Why I Love my HB Pencil
There is a high probability that my pencil is defective, but I don’t care.
(No innuendo intended, for those who are already sniggering….)
As a creative chap, there is nothing like the feeling of scribbling notes with a sharp HB pencil. The distinctive woody smell lingers on your fingers, and the lead of the pencil flows onto the page to become something new.
No matter how high tech this world becomes, I will always stay true to my HB.
However, there is one frustration that has plagued my life, and no doubt the lives of countless other professionals, students and schoolchildren…. The pencil leads (which aren’t actual lead, but a material called graphite) rarely stay intact within the pencil and often break apart when the pencil sharpener gets to work.
Some days I spend more time sharpening than I do writing.
There have been a couple of attempts to rectify this issue, but they do not get close in my opinion. The automatic pencil filled with the “perfect” lead renews itself at the touch of a button – far too mechanical. Then, there is the stylus that transforms my scrawl into perfect text – where is the fun there?
They just don’t do it for me.
I have been using a particularly troublesome pencil today, but I persevere with all of them until they are little stubs. Why? Is it some weird obsessive compulsive disorder? Possibly. However, I have given it some thought, and I have come up with an answer (which is personal to me, in any case):
I want to give it a chance to fulfill its purpose. Hence the pencil shavings on my LinkedIn profile page.... signs of a life well spent.
Pencils are a gift from the earth. Each one is lovingly made from the wood of some tree somewhere. The graphite has been mined out of the ground at some quarry. You can’t get an everyday object that is much more natural. Nothing that natural deserves to be thrown away. If they break, then such is the way of the world, I’ll keep sharpening them.
I was considering my weird OCD, and it made me think about why I stand with my kids and listen to the beggar, playing on the violin for a few coins. Many are not just there for the money; they want to make people smile and play a role in the world, however small. That person was someone’s beloved son or daughter once. They may be temporarily down on their luck, but if they aren’t given a chance by other people, then they will never get back on their feet.
It is the same with job seekers. Circumstances have dictated that they are currently unemployed. They may not have been able to find a job for a while. They may not have the perfect CV as they struggled to find their role in life. Should you judge them and throw them on the rejects pile, assuming that they will “break” again? No, I hope that you would not.
There might be someone at work who has made a big mistake. Ok, so the lead in their pencil wasn’t so useful for a while, but does that mean that you will discount their skills and knowledge in the future? I hope not. Give them a second chance.
Everyone has the potential to lose their job. Everyone makes mistakes. All homeless people can turn their lives around. They need forgiveness for breaking, they need that chance of redemption. Will you be the one to give it to them?
Like the pencil, they still have a lot more to give.