The Butcher Knife
And Changing Diapers

It was early in the morning, and I was in the kitchen doing my normal morning dance of emptying the dishwasher, making coffee, and preparing breakfast...a grapefruit with honey.  Sounds exciting; doesn't it?

I have done that culinary dance so often that it does not require much thinking.  I was just doing a routine before I went to my computer to teach online and to write some essays.  As I opened the drawer for the silverware and other utensils to put away some silverware, the butcher knife that was sitting in the drawer started to talk to me.  It was an old butcher knife that my mother had years ago.  I was surprised that it wanted to talk to me since I very rarely used it. 

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"You're surprised that I decided to talk with you, right?  My life has been rather mundane and without much excitement.  I know that you have talked with over a half dozen items that have interesting stories, but there is not much that I have done in my long life.  Every family has a butcher knife in their kitchen.  Maybe their lives are more exciting.  Months come and go without getting out of the drawer.  Sure, the drawer opens and shuts, but you get by without needing my services."

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I apologized to the butcher knife.  I did not want him to think ill of himself.  I told the butcher knife that Goethe said, "The greatest evil that can befall man is that he should come to think ill of himself."  I did not want him to feel the same way.  The butcher knife continued, "Well, actually, I thought you didn't like me."  I asked the butcher knife where he had gotten that idea. 

"Well, I don't know whether you recall the day when your Aunt Dot was babysitting for you and your brother, Kenny, in your home in Merchantville, NJ.  Kenny was just beginning to toddle around, which means that you were five years old.  Kenny had a habit of decorating the walls of his bedroom with the contents of his diapers.  I could hear his mother yelling at him for messing up his room, but he seemed intent in being the Michelangelo of Merchantville. 

"However, this day he had not attempted to paint the walls of his room.  Your aunt had been warned about Kenny's redecorating tendencies and didn't want that type of thing to take place during her watch.  So, before she put him down for a nap, she checked his diapers.  Sure enough, he had a large load.  However, it was quite tacky and stuck to his little backside like old peanut butter.  He must have had something that he ate the night before that caused his mess being glued to his bottom. 

"Your Aunt Dot's efforts to detach the mess from his bottom was to no avail.  Do you remember her asking you to go downstairs and get a butter knife?"

I told the butcher knife that I did recall the episode but did not recall her asking for a butter knife. 

"Well, you went downstairs as you were asked, but you brought me upstairs.  I must have been the first knife that you found.  However, to your credit, you carefully brought me upstairs to his bedroom.  You presented me to your aunt and asked her with much concern in your little voice, ‘You aren't going to hurt Kenny, are you?'"

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I told the butcher knife that I remembered saying that.  However, I did not dislike the butcher knife for that childhood episode, to which it responded, "Thanks, that makes me feel better."  I added that I would make certain that I would use the butcher knife more in the future.  Besides, Aunt Dot just put Kenny in the tub and cleaned him up with a bath.