If I had a son I’d be damned proud if he were someone like Drew. Full name, Andrew Muscarella. He is as decent, kind, honest, smart and patient a young man as God ever created. He is also a good witness to have when life throws you an unexpected curve.
It is 2004 and I am half way or so through a 1,000 mile bicycle ride around New York State to raise public awareness of brain injury when I find myself with an evening off Syracuse. Syracuse is Drew’s home town. He drove the support car for the ride that day and that evening I get a hankering to get my hands on a Mont Blanc fountain pen. Mount Blanc pens are reputed to be some of the best in the world, though I’ve not had much luck with the two I’ve had in life. They both leaked. They are also, at least for me and most, exorbitantly expensive. But when you are actually writing with them, they are truly magnificent.
Anyway, while I know I don’t have the money to actually buy one, Drew and I figure, what the hell, let’s go look at them. Hard, if not impossible to find in stationary stores, you’re more likely to find them in a jewelry store, which is exactly where we found them. In a jewelry store whose name, thankfully, escapes me.
They are in a glass case and look beautiful, especially this sleek black fountain pen. A young lady, a salesperson, glowing with authority and know how comes over to us.
“Can I help you"?” she asks sniffily.
“I was just looking at the Mont Blanc fountain pen,” I reply.
“Would you like to see it?”
She removes the pen from the case and hands it to me. “Best in the world, you know.”
“So they say.”
Drew, glowing with patience, says, “Nice pen.”
I say, “I had one of these but it leaked.”
She says, chin lifted a bit, as if she is donning patience to deal with the less informed, “They’re supposed to.”
Drew and I together, “Sorry?”
“They’re supposed to.”
I’m thinking I must be missing something, not understanding something, maybe a paragraph was spoken and I’d drifted off and now I’d returned and as a result of my drifting, didn’t understand what she meant when she said, “They’re supposed to.”
I say, “You’re telling us that a Mont Blanc pen is supposed to leak?”
“The fountain pens are, not the ball point or roller ball, but the fountain pens, yes. They have very special ink.”
I look at Drew, who I actually do love like a son, and his expression pleads with me not to do anything, well, outlandish.
I continue. “So let me get this straight. You say you’re selling the best pens in the world and that the fountain pens, the Mont Blanc fountain pens, are supposed to leak.”
“Yes,” she says, apparently happy that I’ve finally gotten my facts straight.
Drew says, “Maybe we ought to look somewhere else for a pen.”
I say to Ms. Authority Know How, “Sell a lot of them, do you?’
She says, “Not many.”
We leave. I’m glad Drew was there because I wouldn’t even believe me without a witness.