When I turned 13, I proposed a purchase to my mom and dad. I know that it was probably something that they had been waiting their whole lives to hear. I exclaimed with great enthusiasm “I want a Rambo knife!” Now I know what you’re thinking, “He’s going to hurt himself!” Of course, that’s what my mom said too. I did not grow up hunting or fishing or anything remotely rugged at all, so this was a possibility. I had some training in marksmanship and my parents already allowed me to own a pellet rifle. To date, I had never shot my eye out, so I figured I was good.
They must have agreed, because my dad took me to buy the most awesome survival knife ever! It was really big, really shiny and really sharp! It had a screw off lid on the hilt which revealed a hollow handle. This is where you could put all kinds of “just in case you ever get stranded in the wilderness” stuff. Things like: matches for starting fires, string for maybe getting yourself out of a hole, fishing line and hook for obviously fishing (which I had never done), and a sewing kit for maybe if you tore your clothes or if you ever cut yourself in the wild you could sew yourself back together. You never know, you know. I had plans for this new toy!
My brother, some friends and I used to climb through a hole in the fence that separated military housing from the wild Louisiana bayous. Once in the jungle like atmosphere, we would try to catch snapping turtles and hunt snakes and craw-fish with my pellet rifle. Mind you, there were some seriously venomous snakes living back there, like copperheads, water moccasins and various other sorts of craziness. But we were boys wearing camo, with a pellet gun, and so we were invisible and lethal! Once we got a snake, we would skin it and take the skin home to dry, which my mom was thrilled about.
We actually saw an alligator once, but it quickly jumped into the bayou and swam away. Once, while crossing over the bayou on a slick log, by brother fell into the brown water and went under. It was said alligator that my brother was sure he was standing on when he hit the bottom. I didn’t see anything though and he still has all his arms and legs.
On the first excursion with the knife, my friend and I headed to the hole in the fence. We were in search of snakes. Through the dense foliage we trudged deeper and deeper in search of our next kill. Underneath some ground covering green plants, I noticed the biggest snake I had ever seen outside of a zoo. Only part of it was visible and that part was huge. It looked like some kind of constrictor. It was at this point, I realized, I forgot the gun! No problem, I would just make a spear using my handy Rambo knife and a stick. As I started to fashion the deadly javelin, I broke the only knife rule there is: “Don’t cut towards yourself.”
As the blade entered my finger, I realized only too late, that I had broken this rule. All that was keeping my knuckle on the first digit of my index finger was a little piece of skin. So I dropped my spear, sheathed my knife, wrapped my now bloody finger with the bottom of my t-shirt, and ran. It was a couple of miles to the ER. Because I had to run, all the blood that pumped out of my finger was now splattered all over my shirt from my waist to my neck. As I entered the ER, the desk personnel with a horrified look on her face said “What happened?” In my adrenaline rush, I shouted “I cut myself, with this!” as I held the knife up like a scene from “Psycho”.
They called my parents and told them I had multiple lacerations to the hand and so they showed up immediately. I ended up getting stitches, and saving the knuckle however, you guessed it, the snake got away! As I’ve said before, I think God gave me daughters for a reason.
What is something you wanted so bad you couldn’t stand it, and then ended up being a bad idea?