Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Knife, Spoon, Fork, Garbage.

When was the last time you bought cutlery? How about the last time that you threw away cutlery? I’m not talking about some fancy new knife set that surprises you every time by its extreme sharpness or the good shiny set you bring out when old Aunt Jemima visits. I mean the garden variety flatware shit. The stuff that you use for everyday breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You don’t remember, do you? Well, neither do I, but we all have it, and have too much of it. There is the rare household that has a spoon or fork shortage, but I’m not going to discuss them. Besides, they’re on the right track. Less is more, and they really only feel the shortage when there have one too many guests over and someone ends up eating spaghetti with a butter knife and the measuring spoons. Incidentally, the Tablespoon is awesome for eating cereal.

For the rest of you, that have more than an ample supply of eating tools, chances are that you can’t even remember where every fork, spoon or knife actually came from. They’re all different shapes and sizes. You know that some were inherited from your parents’ home or handed down to you when you moved out. You’re pretty sure that some were stolen from restaurants, work or school cafeterias, or in rare cases, someone else’s home. And you don’t have to admit it to anyone, but there may even be a few pieces that were left behind by the previous tenants that you washed and kept. Some are just strange and intriguing pieces that seemingly appeared out of nowhere: the three-pronged spoon-fork, the feather-weight paring knife complete with the half-melted black plastic handle that you left too close to the burner one time, or that inexplicably tiny spoon (you’ll say it’s a family heirloom, but you don’t actually know where it came from). And then there’s always that one really dirty spoon or fork, too. The one that, no matter how many times you clean it stays dirty and rusty looking, and you always wonder if that brown somehow affects the taste of the food.

“Does it taste rusty to you? I’d better hang on to it to figure out if it’s the food or the spoon that tastes rusty.”

We have no problem throwing most stuff away. We accidentally throw out important crap from time to time, or get rid of something decent just as an excuse to buy a bigger and better version. Why doesn’t this apply to flatware? We hang onto every last piece forever. Are we somehow worried about needing it all at the same time? Maybe you’re hoping that after the apocalypse, you’ll be chosen by the New Ruler to have the entire survivor population over for a pot-luck dinner. But even when it does happen, you’ll probably just buy the plastic crap so you won’t have any dishes to do.

“But mister, this plastic fork won’t pierce the ravioli, and I think some plastic broke off in my salad and I ate it.”
“Shut up, it’s full of calcium and vitamin McG. Stop whining and use two forks stuck together, back to back, like the rest of us.”

On a side note, why do we still say we need to “do the dishes”, when there are probably just as many non-dishes to wash? Doesn’t anyone ever “do the spoons”? Perhaps it’s because people feel safe putting a spoon in the dishwasher, but no one would dare put a dish in the spoonwasher. Here’s another thought: at a pizza restaurant that serves the deep dish pizza, can the dish washers refer to themselves as deep dish washers? These are the kinds of questions that occupy my brain.

Often times, you only end up using the bad cutlery when you’re too lazy to clean the good stuff. You know that feeling you get when you open the drawer.

“Rats! The only fork left is the one with the badly aligned prongs. It always scrapes my teeth and makes my tongue bleed… oh well, definitely still beats washing something.”

If you have this type of bad utensil, my recommendation is that you throw it away, and clean a good utensil. I know how bizarre this will feel at first, since you may have to wash forks and shit more often. But you’ll soon realize that if you wash it shortly after using it, the scrambled eggs come off much easier. And, don’t try and donate all of your bad stuff to charity or sell it at some stupid garage sale, otherwise, you’re only spreading bad cutlery around.

“Hey! They’re selling forks and spoons for twenty-five cents each, what a deal, let’s get fifty.”
“For you, buy fifty, get fifty free.”

Don't help this person. Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

“But what if I someday need the thin weak spoon that got bent when I used it to scoop vanilla ice cream, and then I bent it back as best I could, but it didn’t look quite right, and now it’s crooked and has a kink in it like an inch worm?”

