Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Eric the Blade recently posted on the topic of Pocket Knives, being of the opinion that everyone should carry one. They are, in his words, “useful things to have around.”

I can’t claim to have anything like Eric’s Cold Steel, the very blade that has convinced me that Off-Color Limericks are best shared in the most selective of circumstances, but I have a small assortment of pocket knives of varying degrees of utility. And my experience with knives goes back over fifty years, to my Snot-Nose Days.

In these electronic pages, I have previously related the tale of my first experience with a pocket knife, an ill-advised gift from my parents (!) when I had attained the tender age of four. What were they thinking?

These days, I’m like as not to carry a Schrade Old-Timer, a simple, uncomplicated folding knife. It’s razor-sharp, not too big, but it has come in handy on numerous occasions.

The Schrade Old-Timer.

Years ago, I never traveled anywhere without my Leatherman tool, that multiple-purpose Gew-Gaw of which a knife is just one of many components. It would nestle in my briefcase during my various business travels, at least until airport security procedures made it impossible to carry around.

Damn useful, that Leatherman. The first time I ever saw one, I was traveling with one of my direct reports, a tall, lanky fellow with a Julius Caesar haircut who was partial to lugging his papers around in a big black Jeppesen case. You know the kind: Airline captains use ’em to schlep their flight manuals around in. Big and boxy-looking.

There must’ve been forty pounds of crap in that case of his. One cold January day, while we were dining with one of his accounts in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the handle to his Jeppesen gave up the ghost. Sheer overwork is what did it.

Not to worry, though. My guy was resourceful, as befits someone who styled himself “The Old Yankee Resin Pedlar.” He simply grabbed a wire hanger from the restaurant’s coat closet and used his Leatherman to make an on-the-spot temporary repair, one that was good enough to last until he got home. Just Damn! I decided right then and there that I needed one of those Leatherman sumbitches for myself.

Pocket knives are only part of the picture. We’ve got other knives, too. No household is complete without a set of fine kitchen blades. For years, we have relied on our Henckels knives for all-around kitchen tasks, and, thanks to the generosity of SWMBO’s brother (a frequent commenter here under the moniker Bro in-Law d’Elisson), we’ve supplemented these with an impressive set of Cutco cutlery.

We bought the Henckels knives here in Atlanta in the early 1980’s. They were so razor-sharp that the saleslady who was wrapping them up for us gave herself a good slice without realizing it. If we hadn’t alerted her to the bloody mess she was trailing thoughout the Housewares department, who knows when she would have noticed it?

I’ve got to agree with ol’ Eric. Knives are extremely useful tools to have around. In that rare event when you have to dig a bullet out of your ass, you don’t want to be stuck with only a plastic Carvel spoon.

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