Friday, April 30, 2010

The Color of Correction

My Facebook friends have heard this already, but I'd like to share a rather amusing incident from my week.

I am a creature of habit. Not obsessively so, to be sure, but having a routine helps me to move through the day with minimal distraction. Granted, I can be particular: there are certain protein bars I prefer to eat for a mid-morning snack, certain brands of coffee I prefer to brew, and even certain types of pens that I like to use. Truth be told, I can be somewhat crazy about my pens: once I find one that works, I cling to it and seize any opportunity to acquire more of the same brand. There's just some sense of security I derive from knowing that I have 4-8 of my favorite pens in my bag, just in case the one I'm currently using fails to write.

This preference extends even to the pens I use to mark papers. Here I'm very particular. These days, I'm rather fond of the Pilot-brand Precise V5 RT Red Pen series. It's a clicky pen, so no cap to lose. Out of its handsome red-and-silver body springs forth a vibrant, yet thin, line of arterial-red ink. As an instrument of correction, it is as lovely as it is lethal.

Apparently, the virtues of the men of which I sing seem also to bother mightily some students and, consequently, their parents. I know this because this week a mother sent me a lovely gift: a small box will an assortment of colored pens. Ironically, she sent me what happens to be my favorite hand-writing pens: the Pilot EasyTouch Fine series of pens. Turquoise. Blue. Black. Purple. A little note accompanied the gift, reading: "Dear Mr. Duns. Red can be hard on the boys' eyes and hurt their feelings, so I thought you might try correcting papers in other colors."

Sure enough, as I looked again, I realized that my benefactor had bought the variety pack of Pilot EasyTouch  pens and, when placing them in the box, removed the red one from the series! (Note: this is no great loss. As nice as they are for writing notes, this pen series is not great for correcting because it is too thin and doesn't drive home the message of error well enough)

Moved by this gracious offering, I knew that I had to express my gratitude. I immediately returned to the Jesuit Residence, found some nice stationery, and set about writing her a thank you card...using none other than my trusty Pilot Precise V5 RT Red Pen.

Jesuit passive-aggressive behavior at its finest, I reckon.
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