Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A Cut Above

It started, as these things often do, with strong beer. I’d got into the bath with a lit cigar, a huge air dried Spanish ham on the bone and a waterproof mobile smartphone, all of which I’d received for Christmas the day before, perched them on the bath caddy and started opening the beer that was in the ice bucket. Heavy Belgian, self-mugging beer. This was a premeditated beer/ham/cigar Boxing day double soak after a particularly grating family Christmas that involved other people’s children and not enough wine. (There never is.) 

The knife I was using to thinly slice the ham wasn’t thinly slicing the ham. Instead it had decided to clumsily saw off great lumps rather than those translucent sheets one sees in supermarkets. Time passed. Empty beer bottles joined me in the bath, bobbing around with clinky optimism. I started absent-mindedly looking through ebay on my new phone for sharp knives. With the customary impatience of a drunk man coughing in a bath I decided to bid on several of the knives that were “ending first” to ensure winning one. I felt like an extra Christmas present anyway.

Three days, total amnesia and a colourful hangover later something arrived in the post. I opened the package that afternoon and, baffled, unwrapped the sort of Bowie knife I’d only ever seen being used in knife fights by Richard Widmark in 60’s cowboy film. The blade didn’t look like there was anywhere on my body that I could stick it in without it sticking out the other side. I assumed it was a late Christmas present and I laid it on my bar where it dutifully busied itself in the task of cutting lemons for a large Tom Collins.

The next day another knife arrived from Thailand. This time I unwrapped a sheath knife so crappy that it had a plastic handle, wobbly blade and, clearly in a mix up in translation, had the words “shown actual size” etched on the blade. The lemons proved too much for it and so did pencil sharpening so I took pity and demoted it to cheese, which is the third lowest knife rank above paint tin then screwdriver (once you’ve broken the tip off with the paint tin.) The fog of memory began to clear and I looked into my bidding history. It seemed that I’d stupidly bid, won and paid for these knives whilst in the bath, £15 for the Bowie knife and £8 for “shown actual size.” What’s more there was another one on the way. It seemed I’d only paid £4.68 for it. I didn’t hold out much hope and continued writing enthusiastic and wildly exaggerated thank you letters.

Another three days later and the final package arrived. Nestled in white raffia paper was a knife made by David-Andersen the Norwegian jeweller. It had a smooth walnut handle, black leather sheath, silver fittings and a mirror finished folded steel blade. It was quickly rushed through the rank taking up Spanish ham duties where it sliced a piece so thin that, had I dropped it above a lit candle, it would never had hit the ground, much to the annoyance of the jealously glaring Leathermen.

Nowadays, David-Andersen sits at my desk ready to whittle a pencil end to a single molecule and because he’s an outdoorsy Norwegian knife I let him out in the fresh air and take him sailing or fishing whenever I can or he has the tendency to sulk. And the others? Widmark still cuts lemons on the bar without a word of complaint (Bowie knives are big but not very bright) and “Shown actual size” was finally demoted to screwdriver. The parmesan proved too much for him.
by Guy Venables

1 comment:

  1. An excellent funny piece Guy. A hard act to follow. Nice to know that somewhere on the south coast there's a well-fed, very clean cartoonist.
    ps I had to sign this because this pesky comments system guides you either to "anon" or wants to know if you speak URL. Which I don't.


Go on... you want to say SOMETHING, don't you? Post under a made-up name if you're shy!