The Good Scissors: Bane of Childhood

The Good Scissors: Bane of Childhood
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2008

Don't use the Good Scissors!

Anyone with a mother grew up hearing that. Every household had a pair of Good Scissors, and they were not to be touched. Not by children. Not by anyone under 18, in fact. Basically, not by anyone who wasn't your mother. The Good Scissors were so good that they – and anything related to them – were Capitalized.

The Good Scissors weren't just any crappy pair of scissors. They were Good and Righteous, forged at the foot of Mount Athos by a Holy Blacksmith, blessed by the Pope himself, and carried on a Velvet Pillow to our Sacred Junk Drawer of Flotsam, where they lay untouched for years.

At least until you needed to cut a picture from a magazine. So you opened the junk drawer, and it made that little squeak.

"You're not using the Good Scissors, are you?!" boomed a voice from the other room.

" I need to cut this picture of Superman out of this magazine."

"Then use the everyday scissors."

The everyday scissors sucked. For one thing, they weren't even capitalized. They couldn't cut through air without a running start. They were the cutting implements no one wanted, the rented mule of scissors. You would get a more accurate cut, and were less likely to lop off a finger, if you used a wheat thresher.

The problem with the everyday scissors is that our mothers seemed to think they were an acceptable substitute to the laser-like precision of the Good Scissors, which were made out of high-impact titanium and could cut through the fabric of space and time. The everyday scissors were made out of two sharpened pieces of flint, held together with a rusty nail and a rubber band.

We even have a pair of Good Scissors in our house, used mostly for kitchen cutting. My wife has decreed that no one should use them, because she uses them for certain food items. Which means I would never, ever consider using them to open up potato chip bags, small boxes, or a bag of gummi bears I ate in bed when she went away for a girls' weekend away a few weeks ago.

Besides, our everyday scissors are fairly decent. They're leftover office scissors from an old employer, and I've got four or five pair stashed around the house, so they're still sharp. There may be more though; I think they're actually multiplying.

I was never quite sure what my mom used our Good Scissors for. I don't think anyone actually ever saw her use them. There were whispers among the family that she used them when she was sewing or wrapping gifts, but I never saw it. I used to think she just took them out late at night and admired the way they gleamed in the moonlight, making sword noises as she slashed through the air like one of the Three Musketeers.

One would think that she would have used them for cutting our hair., but when I was a kid, she used a HairWiz, a sort of plastic razor-in-a-comb that was supposedly used for thinning out hair. When I was a kid, it was an implement of torture that she used to keep me in line.

"Why can't you use the Good Scissors?" I asked during one scalp torture session.

"Because we have this thing," she said. It didn't quite answer my question, but since she was combing my hair with a sharpened garden rake, I knew better than to argue.

I entered the summer after second grade with mixed emotions, because my mom gave me a crew cut. On the one hand, no more HairWiz torture sessions. On the other, I looked like a complete goober. Relief finally came when the HairWiz broke or got lost – I can't remember what I told her after it came up "missing" – so she started using a new pair of hair scissors.

I think I'm safe in saying this now, 35 years later, but my dad used the Good Scissors more than a few times. He would wait until my mom went out for the evening, raid the Sacred Junk Drawer of Flotsam, disable the alarm, and use the Good Scissors to cut out paper doll chains and snowflakes out of the newspaper to his heart's content.

In all that time, he never got caught. He always planned his clandestine cutting when he knew my mom would be gone for several hours, and he bribed me into silence.

But most importantly, he always burned the evidence with the Good Lighter.