I haven’t ever successfully used a mechanical pencil. I always press too hard. Always, always, always. When I put one to paper, within seconds … crack goes the graphite. Never fails.
I loathe mechanical pencils.
Furthermore, my mechanical aptitude is, um, rather lacking, as friends and family would attest. Somewhere down around the zero-th percentile.
Mrs. QC recently suggested a correlation exists between mechanical pencil proficiency and mechanical aptitude. I offer some anecdotal evidence to support this theory: The mechanical pencil user I recall most vividly from my childhood is a principal of an engineering software company (where I work). Boy, this guy was adept with mechanical pencils. He loved ’em (like Dave here). Probably still does.
His four brothers are also principals of the company, and I’ll bet at least two of those four, the programmers, were mechanical pencil users as school students. Heck, all five probably were. It’s that engineering gene. Their dad was an engineer.
Organizations needing to test for mechanical aptitude can dispense with expensive aptitude tests. They should just give out a mechanical pencil and a piece of a paper to each person they’re testing and tell them to write. They may not be able to determine who has the engineering gene, but they will surely find out who — crack — does not.