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Bic Runs Dry

September 14th, 2013 · No Comments · Journalism, Sports Journalism

I like Bic pens. I’ve been using them throughout my professional career. “Medium black”, specifically. Nothing else will do. No fancy pens, and no blue Bics or “fine” points. Medium black, please.

One of the great French inventions that has nothing to do with food or wine.

Their attributes of Bic pens are many. Cheap, reliable, easy to find, easy to grasp. And cheap. Did I mention that? Perfect for the working journalist.

I have purchased hundreds and hundreds of Bic pens. And today something unusual happened with one I had been using.

It ran out of ink.

It is exceeding rare to encounter a Bic pen that is out of ink.

X percent (maybe a third?) of Bic pens are defective. The ink comes out of them in glops. It gets on your fingers. It smears on your notebook pages.

Seems like a higher fraction are bad, in recent years. I could be wrong.

So, those, you throw out.

Then there is the bigger fraction — those you lose or give away before they run out of ink.

Not that it’s a disaster to lose or throw out or “lend” a Bic pen. They cost, like, 19 cents each. And, generally, I carry two at a time. In the front right pocket of my pants. Not to mention the one or two in my backpack. So I have a backup at all times.

A time or two, one of the gloppy pens has gotten ink on my clothes. That is annoying. Yes.

But it also is a rare. Though not as rare as having your Bic run dry.

You can see the ink, inside that long hexagon, and most times it seems never to move at all. You write and write and it seems like it is two-thirds full. Forever.

I had one Bic I liked a lot. It emerged from the latest package of 10 I purchased. The ink came out perfectly. No splotches. Nice, even flow. Great ballpoint pen.

And just now, while compiling statistics for a fantasy baseball league … It ran dry.

I knew the day was coming. I could see no ink inside the “crystal” at all. But I hoped I could get to the end of the season. This pen was particularly handy because its predecessor, which I can look at in my stat book, was a splotch monster. Hated it.

How often do we get to a Bic that’s run dry? I can’t remember the last time it happened. Maybe one out of hundred? Unusual enough that I have been pondering the concept.

I feel like I should have some sort of ceremony. Say a few words. Carefully put it in the trash. Not just throw it.


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