It’s okay. You’ve got lives of your own and have no need to remember stories I wrote months ago. (Though it would be very flattering if you did.) (On the other hand, ask me what blog post I wrote yesterday, and there would be an extended pause before I remember. Sometimes infinitely extended. I’d have to actually go back and look it up.)
Okay, so a reminder.
My bodywork specialist whom I colorfully though not inaccurately call “The Horse Doctor” – because he works three days a week on people and three days a week on horses – claims – and I am not prepared to dispute his assertion, as he was a former police officer and has the physiognomy of a linebacker – he claims he has a personal collection of more than eight hundred knives.
(He also has a stash of collectible pens. Believing, he explains, that in case the pen turns out not to be mightier than the sword, he can always resort to the knives. I was about to say “fall back on the knives” but the wording sounded precariously dangerous.)
While he was working on me one day, trying to unknot the consequences of longtime postural deficiencies, I mentioned meekly that I myself have one knife. (Not counting the ones in our silverware drawer.) My single knife is a Standard Issue Marine “K-Bar” knife which, when I worked on Major Dad, was given to me by its star Gerald McRaney as a Christmas present. (Mounted on a plaque. The man didn’t just hand me a knife and say, “Merry Christmas.”)
I mentioned to “The Horse Doctor” that once, when I was twelve, my Uncle Irving, per my insistent request, had given me a Bowie Knife for my birthday. But it was disappointing because it was too small – it seemed to me like a “Bowie Knifette”. I had seen the genuine article, or at least its representational replica on The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1956-58) TV series. I still remember the theme song:
“Jim Bowie, Jim Bowie…
He was a bold, adventurin’ man
Ah, never mind.
The original Bowie Knife was a weapon of gargantuan proportions.
Why did I need a weapon of gargantuan proportions? I didn’t. The knife would primarily come into service at camp, cutting, debarking and sharpening the points of
hot dog and marshmallow sticks. Otherwise, I would just look at it. Maybe wave it around a little when I was alone. Though I did none of that with the embarrassing “Mini-Bowie.” I just put it in a drawer.
“The Horse Doctor” revealed that he had an actual-sized Bowie Knife, and, triggering an involuntary shiver, he abruptly promised to give it to me.
Months passed, and he forgot. (Which is what the original post on the subject was about – controlling my anticipation of a bestowment that might never arrive.
A couple of visits ago, I tangentially – and manipulatively – broached the subject. I mean, it’s not right to say, “Remember that Bowie Knife you promised to give me? Well where the heck is it?”
And yet, gul darnit, I really wanted that knife!
What I did instead was, a propos of I no longer remember what, I said,
“You said you were going to show me your Bowie Knife.”
Do see the “sneaky” part there? Well, it worked! The “Horse Doctor” immediately jumped to the bait, replying,
“I was going to give it to you.”
And on my following visit, he did.
It was magnificent. A real Bowie Knife beauty.
A wide nine-inch blade (I measured it later), polished hardwood handle, made of Damascus steel, an alloy meant to both hold its edge and not easily shatter.
I held it in my hand, and I immediately began singing.
“Jim Bowie, Jim Bowie…
He was a…
You get the idea.
I thanked “The Horse Doctor” profusely. I was in “pig sticker” heaven.
The question now was,
“How do I get it home?”
My thoughts run immediately to 1981 when I announced that I would be visiting a Best of the West actor who was in the hospital, and my boss handed me a brown paper bag full of marijuana and told me to take it to him.
Despite enormous peer pressure to fulfill this “harmless request”, I adamantly refused to do so. At that time, I was not a citizen, just a “Resident Alien”, and being caught transporting marijuana meant immediate deportation back to Canada, where, for a number of reasons, I was not excited to wind up.
As with carrying illegal contraband in my car, I was certain being caught with a knife with a nine-inch blade in public would cause difficulties should I encounter the constabulary.
“Your brake light is out, and… wait! What’s that in the passenger seat?”
Not that I feared he would take me for a mass murderer. For practical reasons, among mass murderers, knives are rarely, if ever, their personal “Weapon of Choice.”
“Am I going to be next?”
“Just as soon as I pull it out of this guy.”
But still, a man driving around with a nine-inch-long Bowie Knife…
“The Horse Doctor” had sensibly delivered it in a plastic bag. I was not entirely certain if that was worse. Is a knife in a bag considered a “concealed weapon”?
I drove carefully, though not inordinately slowly, not wanting to draw unnecessary attention to myself. And, consequently, to the “thing.”
But I kept looking at it, eager to enjoy its curvaceous company as soon as I could. (A traditional Bowie Knife has a curved blade at the bottom, and for the first half or so of it, the top edge of it’s curved into a blade as well. As a result, if it is required, you can simultaneously cut both upwards and downwards. This, in its day, was a game-changing innovation. It was the “Clip-on Bowtie” of knives.)
At every stoplight, I had to battle my impulse to take it out. But I couldn’t. What if the driver beside me looked in through the window and reported me.
“Yeah, there’s this guy with a giant knife driving beside me. I just thought you ought to know.”
I did not want anyone to see me with that knife. And then, this revelation suddenly hit me:
I mean, what’s the use of having a Bowie Knife if nobody knows you’ve got it?
My struggle was not about keeping others from seeing my Bowie Knife. It was in preventing myself from showing it to them!
“Look what I got!”
And I have to tell you. I had to fight really hard to prevail.
I counted the number of streets left till I was home. Then the number of blocks. Then the number of houses.
Finally, I turned into my driveway…
And I could breathe.
Right now, my long-anticipated Bowie Knife rests in its pristine leather scabbard just a couple of feet behind me. I have to stop writing now.
And go play with it, and sing.
I am not a dangerous person.
But, God help me, I am enthralled by exquisitely tooled weaponry.
Oh, and fire.