Even by the standards of fake trend pieces in the The New York Times, today's column in about "The Demise of the Pen" in—where else?—the fashion and style section is exceptionally breathtaking in its presumptuousness. Join me now and marvel as writerer Nick Bilton turns a moment of sheer banality into a full-blown bullshit assessment of cultural momentum.
The pen is dead. It was murdered by the finger.
In the sun room. With the fingernail. CURSE YOU, FINGERNAIL!!!!!!
But how did you solve the crime, Mr. Bilton? I must know your deductive reasoning…
I first realized this last week when my girlfriend asked to borrow a pen to sign the back of one of those paper check things.
An ominous sign indeed. "Sweetheart, can I have a pen to sign the thing with the thing? You know what thing I mean."
"Oh sure, lemme just…"
"OH MY GOD THEY KILLED AND DISMEMBERED IT THE HORROR!"
"Sure," I replied, picking up my laptop bag to rummage inside. I pulled out a succession of rectangular-shaped gadgets…
...but there was no pen to be found.
My God! No pen! Anywhere! How could it have simply vanished without a trace?
"Hmm, maybe we have one upstairs," I said as we both began a detective-like search for anything that resembled a vessel for ink. We scoured the home office, kitchen drawers, bedrooms, even looking through our cars. But again, no pen.
Well, now I'm terribly worried. Was the pen unhappy? Was it on drugs? Did it run off with the bassist from Bulletboys? We need to call the police and file a missing pen alert this very moment.
Anyway, this is where Bilton has a moment of remarkable clarity
After backtracking to figure out when I last saw a pen in the house, I realized it had been more than two months.
Missing for two months, and he hadn't even noticed. What does this say about the MONOCULTURE? Surely, the fact that you can't find a fucking pen is something you can extrapolate to the other 6,999,999,999 people living on Earth. I cannot find a pen. Can anyone find a pen? No, no one can find a pen anymore. All of the pens have been raptured. The pen Leftovers has come and gone and you didn't even notice.
While my home is filled with multiple laptops, smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices…
Oooh fancy you.
…there isn't a single pen to be found. No ballpoint, fountain or rollerball. No highlighter, marker or even an itty bitty nub of a pencil.
No mechanical pencil. No magic markers. Not even one of those those pens that lets you choose between four colors, which I totally thought would get me laid back in sixth grade. NADA. Just me and my flying robot maid.
Rumors of the pen's demise have been around for almost two decades.
"Dude, did you hear about the pen?"
"If you play Dark Side of the Moon backwards and run it concurrently to The Wizard of Oz, you hear the words THE PEN IS DEAD."
The PalmPilot and early tablets were supposed to finish it off, replacing it with a pen look-alike called the "stylus." That fake plastic thing proved to be slower and more expensive, however, so the pen lived to scribble another day.
But for me, the pen has finally lost its usefulness to the finger and the touch screens it controls.
The "for me" is really the key here. The pen died FOR ME. Which means it died for you, because Nick Bilton is the master template of human existence. If he has a really good piece of cheese tomorrow, you will love cheese. This is how it works.
Unlike pens, fingers don't run out of ink
FINGERS HAVE NO INK THIS IS AWFUL.
Until recently, financial transactions were among the last holdouts for the pen. But these days I pay my utility bills by opening an app and signing a screen. When I go to my local coffee shop, I sign an iPad with my finger.
The same finger you used to murder the pen in cold blood, I imagine. What other horrible deeds has your finger perpetrated, good sir? They call it fingerblasting for a reason!
Theory, Apple and dozens of businesses I interact with have all eliminated pens (and styluses) in lieu of a finger and a screen. And, a couple of months ago when I bought a new home, I signed every document but one (which needed a notary public) using my iPhone. Think about that: I bought an entire house on my smartphone.
Well, la di fucking da, Mr. Future. LOOGIT ME BUYING A HOUSE WITH MY FINGER WHICH CAN ALSO KILL PEOPLE. I HAVE MANY GADGETS.
So it is with a heavy heart that I must bid the pen adieu.
So true. Goodbye, pen! Oh wait…
Oh, well this is awkward. I kinda thought you would fuck off by now.
But don't fret; the finger is here to take its place.
The soulless, psychopathic finger, which knows nothing of rules or etiquette and probably buried the pen in an unmarked grave.
Or, to quote a proverb often used at the end of eulogies, "What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning."
Are you saying the butterfly's mouth is stitched to the caterpillar's asshole? Because that's what it sounds like. I need to draw a schematic of this. Does anyone have a pen?
Image via Getty