I used to like playing with knives. Actually, I should rephrase that; I like playing with knives - throwing them, sticking them in things, but my favorite activity is flipping and catching them. Any kind of knife will do, but the bigger the better. It’s more spectacular. I know, it’s dangerous - I’ve been told that since I was a little kid. I’ve even been accused of not being all that sharp!
I used to practice for hours, learning the differences that distance and weight of the knife would make when trying various stunts. And, since I’ve always handled the knives by the blade, learning how to keep my fingers intact - especially while catching them! Despite the concern of nearly everyone who watches, it’s really not that dangerous. It’s even a little exhilarating standing under a spinning knife! Only one time have I ended up bleeding. And I do still have all my fingers.
This is not the story of how I cut myself but one day at school - back before the insanity of zero tolerance that would have gotten me arrested - I was playing around with a butcher knife. I was showing off, seeing how many flips I could get and still catch it. One of my classmates said he’d give me twenty dollars if I could get fourteen flips. So, of course I had to try. I started with one flip, then two, and then three and so on. The step by step approach was for two reasons; first, it helped me to get into a rhythm, but also it allowed anyone observing to count with me because when the knife makes more than about seven or eight flips in the air, it’s easy to lose track.
When I got to twelve, the kid, seeing I was getting close to taking his twenty dollars, started to backtrack. I didn’t pay any attention as I was intent on getting to fourteen just to show him I could do it. It wasn’t really about the money and I would have been content to let him off. But, my teacher had been there the whole time, listening and watching, and he wasn’t so lenient.
When I caught the blade on the final flip, the teacher told the kid to pay me. Of course, this was met with much protest. But, the teacher said he’d made a deal and had to stick to it. He did give the guy a chance to get out of it though. If he could duplicate the stunt, he didn’t have to pay. I guess the kid didn’t like his chances with that because I got my money.
Oh, one last thing, in case anyone is wondering how I received my one and only cut. It wasn’t from trying some crazy number of knife flips or anything. In fact, I wasn’t doing a thing with the knife - except picking it up off the ground - right after telling my son how to always watch what you’re doing when handling knives!