This I Believe

Chance - Overland Park, Kansas
Entered on January 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Last year, I don’t remember when exactly, probably April of 2006, I discovered that I needed to be more careful with my knives. I was sitting on my bed sharpening one of my favorite blades. It was of peculiar length. It was too long to be a dagger, too short to be a sword. The blade was thin and double sided. It had a golden plated cobra head fastened to the handle. The knife itself was constructed to fit in the hollow interior of a wooden cane. I assume it was made this way for sneaky, lightning fast attacks, attacks that could be as fast as a snake. My uncle on my father’s side gave it to me.

Anyway, I was eventually satisfied over how sharp my knife was. However, I didn’t believe it was perfect yet. I wanted to somehow test it to determine if I could further improve it. I was in possession off a battered shoebox. I would oftentimes use the shoebox as a test to see how sharp a blade or axe was by slicing the weapon into it. I fastened the shoebox on its side, resting upon my knee, with my left hand atop for leverage. I brought the knife toward the front of the box.

I lunged my knife at the box, and it wriggled in. I had lost my balance, and allowed the knife to enter the box at an odd angle. Although it sliced through cleanly, it had been stymied by its awkward angle, and I knew it had higher potential. I realized the flaw in my balance; my left hand had slipped. I planted my hand confidently on the top of the box. I cocked back my arm until my shoulder strained, built up as much force as my arm could handle, tightened my fingers around the cobra and unleashed the fury of my weapon, eager to see expected results. The blade snapped through the box like lightning, and blasted out the other side. It was invigorating.

But what soured the momentary accomplishment was my realization that I had carved the knife through the thumb of my left as it traveled through the cardboard box. It went all the way through. I was definitely satisfied with the sharpness of the blade, but this thought was a shadow to the sheer panic and self-pity pumping through me (also adrenaline). In shock and in agony, I wretched the knife out of me, cursing it. This action was surprisingly, and somewhat deceivingly easy. This hurt much less than I thought it would. I flung the blade away, and it whistled through the air. I wrapped my heavily bleeding thumb crudely in a shirt. After a few anxious seconds, the blood soaked through the shirt. Almost too afraid to look, to behold the consequences of my carelessness, I glanced at my pulsating thumb. The thumb revealed a large inclined enter wound, and a protruding exit wound. The wounds thankfully displayed no “guts” of any kind, but if there was, I couldn’t see past the forest of red. The knife was so razor-sharp that it had sliced a wound one millimeter thick. It had sliced through no bones, tendons, or ligaments, only pure muscle. Meat, the substance you gnaw off an animal. Frantically, I coiled the thumb in a cast of duct tape and pulled it as tight as it would allow. I was using pressure to slow the rivers of blood leaking out of me, as well as provide a substantial barrier to anything else that may take advantage of the situation and infect me through this penetration. After I collected myself, and recovered from shaking in shock, I went to work. I kept the cast of thick elastic on me.

Eventually the bleeding stopped. I required no stitches or medicine for any disease I may have acquired from being exposed to the knife. For some reason, telling anyone, or better yet, contacting a doctor never crossed my mind. Shortly after such an incident, I don’t expect anyone to think rationally. I was so ashamed and embarrassed with the incident that I insisted to everyone that I had dropped the blade, impulsively tried to catch it, and received wounds when my hand contacted the knife. Although this made me feel like an idiot, everybody bought the phony story.

This life-changing experience didn’t sour me on knifes, it only made my bond to them stronger. I just learned to regard the knives with a higher respect. Before this event, I always assumed that I “controlled” the weapon when the handle was in my hand. I believed that it wouldn’t deceive me, and was my friend. Knives are like people, you can control them if you give them what they want: respect, this I believe. What I got out of the experience was a life-long lesson, two scars, and a sharp blade. I haven’t cleaned the blade to this day, so that I could remember the experience.