Reaching Out


Collectors of logo pens (also known as corporate or promotional pens) are on the lookout these days for the new “Reach Out” pen, nicknamed by the cognoscenti as the Suicide Pen. The model that arrived on my desk is a simple click-ball, orange with a black barrel, slightly textured for easy grip in the left or right hand, the usual cheap plastic, and inside, the usual cheap refill. What gives this pen its unique charm is the phone number imprinted in black over the bright orange body: 1-8-SUICIDE. An immediate question: how is the suicide pen distributed? Is there a plan? Logo pens are usually purchased in bulk for widespread distribution. What market is such a pen designed to reach? I have been carrying this pen around for a week, trying to feel it out. I assume that if I am moved to self-murder I will reach out for help, advice, encouragement, etc., via the 8-number (which I have not yet called, even for investigative purposes). Another possibility, of course, is purely epistolary: with the Suicide Pen in my pocket, I am always well equipped for when the time comes, or for any time at all, to write my last farewell. But how did I get my own Suicide Pen? Why am I the only person I know who has one? A last question: what happens if I crush it between my teeth?

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