An Ode to the Moleskine

Yes sir, that is my lovely lovely moleskine. Yes ma’am, that is indeed a binder-clip pen holder.

The moleskine is effortlessly classy, slightly pretentious and absolutely necessary. It keeps me sane. It gets me to do things. It makes me almost feel like a math genius — almost. (I say that because I do in fact know of two math geniuses who carry around moleskines to sketch the mathematical equivalent of doodling.)

1) Pretentiously classy

Find one at the Harvard Coop or the delightfully independent Bob Slate stationary stores. Carry one in your pocket, and impress others with your devotion to written word. You immediately signal: my thoughts are valuable, your words are valuable if I chose to jot your sayings down in my moleskine.

The unfortunate aspect of the moleskine is that it feeds into the cycle of images and appearances. No, Harvard students do not roll out of bed in sweats and go to class. Yes, you can find the occasional overly zealous Harvard student donning suits and fine shoes to class so that he may scamper off to an ibanking interview.

But ah, what to do? The moleskine — if you’ve ever owned one — is infinitely agreeable. A lovely smooth black cover, lovely fine tea-colored sheets of paper, it honestly makes me feel like the queen of stationary.

2) Ever useful motivation

Whenever I jot tasks down in my moleskine, I feel a greater urge to accomplish my to-do list. Or else, I think: Did I really waste such fine paper to create an idle to-do list? I am urged to think: Must accomplish. Must not waste.

Besides, how can you resist to write diligently in a little thing so pretty? I certainly can’t.

Disclaimer: I have always been a paper-and-pen-phile. I’ve loved all forms of fine papers and lovely pens. I swear I was THAT kid in elementary school that popularized milky pens.

3) Put those fancy pens from recruiting to good use!

When you’re being courted by the likes of UBS, Goldman, McKinsey, Lehman, Abercrombie, Bob and Frank — chances are, you get dibs on their finest expenditures on recruiting gear.

Sankaty Advisors ranks first with their pen. Beautiful, well-constructed. It is a red pen, not made of cheap plastic (but most likely some not quite as cheap composite material) that makes a delightful scratch-scratch reminiscent of the quill pen. It is an extraordinary experience to write with. I gave it to my boyfriend who fell more quickly in love with it than me.

The next splendid pen is produced by UBS — yes they may be writing down billions upon billions! — but their black pen — sleek and sexy — is rather exquisite. It has a certain weight, a heaviness that distinguishes it from say, the pens produced by Capital One (no offense to Capital One). It is accompanied by lovely silver accents.

Finally, the Morgan Stanley wireless-receiver pen deserves special attention. It is a pen that comes with batteries. You look bemusedly at the box and its contents. Figure out how to put the batteries in the pen like a good Harvard student, and then, you push the button, and stupidly, you stare at the blinking green lights.

Because you’re a Harvard student, you immediately think you know better than Morgan Stanley and call it both a waste of time, energy and natural resources. Shame on Morgan Stanley!

So, you kindly give it to your Harvard-enthused father who, within a second, realizes it is a pen that detects how strong the wireless reception is in the area of the pen’s use. Being a proud and arrogant (but thoroughly humbled) Harvard student, you let him begrudgingly have it, reasoning that it wouldn’t have been practical anyways.

Now when to use those lovely Sankaty Advisors, UBS and Morgan Stanley pens? When you’re doodling in your moleskine of course.

Pretentious, non?

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