Like any self-respecting tool-using h.sapiens, I have a drawer full of good knives. The one in the picture above is the knife that’s always clipped to the corner of my pocket whenever I’m dressed. It’s a Kershaw Blur, the model with the torsion bar assisted opening feature. I picked the red aluminum scales because it’s easier to find the knife on a desk or dresser in a pile of stuff, or after you put it down in the grass for some task that requires both hands.
A good knife is so essential a tool that it boggles my mind whenever I bump into people who not only don’t carry one, but are actively concerned and dismayed at the sight of someone else with a blade at their instant disposal. Once upon a time, I worked as a network admin in northern Massachusetts, and I used to get variations of the following inquiry on an almost daily basis:
“Why does anyone need to carry a knife like that?”
Well, a knife is a terrific tool, that’s why. You can use it to open boxes (something you have to do every day as a computer support monkey), snip cables, cut open those stubbornly glued plastic or foil bags…the list of possible tasks is practically endless. The fact that it can be used as a weapon is a nice bonus, to be sure, but it’s not even the main reason I carry one.
Why would you make such a comment to the owner of that knife, anyway? If you think that I shouldn’t have or carry it, you imply that you consider me a threat. Isn’t that kind of insulting? I handle screwdrivers and sharp-edged forty-pound computer cases around you all day–why would you be concerned about that knife in particular?
(The ultimate irony is that the same people who got uncomfortable at the sight of a knife in my pocket were invariably the ones who asked to use it–or more frequently, have me cut something for them–several times a week.)
Anyway, as you can see from the wear on the knife in the picture, it has been used daily for over half a decade, ever since I got it to replace my poor, lost Chris Reeve Sebenza. In all honesty, this knife is better than the one it replaced. The Sebenza is a marvelous piece of craftsmanship, and five times as expensive, but this knife is faster to open, more comfortable to hold, easier to sharpen well, and quicker to bring into action. The blade is always at a shaving edge with the help of a set of ceramic sharpening rods.
I have other knives–some that are easier to carry around, some that are better suited for defense, and some that make better utility tools–but this one is my favorite. From the blade shape to the spring-assisted opening feature to the way the knife sits in the hand, I’m more comfortable with it than with any other blade I’ve ever owned. Using it no longer requires conscious effort of thought–it’s pretty much an extension of my hand at this point. (On a side note: after using a torsion bar assisted opening knife for so long–Kershaw calls their system Speed Safe–switching to one that doesn’t have the feature feels like a handicap.)
The knife is humanity’s oldest tool, and after a few ten thousand years of bladecraft, the Kershaw Blur is evidence that we crafty humans have learned to make some really awesome ones. The question in my mind is, “Why wouldn’t you want to carry a knife like that?” I mean, my ancestors didn’t fight their way off the savannah so I’d have to try and open my bag of Rolos with my teeth like some frickin’ animal.