By Richard Douglas
My father and I are both southerners, and part of the requirement of being a southerner besides being laid back and speaking with a drawl is making sure that you never leave the house without your pocket knife.
Knives are one of the oldest tools used by humans, stretching back to the Stone Age.
Living in a rural southern area means that a lot of your time is spent working jobs where having a pocket knife means the success of a job. Even though the country is over two hundred years old, many of our grandparents still practice agrarian lifestyles.
Hammers, tape measures, and pocket knives are still very much a part of our lives today. The extraordinary thing about learning the skills attributed to these tools is how they evolve from one generation to the next.
So while my father and I still carry a knife every day and similarly use them, what we carry is very different.
Dad’s Favorite Knife for EDC
See, my dad started his adult career working for the local Sheriff’s Department as a deputy, specifically in the narcotics division. Once he retired as a deputy, he worked with a local firearms instructor teaching military, celebrities, and even the occasional private military contractor to select different firearms types.
Once, to his utter delight, my dad was able to attend an NRA convention. He was able to meet the legendary Ronald Lee Ermey, who created the depiction of the atypical drill instructor in movies and various media through his role in Full Metal Jacket.
Dad was gifted a clipped Gerber-assisted opening combat folder signed by Mr. Ermey himself, a limited edition that Gerber doesn’t carry anymore. My dad always carried this knife; I’m pretty sure he slept with it.
Later, after he decided he wanted to do something a bit more relaxed and with less tinnitus, dad became a trucker, and this knife became invaluable to him on his day-to-day job.
Truckers have to deal with many issues that require the use of a knife. At times a tie-down strap would lock into place and become fixed, making it impossible to remove an over quarter-million-dollar delivery from his flatbed. I can’t believe that any other knife would have been more suited to fixing this problem.
This knife was exceptionally well designed. It would open if you spoke its name from across the room. I don’t even think he needed to sharpen it, but once a month, it was double-sided, or edged, with a 5 ½” blade. So whenever he had one of the massively wide and extra thick tie-downs locks up, this knife would slice through it with ease.
For dad, this beloved novelty became not just a treasured possession but an invaluable tool when the time was of the essence, and he moved millions of dollars of freight in a week.
How Life Shaped My EDC Choice
I used to work in a warehouse that didn’t supply us with the tools we needed on an everyday basis, so we had to either open boxes by hand or bring our knives. This issue was compounded when heavy equipment would come in held together with plastic straps. It was also a performance-based job, so the faster we could complete our tasks, the better we would perform on reviews.
I ended up purchasing an assisted opening Gerber with a clip, much like my father’s. It made my job so much more enjoyable, and I ended up getting a whole dollar raise by the end of the month.
Later on in life, I picked up bushcraft, farming, and mushroom hunting. And being one to have the proper tool for the job, I purchased a fixed blade Karambit. This type of knife has a dramatic curve on the blade side, making harvesting mushrooms and cabbage easy (especially since they were originally designed as farming tools. The fixed blade made it easy to use when crouched or in tight space under thick brush.
I still carry it with me today as I haven’t found a reason to replace it yet.
Your Choice of EDC
First and foremost, a knife is a tool and one of the oldest tools used by man. When it comes to what you want or need out of a pocket knife, be sure to take a good look at what you generally do throughout your day. That will give you the best idea, and then go from there.
Every tool has its purpose, and what knife you carry every day is no exception.
Thanks to Richard Douglas, Guest Contributor
Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator and lover of knives. Having a knife is part of his EDC gear. Richard’s work has appeared in prominent publications like The National Interest, Daily Caller, ODU Magazine, and his Scopes Field blog.