“Give me your knife,” she said. My wife was standing above a box that had just arrived at the house and was having trouble with the packing tape.
“A knife?” I replied.
“Yeah, your knife.” She chuckled. “All real men carry knives. Where’s yours?” I was caught off guard.
I don’t have a knife. I mean I do, but it’s up on my dresser in my jewelry box, with my pinky ring and my ID bracelet. However, I didn’t want her to think her rough-neck husband was a Mama’s Boy. So, I did what any other honest, self-respecting husband would do. I faked it.
Thinking that I was about to have my Man Card revoked, I patted my pants like I was trying to identify which pocket I had slid my knife in, as if I had just used it to remove a tick from my bicep. Honestly I was just killing time, hoping a knife would magically appear in my “wrinkle resistant slacks”. Perhaps, when I wasn’t paying attention, my iPhone and car keys conceived a knife-child. I checked my suit pockets while praying to St. Al Buck, believing he could magically make a Wal-Mart run and slide a Buck 210 into my vest pocket. Nothing. I feigned surprise but was inwardly embarrassed. With an air of disappointment, she shuffled off to the kitchen to get a butter knife out of the dishwasher. I was beaten by butter knife.
I haven’t carried a knife with any kind of regularity since the 90’s. And if I recall correctly, it was because I was deployed in Saudi Arabia during a war! Are we at war in Knox County? No. Will I be jumped by guerilla rebels while carrying Gouda Dip from Fresh Market to my car? Unlikely. Will I need to defend myself against an actual bear while picking up takeout at the Panda Express? Of course not.
My father however has been packin’ heat for years. Actually, he is a walking Swiss Army Knife. Growing up under this Boy Scout/Vietnam Veteran, I was instructed to carry a multitude of items including a comb, a pocket knife and a handkerchief. A handkerchief? You want me to blow my nose into a cloth and then stick it back in my pocket for later??? I think I just answered my own question.
Additionally, Pop’s car has an Emergency Supply in his trunk: a shovel, a gallon of water, and a blanket. “Because you just never know, son.” You just never know…what? Are we preparing to dig ourselves out of a snow embankment, using the water for hydration and the blanket for warmth? Do we have to trek through the snow, following the stars back to civilization? I know how to follow stars–OnStar and Starbucks. And I never leave the house without either one.
I can’t make too much fun of my father, without inadvertently poking fun at my wife. It is her belief that we can put anything in the trunk of her car as long as it is preceded by the word emergency. We have our emergency dog bowls, emergency swim trunks and emergency snow boots. “Sorry, Dad, but there is no room for blankets and shovels with these emergency travel board games in the way.”
At any rate, after losing to a butter knife that night, I carried my Starbucks up the stairs and dug through my jewelry box. There, tucked nicely between my pocket watch and a movie stub from Die Hard II, was my thin, locking blade. I slipped it into my pocket and instantly became more like Clint Eastwood and less like Woody Allen.
So, what’s in your pocket?