If you remember the late ’80s into the ’90s, you may recall the rise of infomercials. The Ginsu Knife was one of the hottest sellers. Claiming to have the longest lasting edge of any knife ever, we were told it never needs sharpening.
“Watch this!,” the actor would scream. “Look how easily it slices a tomato. And slicing bread is a breeze.”
“But that’s not all!,” he would continue, excitedly. “Watch how the Ginsu Knife will cut a penny in half, and still slice bread. And, you can even cut a nail. Look, it still has no problem thinly slicing this tomato.”
On and on it would go. “Our Ginsu Knife will cut through anything.”
Once or twice… This is me talking now.
Were Ginsu Knives designed to cut pennies and nails? No. They were created to cut foods, fruits and vegetables. The show of cutting pennies and nails was twofold. First, for the viewers to see the durability, and second, to deceive us into believing the knife could be eternally misused, and still maintain its edge.
If you take nothing else from this column, understand that continual misuse or improper use of anything will render it useless for its intended design and purpose. To help young people understand this concept more clearly, I used to use Ginsu Knives in presentations.
I would go through the infomercial spiel. Then I would pull out a two by four with about twenty nails I had hammered into it. The more nails I sawed with the Ginsu Knife, the less smoothly it sliced tomatoes and bread.
The point was this. We are not created and designed to do some things that we insist on doing. We might get away with cutting a nail or two, but if we keep cutting nails, our edge will get dull. (You know what your nails are.) Once dull, we are unable to perform the tasks for which we were created.
And only the creator can put a new edge on a your knife.
There are almost too many magnets on cars to count. Yellow ribbons, blue ribbons, ICTHUS fish, Darwinian fish, names, and on and on. This doesn’t even take into account all of the stickers. People put magnets on their cars to make a statement or to indicate or show something that is important to them. Refrigerator magnets serve the same purpose.
I just started putting a magnet on my car.
I started a new job a couple of weeks ago with Green & Safe, one of the most highly respected contract Health Safety and Environment Coordinator, Training, and Supervisor firms in the South. I am honored to have this opportunity. No, I am not giving them a plug, I am making my usual real life correlation.
While completing the orientation and paperwork to officially begin the position of Contract Safety Coordinator, I was given a company logo magnet to place on my car. I will use my personal vehicle for company business. Along with the magnet there was essentially a contract. I’m calling it a covenant. It says, in so many words, that whenever I have that magnet on my car, I am to drive it like it is theirs. In fact, my car becomes a company car when I am on company business.
Think about this from a personal holistic perspective. Your life is your car. Whose magnet (logo) is on your life? Do you live your life according to the covenant you entered into in order to get the logo? That logo says something about what is important to you.
Whenever we wear a logo, unless it strictly and explicitly belongs to us, trademark, copyright, and patent, we are representing the owner. The owner of the logo has generally gone to great lengths to build a reputation. The owner of the logo has far more at stake than those who are allowed to put the logo on.
Whose logo are you wearing? What does it say about you and what is important to you? Are you honoring the work and reputation of the logo owner? And, when we are talking about life, you wear the logo 24/7.
While I do understand the need to protect property from those who would break in and steal, some people would do well to do a real risk assessment. There may be threats to our loved ones’ and our personal wellbeing, but how often do we go too far with the security? Is the threat we are trying to protect from legitimate? Is our perception or fear rational?
Too often we allow news reports to create a subtle paranoia in how we perceive what’s actually going on around us. The result is being “too secure.”
What do I mean, “too secure”? We have all heard reports of someone dying in a fire because they were locked in the house and couldn’t get the door open fast enough. Have you ever locked yourself out of the house when you ran to the car or mailbox? Have you ever looked all over the place for something you were trying to hide from someone, and inadvertently hid it from yourself? Here’s a good one. How many times do you have to click “Forgot Password”? Those might be examples of too secure.
Now for the life correlation. Is your life too secure?
We justify and explain it by saying we are just very private people, when actually we build extra walls, put up security bars and doors, renovate and have “safe rooms” added. All to keep people from getting too close. Keep people at arm’s length is one description. Well, just as in the examples I mentioned before, our security can backfire on us in our lives.
Security locks the door on both sides.
We have no close friends. We carry needless pains and burdens because we have no one with which to share. This is unnatural because human beings are designed to live in community with one another.
Are you familiar with the saying, “If you keep your hand closed tightly, no one can take anything out, but neither can anyone put anything in.” The same holds true with our lives. We miss out on some very meaningful relationships because we are too secure. We can all think of someone to whom this applies because they are the extreme. How true of us, though, to perhaps a lesser degree?
Our security keeps people out, but it locks us in, as well.