Sunday, January 03, 2016

Pocket Knife

I lose a lot of pocket knives. I don't lose them every time I go out, but about once every eighteen months or so I'll lose my knife on a hiking or backpacking or camping trip. It's just the way things are.  (Heck...sometimes I find knives on trails or at campsites where other folk have lost them.) When you go out in the forests one of the things you pretty much should always have with you is a pocket knife. Even on a short hike of a few miles you need to have a good pocket knife along for the trip.

When I'm out on a backpacking trip I need the use of a sharp blade at least once in the course of a day. To cut branches, slice through cording or string,  to dig a splinter out of my hand, what have you. For convenience it's nice to have a good knife, and for a survival situation they're pretty much indispensable.

A couple of years ago I lost a pretty good pocket knife. I think I lost that one at work. I probably needed it on the job, fished it out of my pocket, and dropped it somewhere. This kind of thing is bound to happen when you are dealing with a tool you use fairly often. So there I was needing a knife and thinking about buying a new one.

Every time I'd find myself in a sporting goods or outdoors shop with my wife she would get me to look at knives so that she could get me one as a birthday or Christmas gift. I'm a  cheapskate--a die-hard skinflint, I must admit--so I'd  look in the glass cases, find one that appealed to me, and then be horrified at the prices they were charging. Then I'd tell her to wait until I found just the right knife. She postponed buying the gift.

One day we were on one of our vacations. We always pick a day to hit antique malls if there are any near where we're camping. On this particular trip there was just such a mall not terribly far from the campground so we went to visit it. While my wife was shopping I wandered off, peering into bins and shelves searching for whatever struck my fancy. I always look for old comics but rarely find any. Still, you never know, so my eyes were peeled for some old comics at a good price.

Passing a locked glass cabinet I saw that it was full of new pocket knives. Really nice ones, too. Each had an example on display with corresponding stock in nice, fresh boxes. I paused to examine them through the glass. And there was the perfect knife for me. Just the right size--3-inch lock-blade. Good looking steel, too. Plain, nothing fancy. I squinted at the price tag: $12.00. Why, that had to be a mistake. But maybe not. I went to the front of the mall and asked the clerk to unlock the case so that I could look at the knife.

He followed me back through constrained rows of old glassware, oak furniture, vinyl records, and all manner of crap. After he unlocked the case he handed me the knife. It was good and heavy. You know what they say: 'If it's heavy it's a sign of quality.' That might be bullshit, but I took a good look at the knife and I know a little about blades and this one surely did look like a very nice tool.

"I'll take it,"I told him. Carole bought a couple of cheap things for the trailer and we left.

Over the course of the next few days I discovered that this knife is probably the finest pocket knife I have ever owned. I've had it now for almost three years and it not only holds an edge, it stays sharp for a long, long time before I need to hone it. I often think of it as one of the best purchases I ever made and have mentioned to Carole that I likely should have bought a couple for the day when I might lose it. But I'm very careful not to lose this one and always made sure it's with me after I've used it.

Not long after I bought it I wanted to research the item and see if I'd gotten a bargain or if the company just sells knives for low prices. So, I got on the Internet and did a Google-search and ended up at a bulletin board for knife aficionados. Unfortunately, I soon realized that the same people who like guns and zombie movies and apocalyptic novels also like knives: neo-Nazis, survivalists, doomsday preppers, and other such racist dirtbags. But they were talking about the company that made my knife, and even specifically about the knife I'd bought.

The conclusion was that they didn't  like the knife! Why?  They claimed it was a shitty product made of crappy steel and not worth a plugged nickel. I knew this not to be so, and kept reading the pertinent commentary about the tool in between their complaints about Jews and black people and foreigners and Obama. Click on a link at that place and you'd end up at some neo-Nazi online newspaper.

Finally,  I realized why they were whining about the knife: the maker--Schrade--had sold out to a Chinese company.  Now no white people with a good German name were making the knives. Some Asians had stolen the company name! Thus, if the knives were now Chinese, then they certainly must be of the lowest quality and not worth buying.

Gee whiz, I hate Nazis.

The knife after a few years of hard use.

The blade holds a keen edge no matter what the dirt-bag Nazis say.

No comments: