ask palinode: cutlery edition

First things first: go vote for my Schmutzie-wife at the Canadian Blog Awards. She's up for Best Blog, under the title "Milkmoney or Not, Here I Come".


Some day some people gonna ask a Palinode, when you gonna put away the foolish things of life and grow up proper? And I'm gonna say, don't bother me, I'm eating a pie. But until that day arrives, I'm putting down that pie to answer your highly legit questions. Today my friend Amblus, who is also Keen Designs, asks me:

If one has a titanium spork and is emptying the dishwasher and putting things away, does the spork go in the spoon slot of the silverware drawer or would the fork slot be better? I am fairly tortured by this.


Whoah! A titanium spork? I've been given to understand that those titanium sporks are only used by government agents in black ops missions. They won't be released to the public until 2016, by which time the military hopes to have an effective counterspork in place. I own a nickel/zinc spork, which still makes an nice weapon, but you can't go around delivering killing blows like you can with the titanium model.

Some experts - or should I call them "experts" - maintain that the spork-drawer issue goes back to a medieval-era dispute between the Spork Guild and the Dutch Brotherhood of Receptacles. This is taken as a blanket explanation that also covers the evolution of the weaponised spork, from oddball implement to military mess tool to a weapon for cutting on people. However, there's strong evidence to suggest that the Dutch Brotherhood of Receptacles was first convened in 1987 by a group of D&D players, and sporks have been used as weapons for much of our history. Playwright and adventurer Ben Jonson kept a "killing-sporke" concealed in his cloak at all times, as does disgraced Canadian athlete Ben Johnson.

A spork has no easy slot in the drawer because it's a piece of zombie silverware. Zombies are the quintessential in-between creatures - not living, not dead, not allowed into bars until after one in the morning. To ask where to put a spork is the same as asking Where to put a zombie? You can't put it at the dining room table, because too often the guests end up becoming the meal. You can't put it in the ground, because there are so few brains there. More often than not, the zombie claws its way out to the surface and presents itself as an eyesore as well as a menace.

The truth is you can't put a zombie anywhere - it is not an object so much as it is an indeterminate state. And it's not one of those scientific thought experiments where the zombie's in a box and you resolve its state by observing it. Zombies don't care about quantum physics. You go and observe a zombie, it's still a zombie, just kind of standing there and moaning and lurching a bit. Then it observes you and tries to resolve your state. The only real resolution is to crush its head or blow it up.

And that's what you do with a spork, except that the spork's power is in its little tines. Cut the tines off with tin snips or fill in the spaces with old gum and bits of newspaper, whatever. Do that and you've resolved your spork into a spoon, and you can store it with security and confidence. Just don't let it loose in your kitchen.

Curious about the all the things that ever were? Don't have an artificial bird set upon a bough to keep a drowsy emperor awake and sing to lords and ladies of Byzantium of what is past, or passing, or to come? Want to know where those lines come from? Ask Palinode and he will tell you. Email askpalinode @ gmail . com.