Al Batt: Please just don’t run with the good scissors

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tales From Exit 22 by Al Batt

I could have been happy with my blunt scissors had I not been aware of the existence of the good scissors.

My mother had her good scissors.

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The good scissors were used for sewing and were the holy grail of scissors. My mother had spent her life searching for the perfect scissors.

Every mother I knew had a good scissors. Good scissors were as common as wobbly tables in houses.

I was ambitious. I had hopes and dreams. I had goals. I wanted to use the good scissors. I was fascinated by the good scissors. I wanted to use them for the shear joy.

What made a scissors the good scissors was a mystery. Cost? Personality? The ability to maintain a sharp edge? No one knows. Good scissors were magical. I searched for magical things. Christopher Moore wrote, “Children see magic because they look for it.”

I thought every boy ought to know how to use the good scissors. I was transparent in my intentions.

I loved the funny pages of the newspaper. I clipped cartoons from newspapers and magazines, and pasted them into discarded textbooks owned by prior generations. Scrapbooking on a budget. One ancient math book contained nothing but “Mark Trail’s Outdoor Tips.“ “Mark Trail” is a newspaper comic strip created by Ed Dodd in 1946 that centers on environmental themes.

I wanted to use the good scissors for that task. I accidentally on purpose opened the secret drawer, which wasn’t padlocked, and I heard the good scissors theme song. I heard it only in my mind, but I still heard it. It was “I can’t get no good scissors” by The Rolling Stones.

My mother had been baking. She seemed totally occupied with that activity, but she somehow sensed the good scissors drawer being opened.

Mother wasn’t much for kicking up a fuss, but she was the boss of me.

“Don’t use the good scissors!” she ordered.

What I heard was, “Use the crummy scissors.”

The prohibition on the usage of the good scissors by anyone other than mother was the law. It needed to be obeyed. Dad couldn’t even use the good scissors to trim his nose hairs.

It was the forbidden fruit. The forbidden scissors. The chances of me using the good scissors were equal to winning the lottery.

Perhaps Mom thought the good scissors would be a bad influence on me. If she didn’t want me to use her scissors, she should have been more astute when hiding them.

There was another important scissors rule in our home. “Don’t run with scissors” was the 11th Commandment. Mom’s good scissors were pointed and sharp, but I wasn’t even allowed to run with the blunt scissors that I used to cut construction paper in school. We used blunt scissors because the school had banned assault scissors.

Isn’t running with a scissors better than getting no exercise at all? That was my failed argument.

I love newspapers. If I’m eating alone, I have difficulty ingesting without the company of newspaper or book. As a dedicated newspaper consumer, I read the obituaries faithfully. I look for someone who died at home while running with a scissors. I’ve yet to find one.

A big day was when The Scissors Man paid a visit. He wasn’t Edward Scissorhands. “Edward Scissorhands” was a movie in which a scientist built an animated human. The scientist died before he finished the project, leaving the young man he’d created with freakish scissor blades instead of hands. The Scissors Man who visited us wasn’t in a movie. He was a fellow who showed up in an elderly pickup truck carrying a camper that had been made into a business that sharpened cutting instruments. He showed up every so often and mother’s pair of good scissors was sharpened each time.

A friend told me that his mother forbade the usage of the good scissors by anyone including herself on Sundays. I read about a superstition that claimed if you dropped a scissors on Sunday, you could prevent bad luck by letting them remain on the floor until Monday.

I don’t give much credence to superstitions other than the one that asserts if you sing at the dinner table, you’ll get a crazy spouse. My wife yodeled during meals when she was a girl and look what she ended up with.

When I was a boy, we settled things like adults by playing rock, paper, scissors. Scissors beats paper, but the good scissors never got the opportunity to play.

More’s the pity.

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.