My babies, at long last
Wednesday 2 July 2014, 10.01pm HKT
6pm local time, 33°C (91°F), flamin’ hot and bothered
AT long last, I’ve finally found the two babies I’ve been searching God’s Green Earth for.
You got babies somewhere?!
How irresponsible could you be?!
(click images for full size)
These are the babies I’ve been searching high and low for.
Ga-ga-goo-goo baby fatso ballpoint pens, 65mm (2½ inches) in overall length.
Kugelschreiber (German). Stylo bille (French). Penna a sfera (Italian).
Got these for a tenner (US$1.29 or 75p UK) at the Salvation Army shop.
The Sally Ann peeps didn’t know what they were and had never seen the likes of them before.
The first one is blue resin with red spots like the Giant Red Spot on planet Jupiter.
Original retail market unknown.
I reckon it’s for Central and Eastern European markets, judging from the word “Papeteria” (‘stationery’ in Polish) and the German, French and Italian languages on the back of the packet.
The second one is bright red resin with dark blue spots like those molten wax lamps of the Swinging Sixties.
I like the red one more, but you lot probably knew that already.
They look like caricatures of my own Schoen ballpen.
(Sorry, didn’t have a banana handy for scale.)
Imagine me pulling out my full-size Schoen, and then a Migros.
Good for a larf, innit?
Happily, economically speaking, both my Schoen and the Migros use dirt-cheapo standard refills.
Middle pair — steel mini pens (ballpen and mechanical pencil) from Zebra of Japan,
with the Migros and Schoen for scale.
I’ve been looking for the Migros babies for well nigh on 20 years!
Gee-whizz, twenty years!
The last time I’d seen this exact kind of baby fatso pens was around 1990 in Ocean Terminal (on Kowloon side), for HK$560 each (US$72, £42 or €53) — outFQQNrageous.
Why are these made in the first place? Aren’t they a bit … tiny?
More importantly, why the hell do I want a baby fatso clickety-click ballpen?
That’s what the Sally Ann lady was asking me.
Prevention of punctured groins in young schoolkids.
In the not-too-long-ago olden days, young schoolchildren had all their writing materials provided for by the school, precisely to prevent that kind of accident from happening. Ergo, baby fatso pens for the literate kids.
I’m not young, I’m no skoolbrat, and my groin is no more.
For the handbag or when in shirt-sleeve order.
Well-appointed ladies and gents in the old days usually had “mini pens” on them (like the stainless steel Zebras in the photo), especially in summertime. Cary Grant in “North By Northwest” (1959) was using a Zebra-style clutch pencil to write a secret message to Eva Marie Saint.
I don’t have a handbag, but I’m sometimes in shirt sleeves.
Good for jeans … and showing off.
By the 1980s, it became fashionable for young men to wear jeans with a dress shirt, tie and blazer. Baby fatso pens made of expensive-looking acrylic resin became a nicely pretentious way to show off.
“Are you actually going to use one of these things, ak-choo-ully?”
Probably not. “Heirlooms of the Future” I reckon.
- Ballpoint pen
- Clutch mechanism
- Acrylic resin holder/barrel
- Chromed furniture of base metal
- Overall length 65mm (2½ inches)
- Widest diameter 12mm (ca. ½ inch)
- Made in India
- Two pens per packet
- Original retail price unknown
- Distributed by Migros
Migros France S.A.
Migros Deutschland GmbH
Migros M-Infoline +41 0848 84 0848 (Switzerland hotline)
Website: www.migros.ch (German, French and Italian only, no English)
All images by me. Free to reuse and share.