Box cutters. They’re all around us in everyday life. Stock clicks in grocery stores have them on their belt in a nice plastic sheath. Construction and home improvement people have them both on the belt and for the folding models, clipped in their pockets. I just had a new water heater installed, and the plumber unboxed the water heater with a Milwaukee folding utility knife/box cutter. Being a obsessive minimalist by nature, and always going for the smallest and lightest object that can still do the job, (a hold over from being an ultra light backpacker by necessity of being partly disabled) my choices in knives have often been as obsessed with small as choices in guns, cars, optics and so on. For most of my life I’ve been a little knife person. I guess I took after my dad who always carried a little Case Peanut as his main pocket knife, with a Christy knife as a back-up or traveling knife for when he’d disappear for periods of time when we were kids. I usually had a SAK of some sort in my younger day, with a tinker and Wenger SI being my most carried knife. But in early middle age I downsized. I was 42 years old when dad passed away from leukemia, and among his personal effects was his well worn little Case peanut. I’m not sure why I started to carry it, maybe sentiment, maybe some sort of homage to the old man. But one morning getting ready to go to work, I slipped his peanut in my pocket and off I went. It ended up the start of a journey. Over the next few months I made a point to do a kind of “experiment” of seeing how well such a small knife would do in real world day to day life. As a young guy I was always mystified at the old guys who carried this little teeny pen knife. I was in for an education. The fact was, over a few months, dad’s little peanut did everything I needed to do with a pocket knife. It opened all kinds of packages, cut jute twine for the garden out back that my wife and I kept, it cut open those d—-ed plastic blister packages that are designed to defeat saber tooth tiger claws. The small pen blade reamed my pipe bowl, and it sliced apples to eat. The only job it failed at was food use, but then I have kitchen knives for food and rarely use a pocket knife. And the big plus I found was, the peanut size knife took up so little room in the pocket that it was un-noticeable. I could literally drop it in my pocket and forget about it until I needed to cut something. I remember something dad once said to me; “A pocket knife is something that is carried a lot, but only used once in a while.” That made sooooo much sense to me once I started carrying the small knife. It started a major trend in my knife downsizing. I actually stopped carrying my bigger SAK’s and did what dad did. He always had a Sear’s 4-way keychain screw driver and a P-38 in his wallet. I still had my old P-38 from when I was in the army, so dad’s old 4-way keychain screw driver joined it in my wallet and they took care of any screw driving and can opening I encountered. For the next 20 years this combo of tools did for me well. The Case peanut ( I ended up buying my own and put dads up) did my cutting, and the two tools in my wallet took care of screws and cans. Along the way I ended up with a SAK classic on my keyring as a direct result of watching my better half torture one and it never died, and then the SAK executive. It was a strange trip to the little knives, and at first, the first few months, I tended to miss the ‘bigger’ knives. I’m notusre if it was just a macho thing or just habit. But after a while I never missed them, and then when I tried to carry a larger pocket knife, it felt unwieldy. Clumsy. Awkward. I think I may have been influenced by the tradesmen with their folding Milwaukee and Husky folding utility knives and watching dad as I grew up. All those tradesmen doing real world heavy duty work, seemed to get by just fine with that one inch of blade the utility knife gave them. Dad got by with the two inches of blade of his little case. It made me question how much blade do we really need in modern day to day life? How much blade do I need to open a box, cut open a bag of mulch, cut jute twine or nylon cord, open my mail, and slice a bit of cheese off the black of cheddar in the ‘fridge? How much knife do we really need in urban/suburban life in the 21st century?