And not just kitchen cutlery, either. I used to sell hunting knifes, fighting knives, diving knives, and shucking knives.
But on the other end of utility lay the "costume knives" which were as poorly made as they were high in profit margin. Chesapeake Knife and Tool would sell a $169 "samurai sword" that really only cost the store like $20-40. When I left the company in 1991, they only had 4 swords. Years later, they had a wall dedicated to the various fantasy elements, and a whole case filled with some of the most brutal looking pieces that probably nicked a bunch of salespeople in their time. But what gets me is how serious some people take this stuff.
To the left, I have a thumbnail of something they call "The Arm Shark." I chose this piece to highlight because it combines both the element of artistic vision combined with something I am sure entices people who still play with Transformers action figures in their 30s. No, I am not talking about people who buy them off of eBay and keep them mint in their box in a display case, I am talking about those who still speak Optimus Prime as if he was real. I am scared that these people will hurt themselves and raise my insurance rates.
At a first glace to someone who has NEVER been in hand-to-hand combat, someone wearing a device such as this would seem pretty fucking bas-ass. This is the kind of arm piece that seems to say, "I am an ogre, and I will shred you like a bloomin' onion!" At CK&T, we had a lot of customers who, if we had sold this, would have demanded to try it out on their arm like some razor-sharp phallus of power. We would them tell them no, you'll get fingerprints on it, and it's a bitch to polish without getting poked and scratched. The mechanics of hand-to-hand combat with these people are limited to a kind of "first strike, then it will somehow all work out" in a vague fog where Metallica plays them out walking towards a hazy sunset while heat waves radiate from burning asphalt. I am sure somewhere in that psyche, they are also wearing a helmet with horns.
The first problem with such a device would be it's probably pretty heavy. I am guessing, even with the cheap metal they probably made this from (only $48.99), it's about 20 lbs or more. Most of the people actually attracted to such a weapon of mass self-injury would barely be able to hold their arm out for more than 10 seconds before the strain shook them like a bad case of Parkinson's. But let's say they had a beefy right arm from years of furious masturbating and fetching tangled socks from a washing machine spindle. Let's say they had a broad chest and the kind of glutes that would make Conan the Barbarian wet himself in fear. Let's say that they can get that first strike in, thrusting this horror in front of them like a great white shark making the kill.
I would imagine that the streamline look of this weapon suggests a thrusting motion, although I am sure a slashing motion would also work. The fantasy problem starts to blur upon impact, where it would tear through flesh and bone like a scythe through corn stalks. But for those who have actually seen what happens to a living, meaty object upon impact, it's not so easy. Yes, the first strike would quite possibly be a killing blow. It would certainly hurt; it wouldn't even have to be sharp. In fact, it would be best if it wasn't sharp because it might prevent a lot of the bone, gristle, muscle, and other connective tissues from tangling with the blade and preventing you from pulling it out.
Of the the things that hunters know about a good hunting knife is the presence of what's known as "a blood groove." This long groove in a blade is for the sole purpose of reducing the suction caused by sticking a knife into a big piece of meat. Some of you who have been to fancy buffets may have seen a chef with a very long but round-tipped carving knife with small ovals along the side of the long blade. Those small ovals are to keep the slice of delicious roast beef from sticking to the blade via suction, curling up, and generally making a mess out of a fairly straight cut. This arm-hugging monstrosity is lacking this essential feature, so any deep thrust would result in an awkward moment when your dying opponent was looking at you trying to wedge his carcass free from what was essentially a grappling hook jammed into his ribcage. It reminds me of the story of Brer Rabbit meeting a Tar Baby. Not to mention that other enemies might take this opportunity to leisurely attack you while you tried to get your arm free.
This product says it comes with a display plaque, which is where it should stay, and for 99% of the people who buy it, will stay. But I imagine some redneck hillbilly dumbass will try to put it on his arm and try and open a can of beer with it. And can't resist showing it off to his friends. "Hey, Cletus! Watch me cut up this mush melon!" One of his friends will probably reply, "Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!" Later, in the emergency room, they will claim his hand slipped with fixing a tractor fan blade.