Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to school…Labor Day ,End of Summer..

Despite it having no inherent celebratory traditions that I am aware of, Labor Day manages to be one of the most widely recognized holidays in North America. Not because anyone actually spends time to appreciate the working class (which I think is the actual point), but because it is the official “end” of summer. There are no more family reunions, bonfires, impromptu visits to the beach, amusement parks, pool parties, road trips and all the other things that make summers the highlight of the year. Like the dull feeling of dread you get before you go to bed on a Sunday night, Labor Day heralds forth a new season that crams together and intensifies feelings of stress and worry into one shopping-packed month that will make you never want to set foot into a WalMart or Target ever again.
Buying supplies for young ones is easy. Other than new clothes and a backpack to replace the ruined one from last year, the usual materials will be pens, pencils, colored pencils, notebooks, marble notebooks, and just to be safe a pack of markers. When kids get older, say High School, teachers inexplicably get the urge to send you and your kids on a city-wide hunt to collect the most absurd and utterly arbitrary materials you have ever seen listed on a sheet of paper titled School Supplies. This tiring crusade, which could take a couple days to complete, is so time-consuming and exhausting that it makes you want to drive down to the schoolhouse and demand to know what your kids could possibly be doing with the items requested. (Why is it mandatory for them to have HB-H1 drawing pencils in Art 1? A shaded baseball should be the most complicated thing they’re drawing at that point, and it certainly doesn’t require the aforementioned materials.).
College students, on the other hand, face a whole other type of monster. In their case, it’s not so much the amount of off-the-wall materials or the time it takes to acquire them, it’s the cost. It’s my personal opinion that a major reasons kids don’t go to college is because no one in their right mind wants to pay $145.00 to rent a textbook on Medical Transcription Techniques that they will use, hopefully, at least three times before having to give it back.
Despite all of these seasonal stresses, there is undeniably something a little bit exciting – in the beginning, anyway – about restocking your shelves, backpacks and briefcases with Back-To-School materials. There will always be something gratifying about the smell and feel of crisp, factory manufactured, paper crinkling softly as you leaf through the pages. There will always be something comforting about opening a new pack of multi-colored pencils and momentarily debating which one you want to write with first. There will always – and this is as close as I can get to a guarantee – be a freeing feeling when your pen glides across your papers and leaves a distinctive flourish with every swish and swipe of the nib.
For the little ones, the Pelikano Starter Nib Fountain Pen’s light heft, sturdiness and eye-catching fluorescent colors make it a perfect starter for their journey into the world of education and fine penmanship. The Lamy Safari Lime Green Fountain Pen is a little narrower and more sophisticated, but its bright green barrel doesn’t let it lose an ounce of playfulness. For those who want something a little more sleek and chic, the Joy Calligraphy Fountain pen is the way to go. This beautiful expression of personality and individuality boasts a shiny black plastic body that is stylishly complimented by a bright red spring brass wire clip and a stainless steel nib. For the more conservative spenders, the Sheaffer Calligraphy Maxikit possesses everything you will need to be a master calligrapher. There are three pen color-coded nib grades (fine, medium and broad) and two ink cartridges per pen that all come together to create a product containing all the ideal instruments for calligraphers of every level. For those who wish to spend a little extra in a gift for a loved one going off to college or starting a new corporate job this fall, the Visconti Rembrandt Calligraphy Pen Set is a truly heartwarming gift. The set includes 2 German made palladium-plated nib sections (italic 0.5, italic 1.5 and medium), a bottle of black Visconti ink, 2 pen holders, a Visconti calligraphy booklet, Visconti blotting paper and three converters. Made from variegated resin, each pen is made unique through subtle marbling of color in a stunning replication of the Rembrandt painting technique, Chiaroscuro. No matter what you get – or don’t get, depending on how frustrated you end up getting – this Back-To-School season, make sure they’re items that make you feel just a little bit warmer inside when you pull them out on the first day of school. Items that make you feel, secretly, somewhere in a tiny long-lost corner of your heart, that you actually genuinely enjoyed supply shopping.
Until Labor Day rolls around again, that is.

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