The Incident with the Carving Knife

When I was 11 or maybe 12, at a family dinner that was probably Thanksgiving, I engaged in a dangerous act of safety. It creeps me out to this day, just like imagining that the bannister down which I’m sliding has turned into a razor blade … Yech.

We were living in Chula Vista. We were using the family room as a dining room. When I look back on that floor plan and see the pass-through window above the kitchen sink, I understand that the architects intended a dining room table would sit in that part of the living room, between the wall to the kitchen and the sliding door out to the back patio and yard. They designed the room to the left of the big living room for the TV and family activities. But we never used the house that way. We mostly ate in the kitchen, by the window to the front of the place. We made the table big in the family room when we had feasts.

So we were feasting. Mom had cooked and Dad was getting ready to carve (for an engineer and craftsman he never settled into good carving habits, but he spawned two excellent carvers in my brothers his sons), when he asked me, his eldest child, to fetch the sharp knife.

I’d been taught the correct way to present a knife. So I went into the kitchen, acquired the tool, and marched back to the family-room/dining area with the blade aimed at my own chest. I simply made the whole walk with the knife handle in the polite, recipient-friendly position.

My dad freaked out. He rose from his seat in one smooth swoop, removed the knife from my hand and let his body drop back into his armchair and said “What the heck were you doing?!”

I goggled at him.

“Mar! You never walk with a knife that way!”

“But it’s the …”

“Think of it: just imagine what would have happened if you had tripped.”

I understood the phrase “staggers the imagination” then, because that’s what my imagination did. Still does. Oooh.

Watch out for safety. It’s often inconvenient, at best.

This entry was posted in Lessons. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s