my laptop is, give me a stack of thick, woven paper, a bottle of ink, and my fountain pen, and you can keep the cigar.