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You never know ... your own strength

from the fountain pen of Rod Ragner

I was stunned. I sat staring at the pen, if you could still call it a
"writing instrument." I knew what I had to do...

"Susan, this is Rod. I am an idiot." Laughter emanated from the telephone
receiver for an uncomfortable long period of time. I usually enjoy making
Susan laugh, but this was not one of those times. After her hysterics
subsided, I explained the reason for the call.

I filled my Avalon 12th Anniversary Commemorative (Bexley Sleeve Filler)
fountain pen for only the third time. After filling the pen with the
Private Reserve Orange Lightning limited edition ink that came with the
pen, I attempted to close the blind cap, but it would not budge.

I considered, for only a fraction of a second, sending the pen to Bexley,
requesting that they close the blind cap for me. But, then my male ego
reminded me that would be the equivalent of asking someone else to loosen
a jar lid for me.

So, I grasped the barrel with one hand and the blind cap with the other
and slowly and gently increased torque until ... the pen snapped in half!

It had not occurred to me that the weakest part of the pen was where the
barrel was cut out to expose the pressure bar glued to the rubber sac.
Actually, it had occurred to me, but only in the instant just before the
barrel broke.

After I explained the details of the destruction of the limited edition
pen, Susan said that she wanted me to repeat the story to Terry. So, I got
to relate my idiocy twice in the same telephone call. Terry told me to
send the pen to Bexley and Howard Levy would see what, if anything, could
be done to repair the pen.

I shipped the pieces to Bexley and it was returned almost immediately as
good as new! Howard replaced the barrel with the last Orange Lightning
spare and only charged me the standard $7 for return shipping.

I was not surprised by the generosity of Susan, Terry, and Howard, since
every encounter with them has been absolutely wonderful. But it did remind
me that not only do they have a great deal of pride in the products that
they make and sell, they also care about the customers who buy them - even
the extremely foolish ones. People who truly love fine writing instruments
have no better friend than Avalon and Bexley.

Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.

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