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A few years ago I read a wonderful novel by Gillian Flynn, entitled Sharp Objects. Now, today’s post is not about the kind of intentional self-harm that Gillian writes about, as part of a lovely murder mystery story, but rather the kind of self harm that can can easily result from handling sharp objects carelessly.

One of the features of my kitchen is that its knives are extremely sharp. I have been experimenting with and writing about how to sharpen these tools for years now. There are a number of devices that I recommend in this regard and I would be happy to post in the comment section the names of the two that I presently use, if anyone is interested, or even do a vlog post showing how to sharpen a knife—for me there is an optimal form and function for every tool and a blunt knife is anything but optimal.

I do most of the cooking in our household and as a result I do most of the vegetable and meat preparation. I intend to video the way I cut up onions, both in order to further the the vlog concept and also to show you how precisely and quickly these things can be cut with practice. Master Chef, eat your heart out! But in the absence of video evidence, this will probably seem like braggadocio so I will leave this point here.

Today, as I’m about to head off to teach the first day of the Monkey Gym workshop at the Australian National University, I have an approximately week-old tiny scar on the right hand side of my left thumb, near the tip of the thumbnail. I recall vividly its occurrence and the context here is that even though I use sharp knives all the time I have not cut myself for many years, probably eight or ten.

I had taken delivery of a box that I knew contain a camera part that I have been waiting for. I could experience the eagerness to open the box in my body at the time—so I pulled (from a pocket!) one of my pocketknives, open the blade one handedly, and slipped the tip of the blade in between the top and the side of the box when either being heavily taped over. I recall that I was holding something under my arm at the same time—result? Reality 1, Mindfulness 0.

Now here’s the thing about ‘Big R’ reality: no matter how much we might want it to be otherwise, it always simply is. The tip of the pocket knife is so sharp it gone quite deeply into the three external dermal layers before I was able to feel it (and then there’s the matter of the speed of actual nerve impulses: at about 300’/sec, it still takes time for pain to register!).

Note to self: when holding sharp objects, pay closer attention.