We have a glut of writing implements in our house. My wife and I have been doing some spring cleaning and came upon a long-overlooked drawer filled with dozens of pens and pencils that belonged to my daughter.

There was nothing fancy in there. We’re not the types to own a Mont Blanc. We don’t need a “closer” pen to sign important documents. I think the only time I ever owned an expensive pen was when I turned 13 and a relative bought me a Cross gold pen and pencil set. I’m positive that within a week, they were lost in my bedroom, probably under the bed. I was not impressed by them and couldn’t understand why anyone would ever need anything more than a basic ballpoint pen.

I still don’t.

What got me about the discovery of all those pens in the drawer is that, because we didn’t know they existed, we bought more and more of them each year our daughter was in school. It was part of the list of school supplies we stocked up on at Target each August. Papermate, Bic, whatever. The only brand name that mattered was whichever one was cheapest for a box of twelve. If only we’d checked that drawer (and under her bed, and her desk, and in the corner under the stuffed animals), we would have found a rich bounty of usable ballpoint beauties in blue, black, green, red, and other assorted colors.

It’s not like we have a lot of demand for them. Sure, we need one to do the NY Times crossword puzzle or when my wife writes a thank-you card to someone, but I can keep notes and shopping lists on my iPhone. I probably haven’t done any longhand scribbling since I got my first computer with a word processor thirty years ago (which also explains why my handwriting has gotten so much worse).

I can’t remember the last time I used up all the ink in a pen and needed a replacement. I don’t know what our life expectancies are, but based on our current supply, I’ll bet we never have to purchase another pen as long as we live.