Lessons Learned

1 – As they have preached to me for years, I should not cut towards myself, but rather away from myself.

2 – A good, tough, leather shaft on a boot is worth its weight in gold.

3 – Knife safety is as valuable as any other kind of safety, and often overlooked.

At work, we close many boxes with hot glue. There are times that we have to reopen boxes to check the contents. When I open a brand new box, I want to do it in such a way that it can be resealed. So, I’ve found that my Ka-Bar folder is just about the most effective box opener known to man. The D2 blade is tough enough to rip through the most unsavory of adhesives, and cleans up true and bright, and holds its edge well.

Today, I was in a hurry. The boxes had to be opened NOW. There was a bit of a busy crowd around me in the shop as I produced my Ka-Bar and started cutting through recently set hot glue. I drew the knife through the seam towards me. It’s not that I was deliberately disobeying the knife rules so much as I was pointing inward to protect the individuals around me.

The blade made it through a tough spot in the glue and into a softer spot that instantly gave. Before I was aware of what was happening, I felt the blow against my calf. I quickly inspected by jeans for the hole, and could not find it. Nothing felt wet (with blood), and there was no pain. So, I completed the task at hand.

Afterward, thinking of the tangible blow to my calf, I inspected more closely. I discovered a chisel-point hole in the top of my boot shaft, not an inch from the top.

I found a matching scratch on the inside of my calf, right behind the tibia.

My heart skipped several beats as I realized that I had been less than an inch away from having that D2 steel, Ka-Bar blade sunken deeply between my tibia and fibula on my left leg.

Thank God boot shafts are made from durable leather. Thank God that I have ignored the dress code that prohibits leather-soled footwear. Thank God that the blade landed where it did instead of 3/4-inch higher.

Since I’m currently an independent contractor, Workman’s Comp would be a supreme PITA at its best, and out of the question at its worst. The probable injury to ensue would most likely put me off my feet for some time, and would certainly require stitches, if not surgery.

I’m just really thankful that everything worked out so well despite my negligence. Once in a great while, I have an incident that reminds me how careful I should be with my knives. This has been my latest incident. Thankfully, my boot will carry the scar instead of me. I was very fortunate this time.

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