Old Stuff I Own

BrainRants has recently published a couple of posts about strange old stuff he owns, with the accent on strange. The first was about a truly bizarre little plastic/rubber Gollywog, whose childhood acquisition and continuing possession may help explain his current mental state.

I don’t own any strange things, although with me, that’s hard to prove. I do still have chunks of glacier in my freezer, from the last ice age, so I thought I might write about a couple of long-owned/old items that the Historical Museum hasn’t got their hands on yet.

SDC10528No surprise, I’m starting with a knife. This was the second knife I ever bought, just before I turned 16, late in the summer of 1960. I had possessed several knives before this one, but they had been gifts or found items. The first knife I bought was exactly the same size and shape as this one, except that it had rough faux-bone handles.

While the “hold” was better, I preferred the sleek white faux-seashell look of this one, and lost/sold/broke the first one. Back then folding pocket knives didn’t lock in the open position, and care had to be taken when using them, lest they close on an unwary finger.

I carried this one till well after I got married. We moved into a geared-to-income housing compound. Built by the lowest bidder, there was a round electrical box on the ceiling of the basement laundry area, but no light fixture. I didn’t want to wait for an overburdened maintenance dept. and, being a Handy-Dandy DIY guy, (Yuk, Yuk) I decided to install one myself.

Since there was no light to turn on and off, I traced the electrical cable back to the breaker box, and then the black power line down to its breaker, which I turned off, for safety. I climbed back up on a wooden chair, and pulled down the power line to cut the insulation off, so that I could connect the fixture.

Suddenly, there was a ZAP, and a photo flash went off right beside my eyes. When I could see again, I looked at the wire and my knife. There are two power lines inside each cable. I had turned off the power to the black one – and cut into the still-live red one.

SDC10528b

The more sharp-eyed among you may already have noticed what this close-up shows. I had bridged from the live wire to the edge of the box, and burned a notch right out of the center of the blade. I wasn’t shocked, except by the damage to my pretty little knife, which has gone into semi-retirement in the utility room, cutting off shrink-wrap and into cardboard food boxes.

 

Soon after, in the fall of 1970, I found this replacement knife at K-Mart, that defender of the American Way. Manufactured when Pakistan thought that it could produce steel, and I only cared about a pointy tip and a beveled edge, I bought this little Sabre knife, making it about as old as Rants.SDC10529

With wooden scales and a thicker body, this one is a bit easier to hold and use. It also has a back-lock at the rear of the handle, making it a bit safer to use. It has outlasted 6 or 7 belt pouches, going into retirement in an indestructible nylon sheath which only needed its Velcro closer replaced.

This was largely a “work” knife, cutting strapping, plastic and vinyl sheet and cardboard cartons. It has cut at least two co-workers out of shoes whose laces just would just not untie. It has quartered and cored countless apples and pears, and started tough banana peels. It has opened several cans of pop (soda) whose tabs broke off. It has also acted as a can opener to several tins of beans, soup and pasta, for friends who mistakenly thought the lunch room had a working can opener.

I’m a lot more careful about the tips and edges of my carry knife these days. After almost 45 years of tough usage, this little $5.99 “piece of crap” doesn’t owe me a thing. More old stuff, including jokes, later.

 

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Excitement Unexpected

 

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I may have to borrow BrainRants’ Thai hot-sauce.  My life is beginning to acquire some taste and flair.  T’was not always thus.  My life has been uninterestingly, go to work, come home, eat, watch some TV, repeat, repeat, repeat, for years.  That’s the way my medical providers and I have wanted it.  I have raised lowered bland to new depths.  If boring were an Olympic sport, I’d be at the top of the podium, wrapping the gold medal around my neck, while the guy with the drying paint watched the other guy’s grass grow.  There’s a Chinese curse, May you live in interesting times.  Between my hopefully now defunct eyesight drama, and the ever-growing blogosphere adventure, this has been an Interesting six months.

