One weird thing I’ve noticed since I moved to Portland was the number of people carrying knives. Or Leathermen tools. But mostly lots of folding clasp knives. In Australia you rarely see it outside of farms or occasionally tradespeople. I am not even sure it’s legal in some states to carry a knife at all.

Initially I thought it was a bit silly: a bunch of office workers wandering around with knives. Then I started to notice another American phenomena: packaging from hell.1 All of a sudden every time I got a package I had to go find a knife or scissors to open it (or have the three people near me nod knowingly and lend me their knives).

So whilst I don’t think I am ever going to need a Leatherman tool on a regular basis a simple clasp knife is actually quite useful. So I bought a nice and fairly cheap Gerber folding knife with a clip that I can tuck into my jeans. It’s proven quite practical so far.

  1. Now I know “packaging from hell” is not uniquely American but it is particularly egregious here. Rarely do I get a box where the contents haven’t been vacuum-plastic sealed, wrapped, boxed and the box sealed with half a roll of tape. ↩︎