My uncle gave me one of those fancy smancy pocket knives for Christmas about 15 years ago. It has traveled with me all over (in my backpack, pre-911, now in my luggage). It is getting worn out, though. Out of all the many accessories, I believe the cork screw was used the most! The knife came in handy many many times…you never know when you will be in dire need of a little tiny scissors.
But alas, my uncle’s gift has finally succumbed to the pressure of overuse and abuse so on a recent trip over the border I entered this coffee shop which had random things to purchase in the lower level of the building, kind of like a highway rest stop. Switzerland does not use the Euro so; the price of things (in their money) was dirt cheap. There is a security border patrol nearby that checks out random cars, since technically you are supposed to pay a tax on the items purchased when you enter back into Austria. I drive Peter’s Truck with Native Spirit Camp proudly displayed on it so, they know me (or at least the vehicle) and I never get stopped.
I was browsing around the small food section when I turned a corner and there was a whole wall display of Swiss Army knives. I spent about a half an hour looking at them and asking the (very patient) guy behind the counter about all the little gadgets they have and their use; one in particular had us both stumped. It is a little hook like gadget which to me has no useful purpose, but almost all the knives had it. The directions that came with the knife did not specify what it was for, so the guy asked another sales lady; and she replied that it was for carrying a package that has a string handle. WHA?? That made no sense at all because I can not picture me carrying my knife which was hooked to a bag, that of which I could easily handle using my hand alone. Anyway, I finally picked a beautiful royal blue one (I had only seen them in red) that has useable accessories; one of them being a cork screw as well as unknown ones: the hook. As I perused around the shop some more, I thought that is was unusual for a store to have little sections such as food, clothes, toys and alcohol and then all of a sudden have a huge display of knives, and then to only have the more expensive brand of Swiss Knife instead of the usual “rest stop” brands.
Then it dawned on me, duh, I was in Switzerland; hence the home of the Swiss people, you know, the one’s that make those infamous Swiss Army knives.