“Am I wearin’ pants?!” The group erupted into laughter. We were standing in the sun, outside the Lyons Fire Department on a quick break from the WFR (Wilderness First Responder) course. The four of us were taking deep breaths of cold, sharp air before hopping back into thick of every possible way someone could get themselves hurt, injured, fractured, impaled, burned, scraped, infected, poisoned, and twisted… I mean, testicular torsion, it’s a thing.
The character telling the story was named J. Standing about 6′ 4″ this mountain of a man had long dreadlocks dangling below his waist and piercing blue eyes that softly peered out through black framed glasses at the world. Always at his belt dangled a carabineer with keys and a pocketknife, and the knife was what sparked this conversation when I inquired as to how he liked that particular brand.
“I never go anywhere without it.” He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. ” I once worked with this man, nice guy but clearly always had to prove his masculinity to everyone and every thing. Anyway, whenever anyone would ask him if he had a knife on him he would respond with ‘AM I WEARIN’ PANTS?’”
And now we have gone full circle.
Working outside for a few years, gaining multiple levels of medical certifications, and generally craving adventure I’ve developed a small list of items that I carry on my person every day:
- Folding pocket knife
- Waterproof watch
- No less than 10′ total of 550 Paracord
All of these items have their uses, but the most important to me is the pocketknife.
Over the past 5 years I have had a knife on me at all times (with only a few exceptions). For me it is more than just something to cut with; it is my survival. With this I can create most of the other items I would need to survive, both in a day-to-day atmosphere and in a legitimate survival situation. It is a tool, a utensil, and if need be, a weapon.
Whenever I travel I never check any bags so I leave it behind at home, and in these instances I find my self feeling naked. Yes, as a super advanced, hairless monkey I have opposable thumbs and my somewhat developed frontal cortex to give me an edge, but we are a tool utilizing species. It is part of me in some form.
All of us standing there outside the Fire Department were outdoors types, from wilderness camp instructors to park rangers to general good-natured mountain people. We all understood the importance of having our pocketknives with us and that is why this story had us in stitches. Yes, if our pants are on we have a pocketknife you could borrow.