Thursday, 10 May 2012

No you can’t use my knife

I like to think I’m a reasonably friendly and helpful guy. I like that whole aspect of random acts of kindness, etc. If I can be of assistance somehow, great.
I will lend you a CD, a book, $20, a shirt. 
My knife? 

After several negative experiences, I’ve decided not to let anyone use my knife.

I’ve had someone use my knife as a prybar, busting off the end. As a wise man once said “a knife is the most expensive and least effective pry bar you will ever own.” Or in this instance, what someone else owned. Me. They replaced it, but it still annoyed the hell out of me.

Some folks I’ve handed my knife to, have this look of fear on their face, and the way they handle it makes you think they regard it as a step down from a rattlesnake, that it is going to hurt them somehow.

Another time a guy asked to look at the knife clipped into my pocket. Reluctantly I handed it over. Immediately he starts flailing his arm around. I keep the pivot tightened down to a good degree. He told me that I should loosen it so it could be flipped out easier.
“Uh huh. Do you have a knife of your own? No? Didn’t think so. Tell you what. When you get a knife of your own, you can do that to your heart’s content. Don’t do that shit with others peoples knives.”

Others I’ve handed my knife to can often figure out how to open it, but then struggle to figure out how to close it. Watching them grab it all sorts of awkward ways as they try to deduce the “arcane mystery” of a liner lock, and one time someone almost closed it with their fingers in the way of the blade (averted just in time).

And then there was the prize winner who upon asking to use my knife, promptly ran his thumb over the blade. see if it was sharp, I guess. Guess what? I keep my knives sharp. Very sharp. His thumb promptly split open, blood started flowing forth. “Why didn’t you warn me it was sharp?” he said to me with a panicked look as he rushed off to find a bandaid.” I sort of knew this guy wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but in the annals of dumb things people have said to me, that one took the prize.

After these experiences, I just realized that if someone lacks the wherewithal to carry a knife on themselves as a matter of course, they invariably lack the wherewithal to use it safely or properly. That whole blend of discomfort with using it, awkward handling, inappropriate treatment, and just plain thoughtlessness.

I’m sure that makes me a jerk in some people’s eyes. So be it. I carry a knife every day.  Nothing big or scary. Nothing with any nefarious intents in mind. And I have for many years. I honestly don’t think a day has gone by where I haven’t used it for something. Usually something utterly mundane - take the rind off an orange, open a recalcitrant package, cut a piece of cheese, etc. I don’t understand how any one gets through their day without using a knife.

And another annoyance is when I have let someone use it, shortly thereafter they ask again, and several days later, ask again. I’m one of those people that figures if I need something once, and then shortly thereafter have cause to use it again, and then a little while later need it once more, this is what a detective calls a clue. I figure that maybe I should carry that around with me. If you need to ask someone else to use their tools, a tool that to my mind seems like a common place, functional tool, maybe you’re being handed a clue. If you need to ask me more than once if you can use my knife, I figure there is a hint there you should take. Get your own knife.

I like to think I’m an accommodating guy. But for some reason, lending out my knife is no longer a way I choose to help people. Sorry, but it’s time for people to start carrying their own.


  1. Amen, brother!

    I carry my pocket knife in my right front pocket and my Leatherman Skeletool in my left front pocket. I rotate the knives I carry in my RF pocket based on the mood I'm in. Right now it's the Spyderco Stainless Endura. Sometimes it's the Buck Tarani Strider. Whenever people need ME to open something for them I use the blade on the Skeletool, as it's 'less scary' than the blade I carry in my other pocket.

    My acupuncturist (who is awesome) saw both of the them on the chair the other day and asked, "So what's the deal with the two knives?" She then did a double-take and said, "or is that a Leatherman of some kind?" I explained to her that I didn't like to scare my co-workers so I more often than not used the Skeletool. She thought that was pretty funny.

    I've carried a knife in my pocket since I was nine years old. My mom wasn't pleased--but I saved up my money and bought a Schrade Uncle Henry folding knife. I still have it--although it resides in the gun safe now so I know it's safe. (Crap...I had to add that up in my head...that was 35 years ago!!!)

  2. I see your point and I get it..., but I wonder if you could just carry a small SAK or something to lend.