Crooner Huey Lewis didn’t like the fact that it was “hip to be square” in the 80s. It’s a good thing he never came to my elementary school classrooms, then, because for a short time it was hip not just to be square but to be triangle. At least it was hip to have a triangle on your pencil. That triangle was the triangle pencil grip.
I’ve heard that the triangle pencil grip was supposed to be a writing aid, something to help kids who were having trouble holding the pencil correctly. I think I was vaguely aware of that fact at the time as well. However, as soon as they appeared on the pencils of a few students, all us gradeschoolers had to have them. Apparently the school wasn’t concerned about limiting them to the students that really needed them, because they sold them for a dime along with the much-coveted Atari pencils. At first, it was hard choosing between an Atari pencil and a triangle pencil grip, even though I really wanted them. But when the triangle grips went from solid colors to transparent, I bit hard. Even though I didn’t need one, I got a pencil grip of my own, and it rode my pencil for the rest of the year.
So a developmental tool that most kids would be ashamed of having on their pencils became a legitimate classroom fad that all the kids wanted. I guess Lewis was right. I guess it was hip to be square in the 80s.