I look back on it all, and I wonder what the heck happened? What was it all about? For most of my life, I was a knife nut. There, I said it and mean it. I’d read any knife publication I could get my hands on. Knife magazines, Knife annuals like Ken Warner’s knife books. I’d ‘accumulate all kinds of knives that I had no use for. I had a nice little collection of Randall’s, Jay Hendrickson’s, Ralph Bone, George Stone, Rudy Ruanna, and other customs and semi customs. Lots of folders from Case, Hen And Rooster, Buck, Boker, and anything that caught my eye. I even had a Pacific Cutlery Company Balisong that I played with in the 80’s. I had pen knives, stockman knives, trappers, Barlow’s, Douk-Douk’s, Opinels, Mercators, and SAK’s. I’d go to knife shows to see if there was anything I was overlooking, and absolutely couldn’t do without. I was the obsessive knife nut looking for the grail. The next shiny object. The next new knife rush. Then it all went away. Not at once, but in the course of a few years, it all mostly, about 98%, faded away as I got through middle age and started into the dreaded senior citizen years. I started looking harder at who I was, and where I was in life, and most of all, what I was doing. I stared to look at it all, and wondered “what the hell was I thinking?” I sold off the Randall’s and other custom stuff, and being Randall’s and such with a cult flowing, I made a nice sum of money off them. The high end and other stuff soon followed, and had a feeling of dread lurking that I would regret this action. That I would suffer some sort of ‘sellers regret.” It didn’t happen. In fact, I felt unexpectedly good. I felt a definite feeling of liberation. Weird. Then I did the big downsize. I set aside my old standby’s from before knife nut set int. My SAK’s, a few Opinels, a Buck fixed blade. Everything went but them. It took a year or two, but I felt like, well, it hard to describe. It was like comping out of a long period or temporary insanity and seeing the real world again. Or like coming off a really long drunk, and seeing the world while sober again. It felt great. Now, as a retired old fart living in Georgetown Texas, I find myself going about my day with a small SAK in my pocket, and a Leatherman squirt on my keyring, and I’m fine. No matter if going about a Harry Homeowner project, fishing on the San Gabriel river, doing a car trip to California to see family and fishing at Mammoth Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains, or a three day trip to San Antonio to cruise the river walk and live it up a bit, I find I don’t need much knife in a life in suburban America. But I still feel a knife is a mandatory thing to have on you as you go about that urban/suburban life. Most of all, I haven’t missed any of the knives I sold off at all. I did the same thing with my gun accumulation, and I haven’t missed any of them. I kept a few revolvers for self and home defense, and my wife has her one and only S&W 317 that is on her bedside. I’m not sure how it relates to age, but it definitely does. When I was a young man, I had all kinds of “What if’s?” On my mind. Now as an “older” gentleman of leisure, I can look back on it all and see that it was actually kind of silly. I guess I at least am thankful that I collected items that were actually useful, and could be dropped in a pocket and used, unlike a stamp collection, or a beer can collection, or a toy car collection. Maybe age finally brings some reality to thinking. I know that the odds are that I will not be skinning a moose these days, or surviving in the Amazon jungle on the spur of the moment, or taking out enemy paratroopers while yelling “Wolverines!” I’m not 007, The Lone Ranger, or the Caped Crusader defending Gotham. I’m just a retired machine shop guy in a 21st century town in suburban Texas. Most days I don’t need anything more than a Victorinox Classc or my Leatherman squirt. Some days if my wife and I are on an outing, and food is involved, an Opinel or 84mm SAK works fine. I guess only now I understand the old farts I’d seen when I was a kid, and wondered why they carried a dinky little pen knife that fit in the coin/watch pocket of the jeans with room left over. They just reached a point in life that they realized they didn’t really need any more knife. Like my friend Howard. Howard is an old time Texan and life long oil rig worker. Rough as an old cob, but with a plain spoken attitude that is refreshing. His choice of pocket knife for decades has been the little Buck mini Buck. It fits in his watch pocket and does the job. When I asked him about it, he said if he was going hunting, he carries a ‘huntin’ knife and when he goes fishing, theres a ‘fishin’ knife in the tackle box. For around town, he doesn’t want to be bothered by a larger knife in his pocket. At 80 years of age, he seems to have got by with that attitude. Now, having turned 80 earlier this month, I reached that point. Now as a newly minted octogenarian, my knife of the day fits in the coin pocket, and is a keychain size knife. It just makes more room in the pocket for the RONCO pocket defibrillator in case of a vapor lock on me or another old fart close by. With the CCW of the day, that cuts out the right front pocket for other use anyways. Now a days, one of the more rigorous uses for my pocket knife of the day, other than opening boxes and cutting off the plastic tags from my wife’s purchases, is spearing an extra olive for the martini. Or slicing some lime for the vodka tonic. Looking back on it all, my perfect pocket knife has changed so many times. The changes in life between 50 and 60 made one pocketknife better. The further changes between 60 and 70 were greater, while going through the 70’s, things really changed. You come to the realization that you will never be doing now what you did 10 or 15 years ago. But also, you realize that you don’t really want to do those things. By old age, hopefully you’ve done your bushwhacking/backpacking/big game hunting/rough travel. Its nice to sit on the veranda of the Yellowstone Lodge with a nice cocktail in hand watching Old Faithful erupt. Or riding the tourist train around Yosemite with a guide telling you all the high points and then dinner at a nice lodge with linen table cloths. My heavy duty knives have all long since been retired and the kids and grandkids have them now. These days the little Leatherman squirt combined with a small Opinel or Victorinox SAK seem to all fill my need the coin pocket knife. Horror upon horrors, I’ve become the old guy with the little pen knife!