David Rees Presents a Primer on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening

How have you been sharpening your pencils? Regardless of your answer, rest assured that you’re doing it wrong.

Lest there be any doubt that I’m geographically situated smack dab in the middle of former cartoonist’s David Rees’ target demographic, I almost didn’t click on the link to the pitch perfect send up above because I believed it was real.

Here in non-Caribbean, non-Southeast-Asian, non-Russian, non-Mexican Brooklyn—think Girls, the Jonathans Ames and Letham, brownstone-dwelling movie stars and the very latest in n’est plus ultra strollers—it’s entirely plausible that a humorless young artisan might take to the Internet to teach us regular schlubs How to Sharpen Pencils.

Just wait ’til he brings out his leather strop. (Misplaced yours? Look in your basement, or your grandfather’s tomb.)

Please note that though the video may be satirical, Rees makes actual money sharpening—and authenticating—customers’ Number Two pencils, using the same techniques demonstrated in the video. (Sorry, holiday shoppers, as per his website, he won’t be taking orders for his live pencil sharpening services until the New Year, but he does have a book out.)

Like you need any more excuse to whip out your knife, place it in your dominant hand, and start carving.

To quote a certain classic Broadway musical, you gotta have a gimmick.

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Ayun Halliday can get behind New Ork City public school teachers’ insistence on the Ticonderoga brand. Follow her @AyunHallliday

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