Saturday, July 14, 2007

My Knife for Life

Flip decided to get friendly in the kitchen until, looking over my head, he noticed what I was doing. "Isn't that the one that got you?" he asked. I continued to cut up vegetables. "I don't know what you mean." "The knife. That almost cut your finger off." He dropped his arms, which were doing nice things that were nonetheless annoying, from my shoulders. "I thought you were talking about the wax beans," I said.

As a matter of fact, he was right. I do still use the knife that changed my right hand forever, and not for the better. The Laser Stainless paring knife that I bought years ago, that came in a strange package which I was unable to open. I worked on it with increasing strength and urgency until finally, it gave and released the knife directly into the middle joint of my right middle finger, severing all its tendons. That knife. Of course, I'm right-handed. I am not even slightly ambidextrous, although both Flip and my son are equally talented from any direction.

Exactly one year after I bought it, I happened to be in Target and noticed that the Sheffield Company had changed its packaging to a standard bubble wrap. One year being the statute of limitations on suing them. Which I would have liked to do, but was unable to find a lawyer willing to go up against a huge corporation like the Sheffield Knife Company.

I've been meaning to throw the knife away for years. For a long time, whenever I saw it in the drain rack, I relived my surgery and the painful aftermath in which I went back to the doctor who reconstructed my hand, my entire arm huge in white plaster, and asked him if anyone had ever hit him with their cast when they realized how much it hurt. I have moved this knife around the country several times, from home to home, and carefully installed it in my knife rack when I colonized each of them. Somehow, I never did throw it away. I have purchased other, better paring knives since then. I have a little Chicago number, and a Henckels from Williams Sonoma. But I have an irrational fear that this knife, The Bad Knife, will hurt someone else if I send it back into the world, and I can't bring myself to do that.

Maybe I should leave directions that it be buried with me. Or if I decide to be cremated, scattered in the sea with my bones and teeth. Meanwhile, I still use it, which is incomprehensible to Flip. As it would be to anyone who knew its dirty little secret. Of course, Flip is not so perfect himself. He cheats on chicken wishbones and welshes on bets. I would never do either of those things. If he made book with anyone besides me, the Mob would have offed him long ago. I just keep battle souvenirs in my kitchen so in case I ever feel the urge to mortally wound myself again, I'll have what I need, right there.


Molly said...

Who would have thunk it?? An ode to a kitchen with a history of violent and even criminal behaviour!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I would rather it were an epitaph.

I hate the thing, but can't seem to get rid of it.

The CEO said...

I think you should go out and buy yourself both a 5" and a 7" santoku knives by Calphalon or better. Then break the damn paring knife that got you. Break the blade. Use a hammer. I don't mean bend it, unless you have already broken the blade twice and you're bending pieces. Use pliars and a hammer. Get even. Snarl at the blade while you're doing it. Then take the pieces to a metal shop where they have a 40 ton drop forge and explain that the pieces came fro a knife of a person who was evil, and need rehabilitation. They will know what to do with the pieces.

In this way, you will have protected yourself and society from any future misdeeds by the knife.

Now, as to Flip's not honoring his gambling debts, while you're at the metal shop......

Sienna said...


Packaging is corrupt, I am glad you bought this up, it is a pet unlove of mine, packaging! What on earth is it all about, frustrated people that are cute xmas wrappers folk that become mean and twisted? corporated *you think you bought well...we're gunna getchya*

Sue them.

You should see what they package horse feed into, it involves knots!!

There is one end you cut it somehow? and it pulls undone, but guess what, they keep changing the knot end that you cut....b*##**ds.


Mara said...

Good thing I'm blogging, if this had been a letter, I might have got a paper cut!
Don't throw it into the ocean, you want innocent sea creatures to suffer the consequences of such a sharp blade? Think of poor pufferfish who'd get all puffed out and blown away to bits, or dolphins thinking they'd found a quirky new toy just to have their nozzles chopped off whilst playing tag.
You awful cruel thing :P
(keep the knife, it claimed its victim, it chose you, you're its master and wielder.)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Or maybe I should encase it in a concrete block and drop it in the East River.

Flip and I often bet on things. He doesn't understand that I'm serious or he would pay off his bad bets.

On chicken wishbones, he holds them right near the top so when they split apart, he wins, which is too bad because I always make really good wishes.


