It seems to be a law of ballpoint pens that the best ones inevitably disappear, leaving behind only inferior writing implements. Thus I have managed, over the past year, to lose three Fisher Space Pens (really the perfect all-purpose pocket pen) while the promising but ultimately disappointing Zebra Tele-scopic has somehow managed to remain in my pocket for months, obstinately not disappearing. And since it comes in a pack of two, I’ve got another one in my drawer as a backup. Argh! The Tele-scopic shrinks down to Space Pen size for pocket transport, while the dual barrel extends, telescope-like, to make a full sized pen when you’re ready to write; at the same time the point cleverly extends. Pushing it back down to shorter length makes the point retract. Neat! Unfortunately the point also seems to work its way out when the barrel is retracted and the pen is riding in my pocket. So far this hasn’t led to any embarrassing ink leaks but it’s annoying. Also the pen is just a touch too skinny and lightweight.

The Tele-scopic’s shortcomings are even more disappointing given that the Zebra F-402 is such a good writing implement — smooth writing, fine line, comfortable grip, and perfect for clipping into a notebook or organizer. Unfortunately both of my F-402s have disappeared too. At this rate I’ll be left only with Rollerballs (smeary, for lefties) and Papermates (blotchy, inconsistent lines and totally un-ergonomic).