all of the selves we Have ever been
I have a friend who carries a pocket knife,
a Swiss Army Knife to be exact. After all, the Swiss are known for their precision.
No, the Swiss army knife is not made of chocolate. It is an actual brand of pocket knife first introduced to the world by the Swiss military. I find this interesting since I didn’t know that Switzerland had a military, the country being neutral and all. Maybe the Swiss require an army to protect all of that fine Swiss chocolate. Or maybe the country is still on edge from that 1968 Super Bowl when NBC switched to its regular programming with only 65 seconds left to play in the game. No one saw the Oakland Raiders make two touchdowns in nine seconds to beat the New York Jets. Frankly, I am surprised NBC is still in business. And what was the regularly scheduled program that led to such a debacle? It was the movie Heidi, the children’s story published in 1881 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri. It is a touching tale about an orphaned girl who is sent to live with her cranky grandfather in the mountains of Switzerland. It’s a classic made much more famous for upsetting the Super Bowl broadcast of 1968. I remember watching Heidi that day while my father fumed. It is the event that put Switzerland on the map for Americans of that era.
Anyway, the advertisement says that the Swiss Army Knife now comes in thousands of combinations of sizes, tools and colors, including pink. There are 33 tool choices including two different size blades, five different screwdrivers, a corkscrew, can opener, bottle opener, wire stripper, tweezers, toothpick, key ring, fish scaler, nail file, wood chisel, and pliers. That is not all. And it fits into your pocket.
I’m not much on bulging pockets, and such a device can make it hard to get through the security that is everywhere. I carry a purse that usually contains tweezers, small scissors, toothpicks, a key ring, floss, and nail file. I can’t say that I have a hook that can hold up to two hundred pounds or a metal saw, but I am crafty when necessary, and I don’t usually put things on a hook that weigh more than me.
At home, the basic tools of my trade are not many or colorful unless accounting for the occasional loss of blood. I have a small paring knife and a hemostat. If you are not familiar with a hemostat, it is a surgical tool that looks like a pair of scissors. It is used in surgical procedures to control bleeding. No, the hemostat was not left in or on my body following a surgery. My parents worked in the medical field, and interesting things could be found around the house. The hemostat left home when I did. I keep it in my toolbox. It is handy for grabbing things and holding on tight. It is helpful when small things go down the bathroom sink drain or when trying to get a roll of tape started. In most instances, it is a much better choice than needle-nose pliers. And it can stem the blood flow when I get to using my paring knife in non-traditional ways.
I store my small paring knife in the kitchen, but its use is not reserved to that room only. I purchased the paring knife when I was 19 and moving into my first apartment. It fits my hand perfectly, and we’ve pretty much grown up together. With years of almost daily use, we know each other well. We have a style and rhythm to our work. It is practically a Mary Poppins act where I open the drawer and the knife jumps out and gets to work. After all of these years, the knife, which has never had any maintenance other than cleaning, is still solid and sharp. Sure, I use it for chopping and cutting in the kitchen, but it is also a screwdriver and a scraper. The tip can be used to pry apart or hold things in place.
While some folks like to have a separate, bona fide tool for every use and are proud of their collection, I enjoy the creativity of making do with what I have, and it is cheaper and less cumbersome. The challenge calls out my inner MacGyver. Maybe it is a woman-thing. I have a female friend who loves to do her own home improvement projects, but she reports that most of the projects have been paid for by her health insurance. I have to admit that sometimes my own projects have me in stitches.