Many may have concluded that as Susanne Bacon and I have crossed paths at The Suburban Times, she has become a personal friend of mine. Susanne is an accomplished bilingual author. Additionally, spending even a small amount of time with Susanne leads one to quickly ascertain she is an affable individual.
Susanne is from Germany, and I am from America. We were born and grew up in different decades, about 5,219 miles apart, as the crow flies.
Have you ever wondered why they always say, “as the crow flies”? Why not, as the carrier pigeon flies or the snake crawls and swims. How about, as the gnat flies? Does it always have to be as the crow flies?
Back to my story.
When you look back in history to the 1930s and 1940s, our two countries did not always get along. Susanne and I, on the other hand, have always gotten along famously. This is what I call international peace progress, making our world a better place.
About a month ago, I ran across a knife I acquired in my 10th year on the planet. My wife and I have used this particular knife daily for decades except never on Sundays. Seeing the knife with a fresh eye instantly gave me a fun idea for some show and tell conversation with Susanne.
Susanne and I historically have met monthly at the Bacon and Boyle Double Take World Headquarters, otherwise known as Topside Coffee Cabin (TCC) in Steilacoom. We drink savory TCC espresso beverages, laugh, tell stories, and plan our next collaborative effort for our fun joint column titled Double Take.
In anticipation of our next meeting, I sent Susanne a couple of photos similar to the photos below in anticipation of our next gathering.
Before I could tell Susanne my knife story, she enthusiastically declared, “Let’s make your knife photos our next Double Take. I had not considered making the knife a Double Take subject, but what could I say? Susanne has creative and winning ideas.
While Susanne has still not yet heard my knife story, she is about to as she reads my version of this month’s Double Take.
Take a close look at the knife in the two photos below before I start my version of Double Take.
It should be fun to see which way my knife story cuts to for this edition of Double Take, especially when you compare it to Susanne Bacon’s Double Take version?
These are photos, of what was described in 1953 to be, and what still is, to this day in 2020, are depictions of my genuine German hunting knife.
How do I know it is both genuine and German? Look at the engraving on the blade in the photo below.
When I was 10 years old, I discovered an advertisement for a genuine German hunting knife in my copy of Boy’s Life magazine. I read the ad 8 or 10 times with great excitement.
The knife offer seemed too good to be true, and I was highly concerned the proposal might not last forever. Accordingly, I rushed the required 12 box tops from my favorite breakfast cereal, Hip Hop Hoopz, and $1.00 cash to the German company by mail.
No kidding. For only 12 box tops and $1.00, the company would send me a genuine German hunting knife. As I read the word genuine in the ad, I pronounced the word like any 10 year old sadly lacking a kindergarten education would talk. I pronounced genuine, as Gen-U-WIne, with a long i.
To help reach my goal, when my mom was not watching, I started feeding bowls of Hip Hop Hoopz cereal to my collie dog, Colleen. Colleen did not have any cash, but boy could she help me accumulate box tops.
After sending in the 12 box tops, and my $1, it was then a matter of waiting, and waiting, and waiting. When you are 10, waiting for a genuine German hunting knife, seems to take forever.
I could not imagine how cool my pals, Dick and Biff, would think I was when I strutted around our south side neighborhood with my genuine German hunting knife.
I visualized warding off evil local thugs with the mere sight of the genuine German hunting knife ominously hanging on my belt. I could go into the woods and hunt for wild game. I could hardly wait.
The day finally came when my genuine German hunting knife arrived. I ripped open the package. What a dismal disappointment this cheap knock-off turned out to be.
At 10 years of age, I had already become the victim of a con, a scam. This genuine German hunting knife was not anything a genuine German would be proud of.
The knife was laughable, the sight of which would not ward off thugs.
I was never able to hunt for big game with this knock-off of a genuine German hunting knife for fear of bending the blade.
Although the Better Business Bureau was founded in 1907, I was only 10 and had no idea how to file a complaint with the BBB to get my box tops and dollar back.
After recognizing I had been skinned out of my box tops and cash, I became determined to not admit defeat. I have been using the genuine German hunting knife as a letter opener for the past 804 months or 20,971 days, not counting Sundays. Never on Sunday because mail is no longer delivered on Sunday. Does anyone remember when mail was delivered twice on Saturday and once on Sunday?
Back to my story.
I sent two photos of my genuine German hunting knife to Susanne Bacon because she is so, how do you say, German. I thought she might find it interesting to learn about my experience with post-WWII Germany. I am confident my $1 helped rebuild the German economy, which is some consolation.
I am revising my will, so when the time comes for me to take up less space on the planet and more space in the obituaries, Susanne will inherit my genuine German hunting knife. Hey, Susanne can use a genuine German hunting knife for opening the bags of fan mail; the USPS is always tossing on her porch.
Susanne, do not underestimate the value of your inheritance. I have seen duplicates of my vintage genuine German hunting knife now going for as high as $12.00 on the open market.
The moral of this story, as P. T. Barnum purportedly once said, is, “There is a sucker born every minute and two to take him.”
Care to read Bacon’s Double Take? Click here.
Joe Boyle, author of the Suburban Times’ column “Westside Story”, and Susanne Bacon, novelist and author of the Suburban Times’ column “Across the Fence”, are sharing their thoughts about a variety of topics in their joint project of double features called “Double Take”. Comments are more than welcome, as they know that the world has more than their two angles – the more the merrier.