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  • Writer's pictureMarla Coppolino

Pencil rescue: because every pencil deserves a second chance

A street pencil, in need of rescue.

Yesterday, while walking on a cool, mixed precipitation sort of wintry day at around 1:35 pm, I happened upon an injured pencil on the street. Remarkable to me was its length; it looked hardly used before it met its fate as a street pencil.

I picked it up. I noticed that the brand name and other text had worn off and guessed that the pencil had been out in the snow for some days. At first I thought it had only superficial abrasions, but upon closer inspection, I realized that the pencil had suffered a severe fracture.

A severe fracture. The only humane thing to do was to snap the pencil in two.

The fracture went through to the lead and was not repairable. I had to perform the quick but humane pencil snap manuever to create two pencils from the one.

Next I bathed the two pencil pieces in warm, soapy water. Then I patted them dry on a towel, followed by a brief treatment with the hair dryer on low setting.

Using a Dremmel tool, I sanded the jagged, broken end of one of the pencils to make it nice and even and smooth.

I bathed the pencil pieces in warm, soapy water.

The final steps to bring the pencils back to life: I capped the Dremeled end of one pencil with a new, white eraser. Then I sharpened the points of both. For the pencil piece that has its original eraser, I had to do more sharpening than is ideal, because the lead had actually been fractured several times within the wood. I finally got a point that wouldn’t fall out.

I used a Dremel tool to sand down the broken end.

These lovely new pencils are now back in service, ready for more scratches onto paper that might turn into drawings or poems or stories. Yet I must wonder – whose pencil was this? Did she or he miss it? What had they written before the pencil ended up on the street? What stories do these pencil pieces have to tell?

If only pencils could talk… what do you think they would say?

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