You’re a father. You need a knife.

Annoying tags. Threads on clothes. Those wires that hold toys into their packages. Fighting off bears. Turning water bottles into sippy cups. Making good on threats to pop that damn balloon. Cutting things. If you’re a father, you’re going to need a knife.

Nothing ridiculous. I’m not talking about strapping a machete to your leg and scaring the neighbors. Just a simple pocketknife will get you through the day and out of most scrapes.

The Swiss Army Knife is the definitive pocketknife. Several tools. Compact size. You probably got one for graduation or something. They are everywhere and they suck. Try to pry with it and you end up with a bent knife. Try to fight a bear with it and you’ll cut your own thumb off. And you’re not going to win a fight with a bear with just one thumb.

Sure, there are a lot of tools on it, but, face it, now that you’re a parent you’re not going to need that corkscrew to open a bottle of wine as much as you’ll need a real blade to cut through the zip ties holding “the dolly that pees” into its Fort Knox packaging.

So, let go of your Wenger and get a single-blade folder with a locking liner.

They’re not bulky, so they fit nicely in your pocket. (Note: don’t clip it to your belt. Don’t be that guy. We all laugh at you. Twice as hard if you’ve got your cell phone in a holster as well, cowboy.)

Most have an assisted opening feature so they open quickly with one hand — good for bears that surprise you. And, trust me, if you’re ever in a bear fight, it’s a surprise. They are notoriously bad about calling ahead.

I prefer a partially serrated edge. The fine edge will cut a page out of a book, but the serrations will saw through rope or balloon ribbon as if either was balloon ribbon.

And, most importantly, they have a good solid blade that hasn’t bent on me yet.

I have my favorite but there are many good tools out there. And, as long as you spend more than thirty bucks and it’s not a knife from that movie — any movie — you’ll be in good shape.

I think that as a father it’s important to be prepared and a knife is the simplest, most versatile tool in the world. Its practical applications are endless. But, if you need one more, remember that no young boy looks cooler than the one whose dad pulled out the knife in front of his friends and saved the birthday party, fixed the toy or killed the bear.

Author. Father. Dog owner. I stare at the wall a lot. More about me here:

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