The problem was the packaging. It was unusual, and practically impossible to open. I wonder how many other people got hurt trying.

I used to empty horse feed into huge bins and discard the wrapping. I never got hurt around horses.

Moral: Stay in barns and out of kitchens.


So glad you didn't get a paper cut. I couldn't stand the guilt.

I'm pretty sure I'm stuck with this knife forever, even though we are not friends.

sognatrice said...

Always hard to say what you'd do in someone else's shoes, but I think I'd probably still have the knife too--couldn't throw it away because it's still good for cutting and couldn't give it away because I'd be afraid I'd be passing some kind of curse. Cut well and cut safely!

eastcoastdweller said...

Sign of a great writer: Can take even the story of a nasty knife and make it into great reading!

Reminds me of when I was digging up marine fossils in a creek bed in my locale and got a nasty cut from one shell. Ten million years the thing had lain there until it got its chance to slash my hand.

seventh sister said...

You could always give the knife to your next door neighbor.

meno said...

Maybe you need to make a long arduous trek so you can drop the knife into the fiery pit of doom. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You understand me. There ought to be a prize.


That's a long time to lie in wait. Those shells got determination.


Great idea! Will you please come and run my life?


Are you telling me to go to hell?

Josie said...

Flip cheats on chicken wishbones???? Oh, that's low... The next time he does that just threaten him with the knife. :-)

I bought a new toothbrush the other day, and I had to practically use dynamite to get it out of the package.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


For a long time, I thought it was kind of fair because I was a strict vegetarian. Lately, though, I've slipped off the chicken wagon a few times, so that changes everything.

What is it with packaging? At least a toothbrush probably won't hurt you, although dynamite will.

thailandchani said...

Packaging, yes. As long as someone brought it up. :)

I can not open things that are shrink-wrapped in plastic. Heck, I might as well hire a surgeon to do it.

For whatever reason, I have no strength in my hands and wrists. (Can't open jars, either. There's a machine for that... :) Invariably, it takes hours to hack through the packaging with scissors and more useless pulling to get the product out.

Finally, I've had to stop buying things that way.

As for the knife.. oh, yeah, it would be gone from here. LOL



heartinsanfrancisco said...


Shrink-wrapping is an improvement over the way this knife was packaged.

Maybe I could have a little ceremony and bury it deeply in the backyard. It might even make flowers grow because of once having had my blood on it.

Anonymous said...

Could you please clarify how, exactly, one goes about cheating when breaking chicken wishbones? This information may come in useful.

flutter said...

waste not want not? I'd be scared out of my noggin to use it...

heartinsanfrancisco said...


He holds his half close to the point of the "v," thus ensuring that it will break off in his favor.


I think it's time to bury it deep in the bowels of the backyard, perhaps encased in clay or something so that burrowing animals don't get hurt.

seventh sister said...

'Great idea! Will you please come and run my life?'

I can't even run a stocking.

I think Meno was refering to Frodo's quest.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I never got into The Hobbits, but my comment to Meno wasn't serious.

And I cannot wear stockings without running them.

Ian Lidster said...

I cringed when I read your tale of the knife. I hate sharp and clean cuts. They make me shudder. When I was in college I worked in a plywood mill where the saws were all toothed. They didn't bother me at all. But, the ones that creep me out are those smooth deli meat slicers. Your description of your sharp knife cut had the same effect on me.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Surgically correct blades creep me out, too. I know exactly what they can do.

Jocelyn said...

You're letting The Knife have a shot at one day redeeming itself, by, you know, cutting open a really important package of cookies one day or something.

Or maybe you're just following that adage of keeping your enemies closer than your friends (but if you have knives for friends, too, then I'm sorry; your life needs some spicing up).

Anonymous said...

Take that right hand and throw that damned knife in the garbage. Immediately. But put it in a box or something. I would hate to have you cut yourself again trowing out the trash!

Oh heck, never mind. Keep it. I guess I like the idea, after all, of you making it your friend.

velvet said...

Ooh, that knife is eeeeevil! Actually, that kind of packaging is the evil, too.

This post gave me the heebies. ;)

thailandchani said...

Oh, the knife would definitely be gone! Buried in the back yard or something. It's tainted.. but then I'm kind of superstitious that way. :)

la cubana gringa said...

I don't know whether I consider you brave or silly! Either way, be careful!!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh my, yes. My life does need spicing up. Preferably in ways that do not require hospital visits and Vicodin.

