The pocket knife: A necessary tool for everyday living
Recently, I was sitting outside having breakfast with my wife at a small restaurant that is right on the Pinellas Trail in Dunedin, Fla. This popular biking and walking trail gets a lot of attention when the weather is nice and it was packed on that beautiful sun-filled morning.
About two bites into a scone, a woman walked up to me and asked if I had a pocket knife. I immediately reached down, pulled a Gerber locking-blade knife from my right pocket, flipped the blade open, and handed it to her, handle end first.
She smiled, took the knife over to a pair of bicycles parked just off the path and used the sharp blade to free her friend who had accidentally zipped herself to her bicycle’s gear bag.
When she returned my knife she commented that I looked like a person who would be carrying a pocket knife and remarked that her father never left home without his. I took this as a compliment and replied that her father was obviously a great man.
My father also never left the home without his pocket knife. While mine has a belt clip that secures the knife to my pocket, a locking blade that flicks open with the pop of my thumb, and a machined metal handle, my father’s knife was a bone handle with two blades that he would just slip into his pocket and it took two hands to open one of those blades.
It is a rite of passage when a boy receives his first pocket knife, and I got mine when I was 10 years old. Even though I was warned about all the damage that blade could do to my hands and even other parts of my body, I occasionally would slice into my skin and need some patching up. The cuts were a minor issue when compared to the benefits the blade produced, like sharpening sticks, cutting rope and fishing line, cleaning rabbits and squirrels, and slicing all kinds of food items on camping trips.
I grew up in a time when all the kids with outdoors-oriented parents had a pocket knife. We carried them in our pockets at school and would show them off on the playgrounds, when the teachers weren’t looking, of course. But if we got caught with a knife out we were only scolded and told to fold it up and put it back in our pocket.
Growing up, carrying a pocket knife always leaves you feeling naked when you go somewhere without one. For many years I could walk on an airplane with a pocket knife. That ended after a terrorist attack. Don’t even approach a school with a knife in your pocket. Security even scans you with metal detectors when you are entering a concert or theatre production.
But most of the time I wear out the corner of my pockets from the clip on my blade. Yep, I know (and random strangers know) that I’m the guy who carries a pocket knife, and it will be there for whatever task requires a blade’s sharp edge.