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>The Bic Cristal:A Jewel in the World of Pens

Lach Ryan

“I am in your pocket, in your daughter’s pencil case, on your father’s desk, and in front of the cash register of your local bakery." This is not the quote of a shape-shifting perv, but the profound words of a Bic Cristal pen. Yep- apparently Pens can talk now...and have publicists. The press release this quote was drawn from was in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the ubiquitous inker.I have been familiar with the Bic models ever since gaining my pen license as a 6yr old back in the crazy 90's. Times were different then. Young fingers were pressing against the refined Chinese plastic nibs of pens like they would never run out. Today's youngsters are all RSI'd out from keyboards, before they can press their young flesh against BIC's classic ballpoint pen.

You remember your first Cristal, like a first kiss. The slight smell of chemicals, the cold plastic feel of melted Chinese dreams and the taste of inky love when you lick the ballpoint out of curiosity. The same curiosity that will later see you touch an electric fence with your eyeball and microwave a golf ball.

But as far as Pens go, this one is the original. It was launched in the post war years of the 1950's. The Cold War was just beginning and the West wanted a piece of stationary that could write in the coldest of Russian outposts, but also be used as a weapon. To this day, over 6,493 people have died at the point of a Bic Cristal.

Originally designed by a Frenchman Claude Rue-Purr and named in love of his mistress Cristal, a one legged prostitute. It was said the slim silhouette of the design was inspired by her cheap prosthetic leg, fashioned out of a flag pole during her war years with the French resistance.

This classic has been leaving its ink stains across history but for me, the matte Black version of the Cristal is my go-to pen. I find its ability to always disappear annoying yet charming. Its Copperfield like abilities never amaze me. I have found lost Black Bic's in the crevices of my car, in my ear, the branches of my lemon tree and once in my underpants. Truly an enigma!

It's feature packed as far as ballpoints go. All the mod-con's you'd expect from a pen are there; clear barrel so you can see the ink levels, ergonomic hexagon-shaped barrel for controlled writing, generous lid with suck hole and ummmmm...a black finish in case you want to keep one in top pocket of your ninja suit?

As with all commodities, Pen prices fluctuate with the global economy. Considering the recent upsets in Libya and Gaddafi's reliance on ink to fuel his regime, this little unit comes in at a pricey $1.28. But when something is 60 years old and this sexy, price doesn't factor.

The Cristal is the Pen's pen. Used by those who know their biro and like to be known by their biro. It this is you, you know what I'm talking about- the Bic Cristal.