Friday, December 26, 2008

Survival tip #1: hide your knives

Yesterday I tried to be as helpful as possible during the preparation of the holiday meal, which mostly means "do no harm" - stay out of the way, don't make any messes not necessitated by the logistics of cooking, don't eat directly out of any of the simmering pots - but also includes fetching things and lugging stuff from here to there.

One of the things I had to fetch was a sharp knife. I even was commissioned to use said sharp knife, in the mincing of smoked salmon for inclusion in a dip, that was delicious. But I couldn't find a sharp knife in the silverware drawer.

That's because we don't keep our sharp knives in a silverware drawer anymore. And therein lies a survival tip, provided here as a Confluence City community service, in the hopes that we all make it through the rest of 2008 and all of 2009 healthy and alive.

My wife works at a large employer in the city of St. Louis. Yes, believe it or not, there still are one or two places that fit that description. Her employer provided a seminar on personal safety free of charge to anyone on staff who wanted to attend. In this seminar, the personal safety expert provided the surprising insight that a large number of people injured or killed during interrupted home burglaries are injured or killed by their own kitchen knives.

Survival tip here: Don't keep your knives or other sharp objects in plain sight or where an intruder would expect to find them.

I know, I know, you'd expect a home burglary to be a BYOK (bring your own knife) type of party, but that's what the expert said; and my wife and I, as parents, adopt the strategy (parenting tip coming here, as a bonus) of always taking the most conservative view held between us when the safety of our daughter is at stake.

That means if she thinks we need to keep the steak knives in a locked vault in the basement, then I'll be fetching the steak knives from a locked vault in the basement from now on. As it is, and as this breathtaking news photo makes clear, we are keeping them down there with the vinegar and stuff.

More safty tips: when the bad guy says, "Don't scream or I'll kill you," start screaming! When he says, "Give me your keys," throw your keys as far as you can and run in the opposite direction.

I hope none of us need any of these tips, this year, next year, or any year, but it's not always an especially nice or safe world out there. One may as well be prepared.

Just ask our friend John Eiler, who got an amazing and sad poem out of a survival tip he wished he had given to his daughter Sali, who is no longer with us, one we lost in 2008, rest in peace.

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