Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Leatherman Tale

The other morning I was reading one of my usual daily blogs.  The post was about purses: how big, how heavy, what we women carry in them.  These days I don't have much in my bag.  There was a time I was prepared for anything, including leaving the country at a moment's notice.  (Not that I had any reason to be prepared for that, I just liked the fact I could).

Nowadays, I have just the bare essentials: wallet, coin purse, tissue, lipstick and mirror, a small tablet and pen, usually my Kindle or a book, and always, no matter what, my Leatherman.  A work of art in a tool.

This is the handiest, most efficient piece of equipment ever made, in my opinion.  It makes a Swiss Army knife look like a toy.  The Leatherman is compact, has a tool for any eventuality, and is worth it's weight in gold.  Every women should have one.  I've had mine for absolutely years and except for when I fly--security considers it a weapon, so I have to put it in my suitcase--I am never without it.  There isn't much this tool can't deal with.

Few photos:

Sort of looks like a weird frog in the last photo...though you can see how many bits are involved in this totally compact and cool design.  You can also see how marked, scarred and scratched up the original case is.  My Leatherman has been around the world and back again many times.  I wouldn't be without it, for sure.


An instance where the Leatherman saved a life:

Alan and I were hiking in the Highlands one spring weekend when we chanced upon a ram who had his very large and curly horn tangled in wire fencing.  I'm not sure why there was a wire fence in this particular area as usually there were just stone walls or nothing at all, but whatever, the ram had been stuck in this thick wire for quite awhile.  He'd worn a deep groove in the soil, he was foaming, and it looked like he'd damaged a back leg in the struggle to free himself.  His females were gathered around him, bleating with distress.  It was really upsetting to see this poor creature who looked so weak it was clear he didn't have much fight left in him.

I dropped my pack, zipped open a pocket and pulled out the Leatherman.

"What are you doing?" asked Alan.

"We have to get the ram out of this wire or he's going to die."  I snapped open the case and took out the tool.

"We can't cut the wire, all the sheep will get loose!  This is the Highlands; the shepherd will come eventually, and if he doesn't," Alan shrugged, "well, then that's how things go up here.  Sheep get lost, killed by wild animals, or get tangled in wire and die.  Survival of the fittest."

I glared at him.  "Thank you, Mr bloody Darwin."

I opened the tool to the wire cutters.  As I approached the fence, I snarked over my shoulder, "They don't die if I can help it."   When I got close to the ram, he wigged out and began struggling even harder, his females getting truly agitated.  Alan sighed, dropped his pack and grabbed the ram's horns.  "If we get caught doing this, we'll probably get shot by a really angry shepherd," he muttered.

"Then we'd better hurry."

Alan ended up practically putting the ram in a head lock to keep him still, while I quickly cut through three lines of wire wound around his horn.  When I was done, Alan and I stepped back, and the poor ram dropped to the ground like he was dead.  I was really upset that our rescue had come too late, but after a few minutes, and some heavy, deep breathing, the ram staggered to his feet, shook his head, and limped off, his females following.

I looked at Alan, and suddenly we were both grinning wide as could be.  "You did good," he said.

"So did you."  I turned to look at the gaping hole in the fence.  "Can we fix it?"  It was one thing to free the ram, quite another to leave a giant escape hole in someone's livelihood.

Using the pliers portion of the tool, we managed to twist the wire into a makeshift binding that we hoped would hold.  I put my Leatherman back in its case, zipped it into my pack and off we went.

"I want a Leatherman," Alan said as we continued our hike.  "That's a really handy tool to have, isn't it?"

"Wouldn't be without it," I said, thinking I knew what to get him for his birthday.

(He loved having his own Leatherman, and always kept it in the glove box of his car).


  1. You know, I always thought the Leatherman was named because of the work that would be done with leather with it. :-) Watched a show not long ago only to find out that the inventor of the Leatherman's last name was -- you guessed it! -- Leatherman.



  2. I knew there was an actual Mr Leatherman behind the tool, just never thought to find out who he was or why he invented such an amazingly cool thing. I would love to see that show!