My girlfriend usually comes through when it comes to birthday gifts. This year however I was slightly disappointed. She knows that I have a Swiss army knife and while I don’t ever use it or talk about it, she knows it’s a very important part of the bottom of the junk drawer in my desk.
So, knowing the depth of my preoccupation with the Swiss army, she marched right out to the store to purchase not only a Swiss army belt but also a Swiss army watch for my birthday. If a Swiss army scarf existed I’m sure I would have found it tucked neatly into the box with the other gear.
When I opened my gift and found a belt and a watch bearing the Swiss flag I immediately and unconsciously barked out my appreciation like a private responding to his drill sargent. “Doooo yoouuuu like it maggot?”….”Yes, Yes I Do!” This was standard procedure that had been drilled into me many many presents ago. Without this routine many wars may have broken out within my family.
As I was thanking her I began to wonder why she would get me this gift set. I figured all a person needed was one gift from the Swiss army collection knowing that any other item one could possibly want would be included in this one gift. Happy birthday it’s a belt! Oh you don’t like it? Ok, it’s a money clip.
I then began examining my belt and watch expecting James Bond-like gadgetry or at least the type of innovation one expects when you see the Swiss army label. Nothing. Just a regular belt and watch. It was at this moment that I hoped for an honorable discharge from this Swiss Army. The army I was proud to be a part of…the army of McGyver wannabees and cool Uncles everywhere was now outfitting….CIVILIANS! People who used belts to….”hold up their pants,” used watches to “tell time,” and knives to “cut things.” I guess the Swiss army is now taking its cues from the United States where military issued pieces such as Jeeps and Hummers have become style accessories.
After I calmed down a bit I took a closer look at the watch and belt using the magnifying glass on my knife. I discovered that the belt and watch do have multiple uses — you just have to apply them differently. For example the Swiss army belt. Of course it could be used to hold up your pants, but it could also be used as a disciplinary tool for alcoholic parents or an IV drug user’s best friend. Sure the watch tells time, and by looking at it repeatedly it also tells people you are in a hurry. So the watch doubles as an impatience indicator.
Maybe it wasn’t that bad of a gift after all.