The Outdoorsmans Guide To Forever Free

The Outdoorsmans Guide To Forever Free

Do You Carry a Pocket Knife?

I recently ran across a blog post titled “The Kind of Men Who Carry a Pocket Knife,” which talked about the benefits of toting a knife at all times. And perhaps I’m showing my age here, but to me that is something any man should do at all times.

I do realize that’s not the case in these days of TSA panic and London knife bans, but even when my father was young he often shook his head at any man who ventured forth into life without a knife of some kind on his person. He even had a signature expression to tell folks how he felt about it.

Random guy: “Do you have a knife?”

Dad: “I’ve got my pants on, haven’t I?”

Naturally, his daily knife-toting practice rubbed off on me, and in today’s world I would probably have been banned from school, because I carried a pocket knife with me even then. And I like to keep my knife sharp as well — because as Dad used to illustrate by comparing the lengths of his ring fingers, a dull knife will hurt you more than a well-honed one.

What is the knife used for? Just about everything: Cleaning fingernails, cutting open packages, cutting rope or twine, sharpening a pencil, whittling a toothpick from a twig, cutting fishing line and fish bait, carving off a hunk of summer sausage, cleaning squirrels, stripping wire, cutting tar paper, and much more. It would be difficult for me to count how many times I use a knife every day — so much so that I have begun carrying a knife with a clip so I don’t have to dig around in my pocket whenever I need a blade.

This is my current EDC "user and abuser" knife. The sharpener sweetens it up quickly. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

This is my current EDC “user and abuser” knife. The sharpener sweetens it up quickly.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

And if you are one of the “fixers” of the world who prefer to repair rather than discard, you will find a pocket knife to be very useful.

Dad wasn’t my only male role model who carried a knife. Both grandfathers and my uncles all kept a pocket knife handy. In fact, the Case folding knife pictured in this article was inherited from my uncle Kelly, who put many a mile on that fine old folder. After he passed, I carried it every day for quite a while, and have used it to field-dress more than one whitetail deer.

Knives should be a normal part of growing up. Heck, Dad used them as motivation to get me to behave in school. If I got good grades, I could pick out a new knife for myself. If I goofed off and did poorly, well the lack of a new knife would be the least of my problems…

I still have all but one of those knives (sadly, I lost one when it slipped from my pocket in my teens).

Although I mention “men” in this article, it does of course also refer to women. My wife keeps a handy little knife with her, as should everyone. Who knows when you’ll need to trim a loose thread, cut off a price tag, or slice open a stubborn packet of something-or-other. (I’m not being sexist; that’s how she uses it.)

Do yourself a favor, folks — get a pocket knife and carry it every day. You’ll be glad you did.

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