Useful Swiss Army Knife


Badass pictures of Jordan
Badass pictures of Jordan

Random Observation/Comment #174:  I never understood the nerdy Cooper kids that carry around Leathermans and Swiss Army knives everywhere they go (cough, JHG).  Do Cooper and the Computer Center reach the levels of intensity that require such a tool?  I guess the knife would be useful for opening a box if you’re in the stockroom, but that’s nothing a pen can’t do.  All engineers should have learned the essence of MacGyver-ing any situation (It was before my time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know who he is).  After purchasing my own genuine Swiss Army knife in Interlaken, I expected I would have been smited (smote?) in some way by that part of my brain that stops me from being more geeky because this step had propelled me, head-first, into the next stage of new-age resourceful nerdom.  Oddly, the smiting hath not begun mostly because I quickly found magical uses for the knife, bottle opener, and scissors.  Yes, I could have hacked at it with my finger nails, ripped it, or used a lighter to open the bottle, but somehow I felt obligated to use this new device.  I think someone (maybe me) is putting me in positions where this tool would be useful – it’s very subconscious.  At least I smile every time I see that this money was well spent.  I would have probably blown it on chocolate anyway.

After sledging for the afternoon, the group decided to make a fire and cook dinner on the side of the mountain.  This plan was flawless, except for the whole lack of firewood detail.  There was plenty of kindling pieces and I provided the excessive supply of maps that I kept in my pocket (even I was impressed at how many I had accumulated in the past few days), but even with a lighter, this was a difficult task.  Unfortunately, the cheap plastic and ink did not contribute to making the fire hotter; it only made our nostrils swell and eyes tear from the toxic fumes.  We wound up cutting down a few trees and improvising with some alcoholic beverages.  What actually wound up working was persistency.

It took about 45 minutes, but the fire was eventually roaring and our beer burrowed in the ice was eventually cold.  We borrowed a few pans from the hostel and cooked up a mighty-good meal.  We brought sausages, eggs, and dinner rolls to make a legitimate omelet and some other rather good treats.  The cheese melted beautifully and everything turned out better than expected.  The Swiss Army knife was used excessively to cut meat, cut firewood, and cut open my finger – oops.  Luckily, I still have all of my digits.

On a side note, the box of eggs we brought had 4 out of 6 eggs with double yolks.  I’m not sure if this is good luck or bad, but I was almost convinced the entire box was double-yolked because the first three we cracked were doubles.  I understand scientifically how this happens, but that was the first time in my life I saw 3 in a plate, let alone cracked in a row, and from a package that was made for normal yolks.  I tried a rough estimation of the probability and then decided to think about more useful stuff.  Anyway, I’m sure these magical eggs contributed to making an amazing omelet.

Even during the summer, I would never prefer sleeping outside over any type of bed or surface inside.  The idea of accidentally eating insects or having them burrow under my skin while I sleep just makes my skin crawl.  I don’t mind hanging out with insects when I’m awake and I can react more naturally, but sleeping next to these creatures makes me feel dead.  Jordan and James used hammocks (which is pretty sweet in the summer), but the wind blowing under the hammock completely draws the heat out of your body.  For the best of both worlds, I stayed out for the fireside chat and then returned to the warm bed at night.  The hardcore outdoors-ies were more prepared than I could ever imagine, and they still said that it was rough.  Minimal hours of sleep really aren’t on my game plan when Interlaken has so many beautiful sights to offer.

~See Lemons Go Camping (sort of)

Starting the fire with pine needles
Starting the fire with pine needles

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