Today was supposed to be a review of the Yookers Metis pen, but I decided to push that back a week or two, and come to you with a direct appeal: Take Care of Yourself.
There’s an old tercet (a literary grouping of three lines) attributed to the ancient Rabbi Hillel which goes as follows:
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
And when I am for myself alone, what am I?
And if not now, when?
The meaning here, like much written by ancient rabbis, is as much in the method as in the message. The big takeaway, the reason why I bring this quote up at all, is based on the order in which the lines are presented. You have to take care of yourself first. If you don’t take care of yourself now then you won’t be able to care for others later when they need you.
We are living through tumultuous times. Many of us are confined in our homes, if not under a full lockdown then still under social distancing protocol that can feel supremely isolating. Events that we spend all year looking forward to are being cancelled. Work and education and childcare are all at risk or even completely gone already. And to top it all off, there is a crazy scary infectious disease out there necessitating all of the above.
But there are also simple guidelines to control what you can control. The biggest thing is don’t spend time physically around other people any more than you have to (running errands for essential items, going in to work if you can’t work from home, etc.) The next biggest thing you can do is help others in your community who are more at-risk (the elderly, the immunocompromised, those with other exacerbating conditions) to avoid exposure by offering to run their errands (and make sure to avoid direct contact when dropping anything off for them.) Check in on your loved ones, and even folks you just like a little bit, especially if you think that they might be isolated by themselves and just need a reminder that there are other people out there thinking about them.
And if you find yourself feeling isolated and alone and need to hear a friendly voice, send me an email at Evan@Penquisition.com. I’m happy to listen about how the dog two doors over is so loud you can’t hear yourself think, or how you love your kid so much but hiding in the closet is the only way you can get work done, or just that you’re scared and don’t know what else to say.
The way that we get through this is by taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. The last time that there was a pandemic on this scale we didn’t have the communication tools that are available to us today. Let’s use them to make sure that we all find a safe path through.
And if you prefer more analog communication tools, especially if you’re out on the front lines and want to carry a pen with you, remember that copper and its alloys (like brass) are naturally antimicrobial. It’s a small thing, but one thing you can do to take control is swap out your regular EDC for a copper or brass pen. I gathered up my Copper Karas Kustoms Ink rollerball (review here), my Brass Kaweco Sport (review here) and my “Key edition” Brass BaronFig Squire as examples of antimicrobial pens. Each of these brands have multiple offerings in these materials, as do many others. Just be careful when choosing a pen that the grip section is actually copper or brass, as some pens out there have metal caps and barrels with plastic sections.
Even just carrying your own pen so that you aren’t sharing a communal one while signing a receipt can make a difference, so don’t worry if your pen isn’t an antimicrobial metal. Use a pen that brings you joy, and use that joy to empower yourself to be there for others. Now is the time when others need you most.