Thursday, February 2, 2012

Human cutlery

There are three basic types of people: forks, spoons, and knives. Each can behave like the other two when pressed, but rather badly, and after a while it becomes quite fatiguing.

Forks take charge. Insubstantial in themselves, they want to skewer others' accomplishments. At rest, they set themselves apart from the others, but (in America at least) they keep crossing over to be on the winning side of any task. Those in charge swear that the fork is the most useful, though it is a tool best suited to stealing the credit only after the hard work of cutting is already done.

Spoons support. They are affable enough, though of limited craft, and easy to use. They stack up best when facing the same direction as every other spoon and do not respond well to being put to uses beyond their ken. Teaspoons look to tablespoons for career advice. True, they are indispensable when eating soup, but when reaching into a drawer, it is the forks who command (and the knives who deserve) respect: the spoons go unnoticed and unrewarded.

Knives engineer. Spoons serve up and forks take away, but knives transform. The knife does not envy the spoon nor fear the fork, for the spoon aspires not, and even as the fork is stealing the previous bite, the knife is already dreaming of the next slice. Those who are wise use only the sharpest knives they can afford and do not dull their keenness on menial labor, yet they will never give the knife a free hand nor let it near their mouth once the job is done. That is a privilege granted to the fork.

I neither envy the fork nor pity the spoon, and in truth would be miserable doing either's job. For I am, and have only ever wanted to be, a knife.