How I Accidentally Cut Open My Knuckle A Little On A Tax ReturnPosted: March 6, 2012
I am truly grateful that I have a father who considers doing my taxes for me to be an entertaining hobby. (Nevermind you that I’m also 34 and probably, by now, should be doing my own taxes.) Ever year on January second or so, I give my estimated W-2 amount and in a matter of minutes I wait to see what meager pittance that the US government is going to give to me this year while he entertains himself. Tax time for me is what I call Christmas II: Massive Lump Sums To Amex. It comes but once a year.
And so it was again that magical time of year when my father queued up Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger and was ready to do battle with the IRS for every penny I was owed. I gathered everything together that might have saved me fifty seven extra cents, answered a few easy questions, and came back with my expected pittance that year ready to be popped in the USPS designated mailbox in mere nanoseconds. Before I knew it, I was feeling momentarily rich as my return was burning a hole in my checking account.
SO! I decided to be responsible this year and put most of the money down on my gargantuan credit card balance. But not before I purchased myself one completely justifiable and non-refundable treat. I earned this one (both literally and figuratively). For months I had been patiently waiting like the worlds oldest kid, watching all my other kitchen friends make short work of everything in front of them with ease as I sullenly smashed food with my Buick LeSabre of knives. As that tax return sat in my federal credit union bank account, beconing me to spend it on other frivolous things, nothing could dissuade me from my seven minutes in heaven. I beelined it for Tribeca as fast as my little metrocard would carry me, before logic and reason told me to be responsibe. It was to be the day that I bought myself a Japanese chef’s knife at the Disneyland of knife emporiums, Korin.
Korin, a Japanese knife shop nestled cozily in Tribeca on Warren street, is a virtual theme park of cutlery. Upon entering the shop the casual shopper is greeted with muted shades of beige serving dishes and plate settings, rice cookers and other kitchen tickytack. It’s a pleasant experience in the front of the store, calming and serene. The eye glides over the smooth porcelain edges, meandering amongst ideas of sushi parties until…
WHABAM! Rip tide of fine cutlery!
In the dark shadows of the back of the store there are hundreds upon hundreds of knives for the kitchen geek to pour over. Big knives. Little knives. Wood handled knives in a rainbow of colors. Korin has western and Japanese style knives of every shape and metal known to the cooking world. It was like that first visit to the Magic Kingdom as a child, just me and the handful of cooking enthusiasts staring longingly at the cases flanking the walls with the wide eyed wonder and hope that only the young have.
I’m not going to lie. I looked at a bunch of the cheapest, lightweight knives that the salesman showed me and still went with the Togiharu Inox Steel Gyutou that my friend recommended that I check out. I didn’t want to look like a complete rube in the knife shop, so I asked a handful of boneheaded questions to my sales rep, pretended to know what I was contemplatively looking at as I stood there “pondering” and then went with the one that I knew I would end up walking out with as soon as I walked in.
As I knew that I would never return the knife that I was about to purchase, I decided to have Chiharu Sugai finish my 80% sharp knife and forego the warranty. Mr. Sugai is the master knife sharpener at Korin, perched on his own pedestal (literally) in the middle of the store where he sharpens and reforms knives all day long. He took a look at my new knife.
“Are you a professional?” He asked me as he quietly and seriously examined each side of the blade.
I had to bluff, even with my cheap of cheapiest cutlery. This man had spent years in Japan sitting and watching grand masters of knife sharpening just to hone his own technique, after all. “Apprentice!” I sputtered, hopefully..
He raised an eyebrow and picked up a whetstone. “Uh hunh.”
Five minutes later and $132 poorer, I waltzed out of the store on cloud nine holding a razor sharp knife and a blade cover in a nondescript bag. I nearly skipped all the way home as I was so excited to try the sucker out. I bought a celebratory sweet potato to christen the knife on as I sprinted back to my kitchen from the subway.
I’m not kidding you when I tell you this. The first thing I did with my knife, the very first thing was to knick my knuckle with the blade as I took it out of the protective plastic sleeve. I didn’t even notice that it had happened until the blood drips dotted my other fingers. Like a painless ninja, my new knife shivved me without a second thought, and now droplets of my own blood were saturating my countertop. I was shocked and amazed.
I was in love for the very first time.