My wife and I were having dinner at a new spot that opened up in a neighboring town a couple weeks ago. The restaurant was pretty busy, so we opted to sit at the bar. Most of the patrons were well mannered but one group caught my attention. The group was two couples, talking louder than the ambient noise level dictated. Both couples were pretty typical of the area where I live. The ladies were dressed in knee high leather boots and vests, or as some call it “The Han Solo Look”. The guys were all wearing oversized quarter zip sweaters, stone washed denim jeans, square toed “Dress Shoes”, and had their Oakley sunglasses perched on top of their heads. All were draining pint glasses of whatever formerly-unknown-now-mainstream macrobrew beer is fashionable these days. The gentleman who caught my attention was repeating between quaffs of beer how he “Had to take the edge off”.
Before we go any further, I need to tell you this article is going in a different direction than you may expect. I’m not going to criticize his choices in haberdashery, tho he could have used some help in the sartorial department. I’m also not going to critique his choice of libation, tho I find whiskey to be superior to beer. I’m not even going to poke at his physique or his poor social skills. This gentleman, unknowingly, gave me something to think about. The topic of thought he presented me was the concept of Edge.
In knife making, and cutlery in general, the concept of edge is greatly misunderstood by most people. One of the most common misconceptions is the difference between a blade that needs Sharpening VS a blade that needs Honed. Most knives that do not cut well are in need of a honing. The microscopic cutting edge of a knife can be bent over or deformed, without actually making the knife dull. While in this state the knife will not cut well and may seem dull. Honing a knife is the act of straightening the edge of a knife blade so that the cutting edge actually contacts the item you are attempting to cut. Sharpening a blade is the act of removing blade material to create a cutting edge. Counterintuitively a blade that needs to only be honed can be made duller by trying to sharpen it, because the sharp cutting edge was removed by the coarse sharpening stone.
In this space we often talk about “Sharpening our Skills” or “Honing our Craft”. A favored saying is a version of Proverbs 27.17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. We’re describing the efforts we put into ourselves to become better men when we use these sayings. We’re using the imagery of the forge to portray the process we’re using to turn ourselves in to a weapon to wage the war of lives. If we’ve gone to all this effort to sharpen ourselves, why would we want to “Take the Edge off”?
What words do we use to describe ourselves after we’ve partaken in the typical “Take the Edge Off” activities? Dull is the first one that comes to mind. Soft also comes up. I would advise all men looking to improve their station, protect their family, and becomes heir optimal self to resist the urge to “Take the Edge Off”.
Men who have dulled their edge, either permanently thru their lifestyle choices or temporarily thru vices or escapism, have reduced their capabilities as a man. Dull men talk to loud, they ignore their surroundings, and they lose focus. By all means, relax. Have that drink at the end of a long day. Watch the game with the boys. But don’t allow excess to dull your edge. Any good blacksmith will tell you, it’s easier to maintain and edge than it is to reforge one.
Enjoying what Barbarian Rhetoric is presenting and covering inside these walls?
You can help support us by leaving a tip through one of these options.
Bitcoin – 15XJB6jgVimsMkmQM9itSdiMPHM96skXf4
Bitcoin Cash – bitcoincash:qqvmkczglv7qcna2p5vq38vuxxd79uvnwgwvw2frx5
Litecoin – Lb3QkB9xobWJUKRbW7rko7ykF743mwAx26
Ethereum – 0x27a39146039F7d2F0E7243Dd2127c12309624b0a
Thank You to all that support us.