Real Men Carry Pocket Notebooks
No matter the time or place — except, perhaps, swimming and sex — I have a pocket notebook on me. I use it to jot down everything from grocery lists, random ideas that come to me, directions to wherever the fuck, girls’ phone numbers (they find it quaint) and reminders to watch a certain movie or read a particular book.
(That said, for whatever reason, I rarely open the notebook to actually read something in it; it seems like the act of writing down something makes me remember it, meaning I very rarely have to check back in the book.)
Now I know what you’re saying. “Rick, you’re a writer. Of course you’re going to carry around a pocket notebook. Me, though. I don’t need one.” And that’s where I say you’re wrong, fictional person I just made up. Everyone who’s everyone carries pocket notebooks around.
To prove my point, the great people over at The Art of Manliness have put together a list of the Pocket Notebooks of 20 Famous Men. Here’s the entry on one of the manliest men of all time, Mark Twain:
Twain’s first pocket notebooks were purchased in 1857 at the age of 21 during his training to become the “cub” pilot of a steamboat on the Mississippi River. He felt confident that the job would be fairly easy to learn but found he could not remember the instructions his teacher, Horace Bixby, imparted to him. Bixby advised Clemens, “My boy, you must get a little memorandum-book, and every time I tell you a thing, put it down right away. There’s only one way to be a pilot, and that is to get this entire river by heart. You have to know it just like A B C.” Clemens accepted Bixby’s advice and thus began a lifelong relationship with the pocket notebook.
Twain kept 40-50 pocket notebooks over four decades of his life. He often began one before embarking on a trip. He filled the notebooks with observations of people he met, thoughts on religion and politics, drawings and sketches of what he saw on his travels, potential plots for books, and even ideas for inventions (he filed 3 patents during his lifetime). Many of his entries consist of the short, witty, pithy sentences he is famous for. He felt that if he did not write such things down as they came to his mind he would quickly forget them. He would also record little snippets in his notebooks of what had happened that day, such as what he had eaten and who he had seen. And finally, he wrote dirty jokes in the back of them.
So, head over to your local stationary or book store, spend a few bucks, and get yourself a nice pocket notebook. Just not one with kittens on the cover.
Here is another article related to the subject: https://www.tsbmag.com/2010/01/19/don%E2%80%99t-forget-lube-the-five-essentials-every-guy-should-carry/
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About Rick Mosely Rick is the editor for TSB magazine.