I don't think I've kept it to allow for redemption, although I love cookies, but simply out of inertia.

I'm a sad case.


The knife is not my friend. Nor is it an enemy I keep close, where I can watch it.

I have decided to lose it as soon as I figure out a way to do so without hurting anyone.

This circumstance is long overdue.


It was the packaging. I have never hurt myself using the knife, although I am certainly a person who should not be trusted with sharp implements.


What do you think is the appropriate incantation to deliver over the disposal of a knife that has caused permanent damage?

La Cubana,

Definitely silly.

I do not have your surgical skills, and amputation should never be attempted by amateurs.

furiousBall said...

I think you should take another knife out of the drawer or block that the bad knife sits near and smash the ever-loving shit out of it. And send that knife a message.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I completely understand.

I kept the knife my mother "accidentally" stabbed me with. I took it from her knife drawer when she kicked me out. I moved it all over the state of California and to Colorado where it moved three times.

One day D said, "what is that knife?" I told him and he said, "oh". Then, without a word, he walked out the door and took it an undisclosed dumpster on the alley behind our house. I stood in the kitchen, stunned.

A troglodyte knows what to do with a naughty knife. I think Flip needs to go trog on you.

thailandchani said...

No incantation necessary.. but I'd definitely get it out of the house. LOL

Oh.. make sure it's not near a crime scene. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Would you do it for me? When we get spiders and stinging insects, I trap and carry them outside, but the knife requires a more aggressive approach.


How perfectly horrible for you. I think you kept it to remind yourself that it did, indeed, happen, and was not a fabrication you created.

I'm so sorry for your pain. It's hard enough to be hurt by a parent's words, but what happened to you is unthinkable.

Having Flip dispose of it is a good idea. He can be a troglodyte as well as anyone.


Are you kidding? This knife IS its own crime scene.

Ian Lidster said...

I could think of few people I'd rather give an award to, so you have one from me. Please check my blog.


Wanderlust Scarlett said...


If you do get buried with it, you have to include the story so that people don't get confused about your reasoning...

this could be misconstrued SO many ways.

Ouch... I had a similar experience, though not nearly as bad as this. I cringe for you...

Scarlett & V.

riseoutofme said...

Thank it graciously for the lessons it has taught you and the post it has inspired.

Then bury it.

Very deep.

But NOT in your back garden.

Just in case.

Paige Jennifer said...

I'm not sure how a post abode a knife had me thirsty for more but it did. Maybe there's some deep philosophical meaning to it all. The sharp edge of the blade. The injury running deeper than tendons. Blah blah blah. Maybe it's just about the knife. No matter what, brilliant post.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Thank you so much!! It will be very hard to come up with only five of my many favorite bloggers to pass it on to.


If I'm dead and they're alive, they can deal with a little confusion.


That is exactly what I thought I would do, thank it for its lessons. I don't think that I can seriously thank it for making a permanent installation of my middle finger for shooting birds, though. (The surgery partially corrected this delightful circumstance.)


I'm worried about you. Does your therapist know you have this cute little fascination with knives?

HeatherAnn Fragglehead said...

I have many a kitchen utensil that have mangled me, and I've also neglected to get rid of them. And, like you, with no good reason NOT to get it straight out of my home.

I linked here from O Mighty Crisis... via her Schmoozing Award entry. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Maybe we should start a chapter of Knifaholics Anonymous.

I tried to visit your blog both from here and from Jocelyn's, but the link isn't working for some reason.

While there, I discovered that she had given me the Schmoozer award, which I didn't know. Ooops.

Thank you so much for visiting, and I'll keep trying to see your blog.

CS said...

I'd be unable to keep it I think, because the sight of it would haunt me. On the other hand, somehow I understand exactly what you mean about not wanting it to cause harm to anyone else. Maybe you could melt down the blade so it won't hurt anyone, and then get rid of it?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Maybe I should smuggle it on a plane. After the Homeland Security folks subdued me, they'd take care of it.

urban-urchin said...

Ouch ouch ouch. I almost cut the first joint of my left index finger off during a bagel cutting incident but that just needed a whole mess of stitches not surgery.

If it's a good knife, I understand keeping it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


That's the thing -- it isn't a good knife. It is bad through and through, and also not a particularly good tool.

It needs to go. I am working on a plan.

I'm glad your injury wasn't too serious.