Wow!  Lightning struck three times on the same day.  Well, actually, it was more like the static sparks you get when you scuff your feet on the carpet and touch a doorknob, but they impressed the Hell out of me.  I have a very low tolerance.  First, LadyRyl read one of my pieces out loud to two of her gal friends.  One of them was sufficiently impressed that she wished to follow me, so LadyRyl posted a link to my site on her Facebook page.  Exposure like that might get me two, maybe three more potential readers.

Next, I got my Jerry Seinfeld piece reblogged.  Abauerporsche is a blog from a small Porsche dealer/repair shop in Oakland, California.  I would have thought that a lot full of Porsches would be enough to generate interest, but somebody there sieves the internet and reposts four or five blogs a day.  They’re always about cars.  They’re almost always about Porsches and many of them contain photos of body lines and chromed turbochargers and races.  I didn’t see any search terms.  I don’t know how my site was reached, or why that particular packing case of verbiage was shoehorned in, but, I’ll take the exposure.  Now I have upscale readers to consider.  I can write for Intelligent, but I’m not sure I can write for Expensive.

And finally….KayJai couldn’t pass on that case of strep throat, so she inflicted me with my second case of Versatile Blogger.  I guess every blogger must have some degree of ego, or we wouldn’t be here.  I have a very small one.  That’s why KayJai could massage it and still be done in time to get home for lunch.  Ego!  Pay attention!  I feel like Sally Field, accepting the Oscar.  You love me!  You really love me!  Either that or, I’m being given something to do, to get me out of your hair for a couple of days.

You all know the rules.  If you don’t, look ‘em up.  It doesn’t matter.  I didn’t follow them the first time, and I’m not going to follow them even worse, this time.  I am going to proudly thank KayJai.  She is a strong, kind, intelligent blogger, whose writing I appreciate, and whose opinions I respect.  It is humbling to receive such recognition from a person like her.

Hmmm, seven things about me…?  Go back and read my first acceptance speech.  I feel that I, personally, am about as exciting as tapioca pudding, but, I keep my eyes and ears open, and interesting people and things have passed though my orbit.  I have been within ten feet of Queen Elizabeth.  The Second!  I’m old, but I’m not that old.  Twelve feet from Prince What’s-his-name.  I got a kiss on the cheek from the Secretary of State for External Affairs.  She was a woman, or at least, that’s what she told me.  And, I had a very brief conversation with (and some photos of) the singer, Roger Whittaker, dressed up as Don Quixote.

Blogs I wish to acknowledge….include the group I wrote about a month or so ago.  SavortheFolly is partly back, and much welcomed.  H E Ellis was also M.I.A., and sadly missed, but is now back, to den-mother us.  I continue to take baby steps and expand my circle of blogs-read.  Some I have liked, others, not so much.  Two I wish to add are; from a link on Rants’ site, TheByronicMan.  Intelligent and well written.  He has something to say, and says it well.  From a recommendation from the missing Hellis, TheHaremsMaster.  He drops the occasional clot of keystrokes.  Sometimes talks about himself, sometimes about politics or life in general.  Sometimes prints excerpts from, not one, but two books he’s simultaneously working on.  Damn!  Am I the only one not working on a book?  Well, there is that ever-growing pile of research notes that the Hermudgeon keeps urging me to deal with.  If you think I live on the tundra, visit Harem Master’s place.  He’s so far north; the only thing keeping him from falling off the top edge is the North Pole itself.  He gets his internet delivered by dogsled, and it takes him an hour to defrost it.

Another management seminar impressed how a group decision is almost always better than any single person’s.  In the short time I have been observing “my” group; I have seen the individuals teach each other, new, better, more creative ways of doing things and challenge the others to new styles and new heights.  Figuratively, I have graduated from Velcro runners, to tying my own laces and taking those baby steps.  But it’s time to stop all this shoulder patting.  Let’s get out there and impress someone.