I FOUND A BAG MARKED “ADVERTISING PENCILS” at a thrift store outside Tucson, stuck between dated advice books on aging and busted workout equipment. Many of these pencils, like so much in Arizona, originated elsewhere (Wisconsin, Missouri, Maine).
Aside from books/music/media, ancient freebies are all I care to shop for anymore (everything else just feels frivolous). They remind me of my grandfathers’ 1970s home offices, where stuff like this accumulated on deskpads and windowsills: free calenders, free keychains, the occasional free calculator. I’m wistful for a time when this was all the marketing a small business needed; “viral” before it was annoying. This is a new sub-genre in my collection of “gimmes,” which includes buttons, playing cards, and hundreds of logo mesh caps, my original obsession.
Are any of these guys still in business? Buchholtz Mortuary is still kicking (if not its customers), but the University of Arizona’s Challenges of Maturity program hasn’t been heard from since ’82. One for the Pen Cup of Broken Dreams.
Yup. This is a blog post about some pencils. But what pencils! (click for a ginormous view)