I’ve had a pocket knife as long as I can remember. I think I got mine when I was about eight years old, and no, I did not grow up in the countryside. I grew up in a mini-metropolis. There was no practical purpose for my dad giving me that knife (no game to skin or tack to be made) except the fact that it showed me my dad trusted me, and he was handing down a father-son tradition. There was something about that knife and being trusted with it (it was his as a boy) that made me feel older, more mature, more responsible, and more in control of my destiny. I used it to carve my name in scraps of wood, make sling shots and just plain whittle. I have no memory of serious cuts or injury- no stabbings or deaths (all my contemporaries had them and we still have all of our digits). I just felt cool and loved it as an object. Being given such an adult responsibility (along with rules of conduct from my father) I didn’t want to disappoint anyone by being foolish.
I guess that pocket knife taught me a lot. So I have handed one of my pocket knives to my daughter Clara so she can hopefully understand and experience the things I so clearly remember as a child her age. It’s about having the responsibility of such an adult object, and enjoying the world that opens up to you as you open up that blade.