Thursday, May 11

Blood on the High Seas

If it weren't so ridiculous, it would be ridiculously funny. At the very least, it is a freaky story.

WARNING: if you are in the slightest ill at ease with blood, gore, or stupidity, stop reading this now.

You're still reading.

Well, don't say I didn't warn you.

Yesterday I went down to Seattle Cutlery to buy the photographed scimitar/breaking knife/evil dastardly weapon of destruction. I knew exactly what I wanted having used a similar knife at the Herbfarm, breaking down king salmon and other large fin-fish for several years. The joys of using a thin-bladed, slightly flexible knife - curved at the tip for gracefully filleting near the bone - cannot be underestimated. I knew I wanted my own for this trip as I'm really hoping to catch and fillet salmon and halibut.

With these thoughts in my head, I made my way down to one of my top ten most favorite places in the world, the Pike Place Market, to purchase the torture-device. Once in the store, I chatted with the nice gentleman and discovered that he had spent some time cooking in the galley of a large fish processing ship. We continued sharing pleasantries and then I asked him for a knife guard for my new purchase. He apologized, saying they didn't have one for this size knife.

I then watched, slightly mystified, as he wrapped the 10" machete of doom in a piece of butcher paper. That's right. Butcher paper. As in parchment paper or perhaps as in "you've been SERVED papers". As in "it's as thin as a piece of paper" paper.


As in rock, paper, scissors, where scissors clearly kicks the booty of paper. Why? Because it's a blade against paper.

I asked the nice man for a plastic bag with handles. He didn't have one. So he wrapped it, now firmly and certifiably protected in the piece of paper, in a paper sandwich bag. I held it for awhile in my hand and then realized that I might hurt someone walking around in a crowded market with a razor sharp knife at my side. I remembered I had a plastic bag in my pocket (for the dog, you know). I placed the evilness in said bag.

Enter my friend, who just randomly appears in the same store, unexpectedly. We hug and chat and as she is also a chef, we talk about knives and what she's buying. She notices that my satanical slicing device has used all of its energies to muscle through the paper and then the plastic and fully an inch of steel tip is exposed. I put it up on the counter and ask the nice man to rewrap my knife, double-checking that he's sure there is no knife protector I can put over it for safety. No, sorry.

He re-wraps the stainless steel fillet knife from hell in not one, but two pieces of the magical, impenetrable kevlar ditto pad. I put it back in the plastic bag, leave the store, and mingle the death-wand with its newest bag-mates: one eggplant sandwich, a lemonade beverage and a few gifts I have purchased for Max's 40th birthday today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAX!!! That's only a few years old in dog years). My friend and I head over to the market stalls, wander a bit and then say our goodbyes.

Literally 30 paces later I feel a searing pain that momentarily takes my breath away. Prone to dramatic overtures, I cue the sweeping music soundtrack, imagine my eyes going blurry and I think (or do I scream?) "I've been shot!" Quickly I notice that I am bleeding. A lot. From my knee.

That's right. There I am, walking along, beautiful spring day, swinging my bag in tune with my step when - while no surprise to you by now, but very surprising to me - I have punctured myself with my new knife. It's crazy I know. That thing put up a mighty struggle to liberate itself from the 2 layers of paper. It did though. And I'm bleeding proof that blades kick papers' collective ass.

Once I calm myself down, I hobble directly back to the knife shop and request 1. a bathroom 2. some alcohol and 3. some bandages. The nice man is now a very flustered nice man. He is literally stuttering. In the bathroom, I peel off my bloodied jeans and check over my knee bits and pieces - now in pieces and bits. I determine that I have self-inflicted a deep puncture wound into my right knee, luckily just above the knee joint itself. The bleeding stops within 15 minutes. The dramatic sweeping soundtrack plays on. I return to the shop and very calmly say the following:

"I strongly suggest that when a customer buys a knife without a proper knife guard that you put a cork on the tip or wrap the blade in cardboard." He hands me a business card and says to call if I need them to take care of anything, anything at all. He stutters a goodbye.
I feel mildly stupid about all this. I'm used to working with knives. I've had my share of mishaps with them. But this one feels a) particularly freakish and b) totally avoidable. I'm not going to sue Seattle Cutlery. But I will say this. If you buy your knives there or anywhere for that matter, make sure (no, demand!) that they package them safely. I also suggest to you that if the weather is nice and you are walking along, excited about your upcoming adventure, not a care in the world, swinging your arms, try not to have a lethal weapon in your bag set on a destruction course with your already compromised ACL-reconstructed knee. Just some friendly advice.

Meanwhile, just to add another layer of freakishness to my story, I relay the following: Max's husband is a doctor and a friend (and my neighbor) and she makes him come over to my house to check out my wound, now quite swollen and painful. He calls his orthopedic friend and we decide the knife probably didn't enter the joint but I should immediately start a course of antibiotics, particularly because I'm headed out to sea for 3 weeks. I quickly ascertain if the antibiotics can be taken along with my seasickness meds and sleeping pills (to dampen out his wife's snoring). He calls in a prescription. Within 20 minutes I'm paying for the meds.

The price of the meds? $40.
The price of the evil-doing blade from satan's workshop? That's right. $40.
Pain-numbing ability of realizing this would make good blog fodder: Priceless

Special notes of thanks to the following for doting on me: Bean, Laverne, Boudinski, biscuit-maggot, Caramel, DD, Max and Doc, and Doc B for the phone consult.


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