Being Prepared

I’m at work. A typical Wednesday afternoon so far.

Joe, another engineer — and who used to be my manager — comes over to my desk, and asks before I could turn around, “Hey, what do you have on your belt?”

A can of chili con carne slides across my desk.

I smile as I reach for the Gerber. “Oh, I suppose it is just about lunch time,” I say.

“Yeah,” says Joe, “I knew you’d be prepared! I’ll come to you first next time, too.”

I deploy the can opener and hand it to him. “Extra caution, please, sir — I’d feel really bad if you cut yourself using one of my tools.”

While working through the lid, Joe comments on the Gerber. Says he likes the Gerber tools and that he has one much like mine that he keeps with his camping gear.

Being naturally curious, I ask him why he doesn’t keep it with him. He says, “Well, because it’s for camping!”

Yet, here we are.

In an office.

Not camping.

Joe handed the Gerber back. We talked about families and kids for a few minutes, then got back to our projects.

I found myself pondering the interaction.

So, let this be a lesson for everyone: buy a pocket knife and a multi-tool. Keep them with you at all times. You never know when you’ll need to open a box, can, crate, disassemble, repair, or otherwise make mechanical adjustments with what you have on hand. They may even save your life… or at least make your lunch more accessible.

If I had the funding available, I’d buy one of these things for everybody on the team as Christmas presents… let’s see: $30 to $40 each depending on the supplier and there are ten other people on the team. Hmm… maybe next year I’ll see about budgeting for that.

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