Like any ninja worth his cool black suit, I am pretty good with a blade. This is especially true since I started eating an herbivore diet and really building some strong vegetable cutting arms.
There is a whole different set of muscles being used with herbivore knife work. Meat cutting is a deadly ballet while vegetable cutting is a rhythmic march. My forearms are getting a little more Popeye each week. We have a food processor and a few handheld slicing gadgets, but nothing gets the job done like a drawer full of knives.
Don’t get the wrong idea, I wasn’t always a silent assassin, capable of chopping and dicing my foes into oblivion. For that level of ninja super hero skill, I had to learn to trust my little voice.
Forgive me for getting all Magnum, PI on you, but like the hunky, fictional, mustache sporting private detective, I also have a little voice. It stays quiet most of the time, but when it feels the time is right it will whisper pretty good advice that steers the rest of me out of harms way. I was in my mid 20’s before I fully grasped how intuitive and beneficial my little voice could be.
It was the mid-90’s. Flannel shirts, combat boots, and grunge had begun to fade while Seinfeld and Friends reminded us it was OK to laugh at others. It was a long Thanksgiving weekend and we were spending it at my mother-in-law’s house. Thanksgiving was a major event for me because it wasn’t isolated to an afternoon meal. Instead it was a four day feast that tested the limits of human endurance and stomach elasticity. I was in my eating prime. I could eat entire buffets and still want to go out for ice-cream afterwards.
I wont brag my way through the entire Thanksgiving meal, but suffice it to say, I was victorious. After the 14 courses and many very long and satisfying belches the table cleaning and food storing chores began. With tin foil flying, I carried the turkey carcass to the kitchen and selected a cutting utensil from my mother-in-laws collection.
I was still young enough to be new to the turkey carving game. I was operating primarily on what I’d seen my Dad and Grandpa do when they were dealing with the giant dead birds. Aside from that bit of basic information, I was living the ‘fake it until you make it’ method of being a grown-up. The carcass was covered in leftovers and it was my job to cut them all off.
Based on the childhood memories, the first step in this process is to sharpen the carving knife. The blade I’d selected for the job may or may not have been sharp. I never checked, because I was going to sharpen it either way.
I’d recently acquired the skill of sharpening a knife with a honing steel or as we pros call it, a sharpening stick. When I say “acquired the skill” I mean it in the loosest sense of the phrase. What I did with a knife and the sharpening stick looked impressive, but I’m not sure how much sharpening actually took place. It was a task attempted by a fool, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
WARNING: A minor knife wound follows. If you wish, you can avoid this by skimming down to the paragraph that begins, “Perhaps Magnum PI and I are…”
I’d almost completed the sharpening process when my little voice spoke up. I was counting down swipes of the blade on the sharpener as I deftly impersonated someone who knows how to actually sharpen a knife.
It went like this:
Me: 17, 16, 15, 14…
Little Voice (whispered): You should stop sharpening now.
Me: 11, 10, 9… what? That’s dumb, I’m almost done sharpening.
Little Voice (barely audible): *sigh
Me: 4, 3, 2… oh. Uh oh. “Hey Honey!! I think I should go to the emergency room… again.”
The blade cut deep into a single finger and it was instantly apparent that I needed stitches. Later, while a very skilled seamstress was closing up my left pointer, I reflected on the advice I’d ignored from my little voice. “You should stop sharpening now.” I also considered my response. “That’s dumb.” I continued reflecting.
Perhaps Magnum PI and I are schizophrenic psychopaths and even having a little voice means I need more Vitamin D and Lithium. Maybe that was why I was still ignoring the helpful observer as a young adult. There is a chance that back then, I was still discounting the value of my little voice because it seemed slap-ass insane to listen to it.
Well let me tell you friends and neighbors, that Thanksgiving was the day I started listening. The helpful advice doesn’t come very often, but when it does I give it my full attention. My little voice is the EF Hutton of my consciousness (shout out to the older crowd!). I assume it is my hyper aware subconscious noticing details and patterns I wasn’t noticing on the surface. That makes it seem waaaaay less crazy.
Which is good, because nobody wants to deal with a crazy, knife wielding ninja who listens to the voices in his head.