Friday, April 13, 2012

On Pocketknives: Matt Summers

As an addendum to my original post on pocketknives, I've asked some others to share their own knives and the stories behind them.

Matt Summers was a classmate of mine of in graduate school, is a former Green Beret, a semi-pro adventure racer, and real estate mogul. In spite of being a Yankee, he is one of the nicest, most selfless guys that I have ever met. I asked Matt if he would do a post on his knife, suspecting that he might have a good story, and he didn't disappoint.

Being Matt’s Pocket Knife
An Essay by Matt’s Pocket Knife.

I was born circa 2005 in Oregon City, OR. My Maker assembled me by hand on His craftsman’s table in a well lit, warm building sometime in the spring. I know it was the spring because I was shipped to my guide’s location and given to him as the snow was gone and it was getting warmer outside. I was delivered with about six dozen of my peers who were part of a special batch Benchmade Knives being sent to Ft. Bragg, NC. Although my Maker didn’t tell me much about what I would be doing or how I would be treated, he knew that I was going somewhere adverse because He built me with the strength and efficiency I needed to get me through my working life.

The "author" of the story

Once I arrived at Ft. Bragg, I was separated from my peers and put into Tuff Box with a bunch of, what I call, “goodies”. The goodies were made up of laser grips for an M-9 Beretta, Asolo Boots, Camel Back Bladders, a Puffy coat and pants, seven H&K Magazines for M-4 rifles, Eotech and ACOG optics and a few other things that brought a smile to my guide’s face when I met him for the first time. I was pretty self assured and had a chip on my shoulder because I knew I was different from the other goodies in a few ways: First, I was the only one that was truly handmade and part of a special group that was created for a special purpose. All of the other “things” were not special; they were just “things”. Second, I knew that because of the way my Maker created me, I would be physically attached to my guide at all times; whereas my counterparts would only be carried when my guide needed them. And last, I was the only item in the box that had conscience and the ability to write essays.

It wasn’t long after my guide clipped me to his right pant pocket for the first time that I found myself in an ancient and confused land spilling over with boredom, anticipation, excitement, hope and despair all at the same moment. I heard him call it Afghanistan.

My first real job in this place was preparing counter-IED charges. They are simple devices that include about one minute of time fuse, a four wrap of detonation (“Det Cord”) cord, two M-112 C-4 plastic explosive (“C-4”) blocks, some 100 mph Tape, two fuse igniters and two blasting caps. You see, my guide was a bomb guy, which by coincidence also made him a counter-bomb guy; so whenever he or his friends encountered a bomb or a suspected bomb, we would be the ones who checked it out, and if suspicions were confirmed, we would either disarm it or blow it in place. This part of the job, although it made my blade-well pucker, gave me a sense of purpose; I knew that if I did what I was supposed to, I could keep my guide and his friends intact and alive.

My second job, or maybe better stated as my “real” job, was to serve as an opening agent for a mysterious and wonderful blend of American spices and organic plants which were aged and processed into a wonderful concoction called Copenhagen. My guide had a real affinity for this stuff. I remember one time I heard my guide on his radio confirming he understood that he and his friends were heading into an imminent ambush and that they were “almost” prepared for it. When the operator at the other end of the radio asked why “almost” prepared, he responded, “we need to stop to put a dip in and we’ll be good to go”. And that’s exactly what they did…it’s a hell of a thing to see twelve grown men putting cut up plant in between their gum and their lip as a “pre-game” ritual before another fight for their life…but hey…it’s the little things. I’m just glad to have played a part in it.

Other than the bombs and the Copenhagen, I had several odd jobs. On more than one occasion I pried hot brass out of a jammed .50 Caliber machine gun during times that my guide referred to as the “hot and heavy moments”. Other times I was used to cut candy bars in half for the poor children that lived everywhere we went. I remember being used as an adjustment tool to my guide’s windage and elevation on his long gun. I was used to butcher a sheep my guide purchased from a farmer when an operation ran a few days longer than expected and we ran out of food. I had a hundred odd jobs and I loved them all.

By the end of my working days I was tired. Although I was young, I felt as though I had done and seen enough for two lifetimes. I had been around the world a few times, met some wonderful knives and had a deep sense of purpose. I am grateful for my experiences. Now, with my and my guide’s working days behind us, I spend most of my time next to a really rare knife named Yarborough 2306 who seems kind of weird to me. Not only does he stay in his sheath all of the time, but he and his sheath live in a box. So I guess it would be more appropriate to say that I spend most of my time next to a box that has a sheath inside of it, and a knife inside of it. When I asked him about the sheath and the box, he said that he needed it because he was special, but how special can one be if they never get out of their box, let alone their sheath?

The author of the story and his drawer-mate


Anonymous said...

Great post, tell your "guide" thank you for his service to this country.

rental mobil said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.

Jakarta Hotel said...

Wow, i like that knife!

Anonymous said...

Such a good story!!! wow.

Best Pocket Knife said...

Nice story! Your friend have an interesting journey of different jobs. Not many people have a chance to work around the world.

best pocket knife said...

Looks like that benchmade seen lots of good use!