Friday, May 27, 2011

On Edge

The other day I had to go to the hardware store, and while I was there I bought a box cutter/utility knife.

It's not the first one of these I've ever purchased, in fact I have two others already. But as I've been moving all week, both of those were lost somewhere in a fortress of cardboard. Even if I could find them, though, I still would have been up for buying a new one.

Because most utility knives are garbage.

This is a tool made to do real work, yet manufacturers use flimsy plastic casings and poor designs that leave the blade loose in its socket. So when I bought my new knife, I wanted to get something better. I went into it willing to spend a bit more to get a quality product. And there it was. Below the rack of cheap $3 products, there was another row of what looked like the real thing-solid metal casings, and a design that seemed like care had gone into it.

And I was right. But I didn't know what I was getting into. This is a real utility knife. Maybe too real. It is easily one of the sharpest things I've ever owned, like a samurai sword you can hook onto your pocket. While opening a box, I went from cutting tape to cutting through the side of the cardboard to cutting through the end of the cardboard without noticing any change.

Conventional southern wisdom says that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife, since it's more likely to slip. There's some truth there, but only up to a point. In skilled hands, I'm sure the sharp blade is best, since it will follow those trained motions exactly. But I'm just opening some boxes, here, and doing it with the closest lightsaber equivalent I've encountered in everyday life.*

*Grasp it carefully with your remaining fingers.

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