If I were playing a word association game with a therapist right now, and he said "pencil," two things would come to mind:
1. Wrestler Freddie Blassie. I'm sure we all have our own personal memories of Classy Blassie, but I loved him as the manager of Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Sheik. Greatest trio of all time. Freddie was most known for calling people "pencil neck geeks", which is a wonderful insult I use frequently.
2. One of my (many) old boyfriends used to always tell this tale of violence from middle school. The class bully spent the duration of an indoor recess sharpening a pencil to ultimate perfection. It was so sharp you couldn't even touch the tip or the razor-like graphite would slice your finger wide open. He went back to his desk before recess was over and delicately placed the pencil, eraser down, on the seat in front of him. I think we all know where this is going, and twenty years later some pencil neck geek in Worcester is short one testicle.
Overall, pencils are tools for nerds and people too chicken to work on a crossword in pen. Until I ran across Dalton M. Ghetti, I wouldn't use a pencil if it were the last writing utensil on earth.
Ghetti is a sculptor from Brazil who carves pencil graphite into tiny, intricate works of art from his Connecticut home. He uses a sewing needle, razor, and modeling knife to turn the tips of discarded pencils into interlocking hearts, skeleton keys, or letters of the alphabet. I came across his website a couple nights ago when I was cooked on Advil PM and my mind was completely blown.
It typically takes about two months to finish a pencil, although the interlocking chain number above took over two years. The best part is, Ghetti doesn't sell any of his work, he simply gives them away to friends or museums. He is a carpenter who remodels houses, and just carves up pencils as a hobby. Do you know what my hobbies are? Spooning my basset hound and watching apocalypse documentaries on Netflix. Kill me.
Normally, I think art is wicked lame. One of my gal pals just told me about some performance art piece Gawker posted of a fat chick slipping in butter for twenty minutes. As if fat people aren't disgusting enough. I even went to the MoMA last week with a gentleman caller, but to be fair, I was more concerned with figuring out a way to hold hands than observing the artwork. However, thanks to Dalton M. Ghetti, I now realize that art isn't just for pencil neck geeks, and pencils are more than just an instrument of violence. Who knew?