I spotted my classmates, Lennie Chua and Ching Ching, at Krispy Kreme this afternoon. They saw that I was alone, so they invited me to their table. They always make great company.
As our orders were served, the waitress gave us survey forms to fill out. With these survey forms were three pencils: freshly sharpened, the tips about the size of a dot. As she collected the forms, I asked if I could take one pencil home. She said yes without even thinking. I was thrilled.
I'm a fan of pencils. I feel smarter when I use them, especially when I do a lot of thinking—as in the 1996 movie, Harriet the Spy. When I write, I make lots of erasures. Pencils come in handy in those instances.
For our exams, I use a Uni Shakalu 0.5 mechanical pencil. It has been with me since high school. I like mech pens because the strokes are thinner and more consistent. But, to me, mech pens feel a lot more like ball point pens than the real, typical pencils—those that need frequent sharpening.
Pencils remind me of my childhood.
—A favorite pencil was Mongol Number 2. When I exhausted the eraser at the opposite end, I would release the remaining parts hidden by the metallic support through chewing.
—I stabbed a kindergarten classmate in the arm with a blunt pencil. That classmate was a girl. Imagine my horror when I saw the blood coming out. Even so, I was convinced that she deserved it. (I met Arianne Taborete last year in a christening party in which her mother asked me if I was Lance Catedral, and I said yes, and the said mother asked if I still remember her daugher, "'yung sinaksak mo dati"—her words exactly.)
—My father hit my right hand with a black, fat pencil because I was too stubborn. I refused to fill a page with my complete name; this exercise was meant to develop my handwriting. The said pencil got broken in two. I've had excellent handwriting since then. Well . . . until med school.