Thursday, November 23, 2006


I carry a pocket knife. Every day, every where. I can't imagine being without a knife.

No, it's not some whiz-bang tactical knife. I don't like anything "tactical". Tactical is an exercise for the mind, not the equipment.

My current pocketknife is a Buck two-blade Trapper. I've carried this knife for a year or so. It has a clip point blade and a spey blade. Yes, I know how to use the spey blade. It gets sharpened as needed on an Arkansas stone I keep on my workbench.

Once upon a time, boys carried pocketknives. Constantly. My fourth grade teacher knew to a certainty that every little boy in her class, and most of the girls, had a pocketknife tucked away somewhere. If, for some reason, she got a box in the classroom, or needed to cut a cord, she'd ask "Who's got a knife?" and twenty little boys would start digging in their pockets. We'd unfold a blade and head toward the front of the class.

Now that I think about it, the visual image of that scene is something to contemplate. Twenty fouth graders, with open pocket knives, headed for the teacher. She was truly a trusting soul. Excuse me while I wipe the laughter from my eyes.

My youngest, Joey, always liked blades. Liked them a lot and carried constantly. Sometimes, Joe would have as many as nine blades tucked about his person. Ask Joey for a knife, and there was no telling what he might draw from his clothing. It might be a set of throwing knives, or a nine-inch Bowie. You just never knew. Did he cut himself? Yeah, as did my other sons. The lesssons in learning to properly use a blade sometimes cause pain.

Sunday past, my son and I were assembling a deer stand on the tailgate of my pickup truck before carrying it to the woods. The grandkids (age 4 and 7) were crawling around in the bed of the truck, pestering us and poking each other. I took out a knife to open a box, then folded it and laid it aside. We continued assembling the stand, till we heard the youngest one cry out in pain. He proclaimed that blood was coming out and I saw the opened knife.

A bandaid fixed the problem and he learned a life lesson. Leave PawPaw's knife alone. He's still a little young to have a knife of his own, but in another couple of years he'll be ready.

Every little boy should have a knife. It teaches the responsible use of power. A pocketknife teaches that a tool can be misused to hurt yourself or another person and that there are very real consequences when a tool is misused or used carelessly. It also teaches that just because you have that power doesn't mean you should use it. All other lessons flow from that one.


Anonymous said...

I'm definitely with you on this one. I have carried a pocketknife daily since I was 11 or 12. My daily carry knife is a Case small stockman. Unobtrusive, but very handy.


Unknown said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Pawpaw. Good to see your wife is recovering. My wife keeps complaining to me about what my unborn child is doing to her belly!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I carried a swiss army executive the last ten or so years in the navy and used it for everything, had good screwdriver tips, canopener and churchkey, and actually had a useable blade. I told my daughter Kim I would give it to her some day, she asked me if it was a pass on. I told her it was for me.

I gave it to her a few years ago and my pocket felt empty no matter what I had in it. I traded her a much more expensive swiss army for it with the understanding it would be hers someday anyway.

One day I was in a hardware store and saw a special running on case knifes, picked one out and bought it, tried it for a while. It is a 6254, has similar blades to the buck you mentioned. I have since skinned and mostly dressed 6 0r 7 deer with it and though it dont have the little tools neither am I at sea so I can have a tool box handy if I need such. It does take awhile to get a great edge on a case but the upside is it lasts, case uses good steel.

That ol swiss with the red paint long worn off through being carried and used is safely tucked away in her purse and I am pleased it has value for her. Thanks for bringing back a good memory.

Anonymous said...

I carry a Kershaw "Tactical Blur". I have no issue with taking it out in order to do anything I need with it, but I'll get the occasional dropped jaw when someone sees that I'm using a three-plus-inch knife for something minor, like cutting the tape on a package or taking care of a loose cuticle (did I mention that I keep it very sharp? ;)).

Anonymous said...

As for your comment on "tactical", I agree. It's all marketing to appeal to the "tacti-cool" crowd. The only reason I got a "tactical" knife is because I find it more useful for everyday tasks. If I'm holding an object in one hand and need to cut it, then I don't want a Swiss Army knife, because they're a pain to open. I have my knife on a pocket clip, and I can open it one-handed. Besides that, I like the tanto-style blade.

I suppose the reason I have this particular knife as opposed to something smaller (and arguably more practical) is that it's just part of who I am. I like everything I own to be as multi-purpose as possible. Instead of the mini-caribeeners that places sell nowadays, I have a genuine rated-for-climbing caribeener holding my school ID. I will never have 500lbs of force on my ID, but it's just useful in the general sense.

With all of these tools, including a pocketknife, I'd say it's all about the mindset, as you said. When I carry my "tactical" knife, I don't envision myself as a Seal or a Ranger, I just use the knife as I would any other. If I'm at work, I'll use my knife if it's handy, other tools (like scissors) otherwise. If I'm being attacked, I'll use my knife if it's handy, other tools (like forks, pens, fists) otherwise.

Anonymous said...

We all carried pocket knives as kids and now our kids do on our farm. They have to be so careful though not to slp and go to school with one in their pocket these days. They will get tossed right out if caught.

Anonymous said...

I have had a blade since I can remember. It does amaze me though when I meet so-called men who either freak out when I pull a knife out of my pocket or don't carry one at all.

alex said...

Great post.