Walking through the office supply store recently, I stumbled across a sleek, brightly colored piece of technology that I had never seen before.

Before this monumental discovery, I had thought that I was caught up on technology trends, but this must-have utensil has changed my life. Gone are my days of trying to type class notes into the “Notes” function on my iPhone. Adieu, signing greeting cards with my trusty Sharpie.

Now that I’ve discovered the “No. 2 Pencil” (apparently I missed the first edition), writing won’t be nearly as painstaking. The Pencil’s slim, smooth exterior makes it easy to grip, and its cheery yellow color serves as an aesthetically pleasing glint of happiness in a dull classroom.

The Pencil’s portability is another commendable feature. Its small size allows it to be conveniently transported in pockets or backpacks, and, unsurprisingly, the combination of its cylindrical shape and its trendiness has inspired a few avant-garde fashion statements: I’ve spotted people in the Commons wearing Pencils in their hair, behind their ears and tucked into tube socks. The utensil’s easy-to-tote shape is already being celebrated on the Augustana campus.

I admit I was initially alarmed after hearing a rumor that lead was used to form the utensil’s core. Do not be dissuaded from purchasing a Pencil based on this misinformation, though. After a bit of research, it became clear to me that the so-called “lead” used in Pencils is actually graphite, and therefore is non-toxic. Pencils, from what I’ve gathered so far, should be safe to keep around the house, even if one has small children or pets. It might be wise, though, to air on the side of caution until the utensils have been properly tested in home situations (point down, everyone).

While fiddling with my new gadget’s features, I did run across a few minor flaws. The Pencil comes with no instructions, so I was quite perplexed when the writing tip of mine wore down after only an hour of use. If not for my tech-savvy lab partner, I would have thrown it away and bought a new one, but she informed me that one can, in fact, purchase devices used for “sharpening” dulled points at most office supply stores.

Similarly, the pink, rubbery appendage on the end opposite the point was not explained by the Pencil’s packaging, but after a bit of trial and error, I discovered that it serves to eradicate marks made by the Pencil. Simply rubbing the pink part on the stroke that one wishes to eliminate makes the mark disappear, which is an impressive feature considering that it physically mimics a “delete” button. Be careful not to rub too hard, though, as I discovered that the rubber has a tendency to simultaneously break away from the Pencil and rip a hole in one’s French test. And no one wants their rubbers to break.

Truthfully, if I had known how high-maintenance and fragile Pencils were, I probably would have invested in a few more. Still, I am noticing Pencils appear more frequently on campus, so most people must be able to overlook the tool’s minor flaws in favor of its aesthetic design, portability, promise of safety and overall trendiness.