Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Essential Tools

My previous post on this subject was more of a "look what I got post than something substantive, so I thought I'd elaborate a bit on tools of the sharp & stabby variety.

Sharp cutting implements have been used by my fellow humans for millenia to perform a variety of tasks. They're as natural in the hands of a human as claws on a cat or wings on a bird. It only makes sense that I would follow the basic custom of billions of humans before me. Why would any rational person not own and carry the contemporary equivalent of tool which have coincided with almost the entire span of human evolution?

Carrying a knife is basic common sense, on par with having something by which to tell the time. For the last 10 years at least I've rarely been without a knife. Even further back than that I can remember carrying my Boy Scout Swiss Army Knife to school. Of course this was in the pre-"zero-tolerance" age and I wasn't a disciplinary problem. These days I might be suspended, expelled, and even charged with a crime for carrying it.

I'm not sure I considered the criminal implications of carrying a pocket knife to until I was in my late teens. When you're a young kid carrying a knife given to you in Boy Scouts you don't think of it as a weapon. It had all kinds of cool gizmos, a bottle opener, two screwdrivers, scissors, tweezers, a toothpick. If I remember correctly the larger blade on a standard Swiss Army knife is actually 3.5", so I was actually committing a criminal offense for several years.

Prior to 9/11 I packed that Swiss Army knife in my carry-on luggage every time I flew. In those days I remember being in the cockpit during a commercial flight (my grandpa was an airline pilot) Yes folks, I was able to bring a knife on board the plane and enter the cockpit with permission. Now the TSA makes a big fuss if an 8 year old girl packs an electric toothbrush in her carry-on. How times have changed.

I lost that knife sometime during my Freshman year of college and purchased a SOG Flash II, only to find out later that it was illegal to carry. It violated both Delaware's ridiculous 3" blade length limit and our equally byzantine statute prohibiting folding knives with any type of assisted opening device. Later I purchased a Benchmade Mini Pika and Kershaw Vapor and carried one or both throughout my time at U of D.

Ah the world of Academia. It wasn't until college that I honestly recall being exposed to people with an abject fear of tools. (UD had many students from NJ...) Here's this well-mannered, shy but likeable guy who looks younger than he is and some people are reacting negatively to the fact that he's got a couple of knives. Inconceivable! As I've said before on this blog "Me? Dangerous lookng? You've got to be kidding me?"

There were times where I'd whip out the Benchmade to open a box and someone would comment to the effect of "what are you doing with THAT?" "Opening a box" I'd say sarcastically. (me, sarcastic... never!) I remember cutting dorm carpet to fit one move-in day and hearing a floormates mother exclaim that I had a knife (you know the tone) A few minutes later they were borrowing it. Yes, she was from New Jersey.

One other "incident" at Delaware which sticks out in my mind happened my Sophomore or Junior year after foot/ankle surgery. I was having physical therapy at UD's PT school, which meant I had mostly grad or undergrad students working on me. One day I'm on the mat and both pocket knives come out of my pockets. The girl working on me just stands there aghast, not wanting to touch my *evil knives.* The reaction was bizarre. You'd think a buttplug had fallen out of my pocket or I'd told her I enjoy beating up little kids. She later told me they made her feel "uncomfortable." Yes, small pocketknives in the closed position made her feel "uncomfortable" (and it wasn't me, she absolutely loved working with a young guy rather than geriatrics)

Later at Delaware I found I could maximize my time spent sleeping, drinking and enjoying the weather by grabbing dining hall meals to go. Once I started working at The Firm this was almost the only way to get lunch after class and still make it into the city in time for work. The problem? Take-out gives you plastic utensils. I got some weird looks eating lunch on a park bench, brick wall or water fountain with a plastic fork and a pocketknife. Interestingly enough everyone was quite happy I had a knife during times spent shotgunning beers. It sure beats trying to stick a hole in a can with a Bic pen.

But pocketknives can be used for far more than just a drinking aid. A good knife has a million different uses and is nice to have even if you're not using it daily. I have nothing against those who choose not to carry a knife, however I don't know why they'd choose to voluntarily handicap themselves. I guess they figure a resourceful tool user will be around to help them out.

I sincerely hope that the mindset of that PT student never takes hold here in America. If it does that means we'll have turned into the UK, where folks like this guy will claim that my carrying a pocketknife "endangers the safety of fellow citizens."


Annie Robertson said...

Thank you so much for sharing it.
Paring knife is the best cutting tool for you if you like to work with perfection and hygiene. It is available in the market with different blade and comfortable handle lengths as ladies go for selection of knives according to their hand grip and comfort level of chopping

Paring Knife

CTone said...

You just got two dozen brownie points for referring to a knife as a drinking aid!!