Hello, and welcome to my week-by-week review of everything in the world. Today I am reviewing the No. 2 pencil.

The most famous of all the pencils is the No. 2. The successor to the No. 1, the No. 2 has it all: graphite; an eraser; and a gripping area. Most notably, it has the innate ability to be recognized by Scantron machines – a popular machine that judges children’s answers on school tests. Without the No. 2, no one would be able to identify the smart children and the dummies.

Too often, No. 2 pencils have been discarded before fulfilling their potential. With more than an inch of the pencil remaining, people often say to themselves, “I want a longer pencil because the stubbiness of this one does not appeal to me.” Then the pencil is callously discarded into a waste bin. Who knows what works of art might have been produced by the remaining inch?

Which is why I went to the landfill to look for No. 2 pencils and see what I could write with them. Maybe I could write someone else’s famous novel! Unfortunately it’s really impossible to find an inch-long pencil at a landfill. I did find a couple of good shirts though. Not my size, unless I lose a few pounds.

For all its virtuous uses, the No. 2 pencil can also be used for some rather dastardly acts, such as stabbing someone. That happened to me a couple of decades ago. I was the stabbee, not the stabber. Here is a recent photo of the man who stabbed me with a pencil. If you see him, stay away.


To this day, a dark spot remains beneath my skin where the lead was dislodged.

For a long time after that I hated No. 2 pencils. Every time I saw one I would snap it in half to show it who was boss. And I would only write using a quill and ink set. This made me look sophisticated. Unfortunately it was easy to see all my mistakes. When I wrote a letter to a mean man and accidentally told him I was going to “lick his ass” (instead of kick his ass), I knew it was time to go back to the No. 2. You could write an entire death threat with a No. 2 pencil and then erase the whole thing. No one will ever know what you did and it’s very cathartic.

Please join me next week when I’ll be reviewing peanut butter.

Ted Wilson is a musician, good friend, and widower. His website iamtedwilson.com features all of his reviews (even the banned ones), exciting videos, a live interview with Ted on the radio, and interviews with some of the world's top celebrities! More from this author →