I originally filed this on Twitter as a 16-or-so post thread. Someone liked it and suggested it should be posted somewhere less ephemeral. Here it is, in slightly expanded form.
This is my "no sympathy" thread for today. After a pretty crappy week, I'm just in that kind of mood. Deal with it
Let me start out by saying I'm not "poor." Struggling yes, at times, but so far I'm able to pay the bills, buy the groceries, eat out once in a while. Sometimes the dogs get trips to the vet before I get a trip to the doctor, but eventually it all works out one way or another.
I have a few "nice" things, some purchased in flusher times, some received as gifts. Mostly I make do with what I can afford for necessities; luxuries are few and far between. Everything gets stretched, pushed to the limits of its useful life and a little beyond. My car needs repairs -- again -- and it's not really cost effective to keep fixing it, but I can't afford to replace it right now.
Some months ago I picked up a treasure trove at a yard sale. An acquaintance had passed away and left behind a house full of "stuff." Though I didn't really need any more stuff myself and couldn't afford it anyway, I put in a supportive appearance. Nothing caught my eye until in a back corner of the patio I found something . . . interesting.
I love fountain pens, and this was a largish box of maybe half a dozen pens plus a couple packages of very nice writing paper and several bottles of ink. I asked the neighbor who was running the sale how much she wanted for the box of pens.
She asked me if $25 was too much. I said it wasn't.
The light was poor on the shaded patio, but I was able to determine one of the pens was a Waterman, so I knew I was at least getting my money's worth. When I hesitated, the neighbor added some more paper to sweeten the deal, and two more bottles of ink. I splurged – $25 is a splurge for me – and brought them home.
There were in fact two Watermans, though one was broken. The good one is available on Amazon for $75. I was more than satisfied that I had made a good deal!
Two of the other pens are handmade from exotic woods, value about $50 each. My deal got better. (One of them has never been used; it still has the protective cover on the nib.)
The fifth I had to do some research on. It was a Parker, stamped on the nib, so I guessed it was in the $40-$50 range. I was more than a bit shocked to discover it is in fact a Parker Duofold Centennial in pearl grey and black, with an 18kt gold nib. With the original box and paperwork, they run $500 and up on Amazon and eBay. Even without the packaging, identical models are listed on eBay for $350 and up.
I didn't even tell many people about my find. But most of those I did tell about it urged me to sell the pen and pocket the cash. Cash would've been nice, and I can always put it to good use.
But I love fountain pens. My daughter gave me one when I graduated from college in 2000, and I used it all the time, to the point that the finish was wearing off the outside! I hated to stop using it, but I didn't want to wear it out completely either. I could never afford to buy one like the Parker for myself, or even the Waterman. This was beyond special.
So I kept it. I write with it. I love it. It's one of the very, very few really nice things I have.
Sometimes, it's the only thing that keeps my spirits up. It reminds me there are nice things out there, and sometimes we poor people get them. Not often, but sometimes. And if we give up, if we stop looking, if we stop trying and hoping, we'll never find them.
I've had a particularly difficult week. I've tried to keep up with my reading, but it hasn't been easy. And I haven't had time to write the reviews of the books I've read or post my pages for the Booklikes-opoly game. Current politics -- I won't go into details -- have had a lot to do with it, and I've had it up to my eyebrows with the "let them eat cake" attitude of certain people in my immediate personal environment.
So I wrote this thing for Twitter, as a way to just say the hell with those people.
If you are "rich" and are bashing the "poor" for any nice things they have, suggesting that they be like Fantine and sell everything they have until they have nothing left, not even their dignity, please kindly shut the fuck up.
If you are "rich," you already have more than your fair share. We will keep what little is ours, thank you very much, not.
I'm going to keep my $350+ Parker Duofold Centennial fountain pen, and I'm going to continue to write with it. Every once in a while one of us scores, too, and we deserve it!