We Must Remember To Cap Our Nation's PensCommentary • patriotism • Opinion • ISSUE 43•27 ISSUE 31•18 • May 14, 1997 By Neil Rackhouse Jr., Patriot Neil Rackhouse Jr. Patriot My friends, a foul pestilence sweeps across this land. In every citizen, there breeds a hateful cancer of indifference. Heed my words well: Cap all pens, lest the tips dry up and become unusable! Ink is the precious lifeblood upon which our country was built. Without ink, publishers would be hard-pressed to imprint any words at all onto their products. Perhaps they could imprint thin, letter-shaped wafers of plastic onto the paper by a process similar to offset printing, but even then, the letters would likely flake off when the paper was bent. Indeed, ink is vital to the stability of a free democratic state. And how do we thank this precious fluid for its service? By leaving the caps off of pens when we are finished with them. Do not look away when you read these words! You know I am talking about you! How many times have you set down a pen without properly recapping it? Think on this, and do not blame our nation's problems on "those other people" or "those bigwigs in Washington." No, we are all responsible. Except me, of course, for I always recap my pens. Imagine a scenario. You are sitting at home when the President of the United States telephones and requests your presence at the White House to receive an award for patriotism. You tell him you are eager to accept, and he gives you detailed directions to the White House. You reach for your favorite Bic "round stic" medium-tip ball-point pen to take down the driving instructions, but all you can do is scrape, scrape, scrape the tip against the memo pad, leaving no marks. Only after it is too late do you realize that in your haste, you left your pen uncapped the night before. You reach for a new pen—which you will probably not take good care of either—but it is too late. The president has hung up on you. In all my years of pen usage, be it a Bic or a PaperMate or a Pentel Rolling Writer, never have I seen a pen with a cap that did not fit snugly upon the pen's blunt rear end, and remain there even in the face of the most vigorous shaking. Yet when I think of all the uncapped pens I have seen, I wonder if their owners had actually thrown the caps out, believing them to be a useless byproduct of the manufacturing process. Well, let me assure you, the cap is most definitely there for a reason. If I had my way, one would be able to write while a pen is capped. The cap could then be permanently affixed to the pen hull, and there would be no uncapped pens anywhere. Perhaps science will someday develop such a pen. But even then, there would be a sense of loss. I could never again enjoy the patriotic glow I feel from sliding the cap onto my pen, knowing I am preserving precious ink for God and country. In such a world, our children's children would grow up knowing only self-capped pens, yawning and rolling their eyes as we old-timers prattled on about the olden days of manual pen cappage. But this is no time to dream about the future. It is a future that will never arrive if we squander our resources, bartering ink for a few extra seconds of leisure time. No excuses! Cap your pen! Please ponder these truths, and God bless the United States of America.