When hands are injured or stiffened or made clumsy by arthritis or other illnesses, it’s easy to lose the capacity to write. Like speaking a foreign language, pen-and-pencil skills tend to remain sharp only to the extent they’re used regularly. Conventional writing tools can be difficult to grip, though, and holding on to them may require so much concentration that the effort to make notes becomes just too much.
This sleek ballpoint pen, the Ergo-Sof PenAgain, might change all that. Slip an index finger into the concave slot along the top, and it’s held lightly and naturally by the shape of your hand. Your thumb rests in an indentation on the side; the finger next to your index finger rests below. That middle finger has several options; mine prefers to lie along a small clip under the pen. Depending on the degree or type of impairment, it might also rest on the top right (or left) edge of the pen.
You don’t need to grip or hold this pen at all to keep it in place. The ergonomic shape almost requires that your fingers curve around the pen as if it belongs in your hand. The illustration on the package looks as if the demonstrator is holding the pen upright, more like a conventional implement, but I find that I write with the pen tipped considerably toward the right (I’m right-handed). It takes a minute or two to get used to the way this pen feels; it’s definitely different. Writing, though, is very easy and very natural. After a sentence or two, I found I could write in cursive or print without any trouble.
Years ago I had a much bulkier pen with a similar design. I thought it was terrific at the time, but it was metal (beautiful!) and so bulky and heavy that I was never able to use it comfortably. This model, the Ergo-Sof PenAgain, is extremely light, the surface is almost silky, and it seems to float weightlessly in my hand.
The point retracts; push on the cone-like tip to release it for writing. There’s a button (large enough to easily find and use) on the underside to retract the cartridge.
For the geeks among us (and anyone else who loves to have a pen in a shirt pocket), there’s a small, integrated clip on the bottom side. Even non-geeks will appreciate being able to clip the pen to a notebook.
And oh, yes, there’s the price: barely over $3.00 (USD) at Walmart. With two refills. Ergonomics without the big bucks — that’s a genuine deal in my book! (Or should I say ‘in my notebook’?)
Website: PenAgain (other models available, including a highlighter, which I haven’t yet seen in a store)
PSA: For those, who like me, may toss the packaging without noting refill information, the ErgoSof PenAgain takes these refills: Fisher Triple Action; Schmidt S600 Series; Staedtler Multi Action; Cross Micro Pen; Zebra Pocket Pen4c. Refills are shorter than those for standard pens.