Trust me. You won’t ever miss this spoon. Also, butter knives may appear to be good for a lifetime, but they need not be, and you probably have at least ten too many. Maybe you feel guilty throwing away a perfectly straight and rigid butter knife.

“It still butters so well, how could I throw it away? I can’t. I guess I’ll just have to throw away some clothes and start using my top dresser drawers to store them.”

Take them out of those drawers and start putting them to other uses, if you feel you can’t toss them. Use them as screwdrivers, bookmarks, coffee stirrers, drum sticks, rulers, or whatever. Glue them to your walls to spell out words. You can name each room. That way you’ll always know where you are. Don’t donate these to charity either, unless you’re also donating butter.

The steak knife is not often considered in the same family as what I've been discussing here, but it needs to be addressed regardless. You know how every home has at least a few bad steak knives? The knives that barely cut anymore and sometimes have one of those loose handles with the missing screw? I've noticed that it’s always those older ones with the cheesy wooden handles. They’re the steak knife equivalent of taking the bus. They may get you there, but not comfortably, quickly or smoothly, and you might lose your appetite along the way.

You have people over for dinner and you eventually notice a guest sweating over a pizza crust as he saws and works at it like a lumberjack with a log. It is poor dinner party etiquette for them to tell you that the knife that you gave them sucks. So, they’ll wait for you to offer to switch it up. Only offer once, if they don’t take it, they missed their chance.

“Oh gee Bill, here, gimme that, I’ll get you one of the good knives.”
“Oh, no worries, this sharp spoon seems to be cutting my steak rather nicely.”

Why are you keeping the bad knives anyways? Are you worried that a knife fight will break out, and you want to be sure that you control who has the good cutting and stabbing power?

“I don’t trust that Steven guy, honey. Sit him in the corner with that old worn down serrated knife with the miscellaneous brown spots and the wiggly handle. I feel like he might come straight for me during the brawl portion of the evening.”

And then, after dinner, but before coffee and cake, during the brawl:

“Ha, nice try Steven, but you didn’t even break the skin. I gave you the bad knife.”

Although, chances are he’ll have brought his own blade for the rumble. Just throw away the shitty steak knives. And don’t think that you can keep them, and let some of them serve as some kinds of thin, mildly sharp butter knives either, because as discussed previously, you already have too many. Maybe you’re hanging onto them in the hopes of getting them sharpened one day. Well, don’t bother, because you won’t.

What are you thinking exactly? That you’ll be at home at just the right time when one of those knife sharpening trucks drives through your neighbourhood? They’ll play a little jingle just like the ice cream man? You’ll run to the window and realize it’s a knife sharpener? You’ll rejoice and run to the kitchen and gather all the bad knives and run out to the street? Maybe, but then you’ll realize that the truck is moving at roughly thirty kilometres per hour, slow for a car, but fast for a human, and is long gone. You could start running around trying to find him, but if you do that, you’re more likely to accidentally stab someone, trip and kill yourself, or get arrested, than you are to actually turn your bad knives back into good ones.

“Yes officer, he just ran by again in an open house coat, flowing in the wind, wielding and waving three or four knives and repeatedly screaming ‘WAIT’. Please hurry; this is not the first time. I don’t know what he’s going to do next.”

Is it worth the risk? Is collecting and hanging on to useless shit really worth going to jail for?

It’s time to break the mould. Bad forks, bad spoons, bad knives, just throw them all away. If you’re left with nothing, just eat with your hands for a little while, until you save up enough money to buy a new set of cutlery. Future generations will thank you, when they are handed down decent flatware. This may even take several years, since, after all, they must be quite expensive if you’re still clinging to the shit you have at home. I highly doubt that a new set only costs ten bucks or so at the store. Right? Right?

That’s it. Stay sharp.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Hooter's hand towel in the drawer. classic :)