The mini-pencil phenomenon
Having spent the better part of last week in the hospital with my newborn son, who we (finally!) officially named Jack Nathaniel Israel (thanks everyone for your help on that!), I can report the following: there are more mini-pencils floating around Labor & Recovery than there are swaddling blankets and burpies.
You wouldn't exactly expect the mini-pencil to flourish in a hospital, but they seem to be as popular there as they are in bowling alleys, golf courses and Ikea. I looked around for some history of the fabulous mini-pencil, but came up dry. I did discover, however, that the majority of pencils have been painted yellow since the 1890s. Why? Because at that time the world's best graphite was produced in China and in China, the color yellow is associated with royalty. Apparently American companies started coloring the pencil casing so consumers knew the graphite was top-notch. (My favorite pencil, however, is the Blackwing 602, which is grey on the outside and which, sadly, is no longer in production.)
So mini-pencils: Ikea, hospitals, golf courses (regular AND, of course, miniature), bowling alleys"¦ where else have you seen them in action? There are probably a lot of other places that use 'em, right? Let's get a nice-size list going of all the places you've seen these suckers in action in place of the regular-size pencil.