Smug Pencils in Silver Lake

Smug Scout has just found her new favorite colored pencils. They are from a Smug store in Silver Lake (that is the Smug epicenter of Los Angeles for those of you in other places). The store is called ReForm School, which has a Smug capital “F” to make the name appropriately ironic for this competitive neighborhood. When Smug Scout walked in and saw the dizzying array of local, sustainable crafts, few of them suggesting any actual, practical use or utility, she knew ReForm School is ahead of most of its competition.

Smug Scout was most excited to see a faux-industrial steel basket filled with what she can only call “bunches” of rustic reclaimed wood pencils. Each bunch is wrapped in recycled brown paper with two rubber bands to hold it all together. There is no brand. Smug Scout thinks that is Smug, as if to announce pointedly: “the brand is local forest, not some evil corporation.”

Yet there is a problem. These bunches of reclaimed wood colored pencils do not come with a sharpener.  As much as Smug Scout can picture these reclaimed wood colored pencils adorning her desk, she knows that if she has to use a Bowie knife to whittle down the bark, they will end up as blood-stained shards that she will have to compost.

Now Smug Scout understands why the reclaimed wood colored pencils are displayed in a faux-industrial steel basket. The steel basket is not just a faux-industrial receptacle that reflects the store’s eco-ethos but rather an interior design tip. You are not meant to write, draw, or color with these pencils. Nothing so utilitarian. You are meant to exhibit them in your living room, perhaps on top of the dead log you call a single-source coffee table.  They may never write a word, but they tell your visitors that you are Smug. And that is all the function any Smug object really needs.

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