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I have a lot of pencils.

Three overflowing mugs.

I lose them a lot, and my supply needs to be replenished often. The mugs, somehow, accumulate more pencils by the week, although I haven't bought any in a good five months. I can't remember the last time I bought pencils, to be honest. They turn up everywhere I look. Long pencils, short pencils, everything in between. Pencils with full erasers and pencils with no erasers. Sometimes the ferrules are dented and sometimes the ferrules are gone. A lot of pencils have things printed on them - "Adelphia Business Solutions", "Chanute Air Force Museum", "Community Education 558-3104". Some are souveneirs. Some are promotional items. Some are just novelties. But they're all my pencils. Over the years, I can't remember ever having run out of things to write with - although I've frequently been at a loss for a writing utensil, the mug (or case, or box) of pencils at home always had plenty to spare. Back in the earlier grades, I'd find quite a few. Not just pencils, either - I found pens, markers, crayons even. By third grade the crayons became less plentiful, replaced by the more sophisticated colored pencils. Mechanical pencils started coming up around that same time. But pens were a luxury reserved for the older students. They were unforgiving in their treatment of errors, and inconvenient to use until about fifth grade - which was when everyone had to use them. As I grew older, the steady stream of pencils began slowly dwindling, eventually coming to a slow trickle. In middle school, everybody carried their things with them from class to class. The occasional pen or highlighter could be found kicked into a corner, but supplies were kept fairly organized. In high school, of course, some actual effort had to be put into school. And more rights and responsibility in life meant nobody gave much of a damn about their pencils anymore. And neither did I, although I wasn't above stooping to recover a lost writing utensil. Nowadays, I can go to the store and buy a case of fifty pencils for a vastly insignificant sum. I don't see myself needing to anytime soon.

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