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#363 :: Leatherman Squirt

February 12, 2005

sildenafil ‘popup’, generic ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>They arrive like smuggled slugs of radioactive metal, encased in sheets of cedar and sheathed in little tubes of machined aluminum. A relative (I shan’t say which) snuck them off a cruise ship and back in through Customs. The tobacco tastes no more extraordinary than the average Dominican blend – woody, rich in the back of the throat. But the frisson of illegality – a mesh of spiteful Cold War trade embargoes slapped on an English-branded product of Cuba – adds layers of flavor and meaning to the experience. I have maybe one cigar every month or two. There is the ritual – moisten the end, slice off the tip, light a match to light the cedar sheet, use it to heat the end of the cigar for precisely 45 seconds (holding it slightly away from your body appraisingly, at approximately the level of your navel) – then you light. A few quick, deep puffs while rotating the cigar end through the flame. Stoked with a puff every minute or two, it will last about an hour. A cigar is a welcome break from painting, a post-dinner respite around a campfire, a warming influence on a cold boat. As the man says, a good cigar is a smoke.
click ‘popup’, sick ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>I am homo sapiens, a tool user.


I feel naked without a blade. Ill-equipped for the day without my pocket knife and PDA. Impotent when faced with a Torx screw that needs budging and a toolbox full of flatheads and Phillipses. I’ve gone through quite a few pocket multitools: the Swiss-Tech Micro-Tech was nice, but the heads were a tad large and it kept unfolding and falling off my keyring. The Swiss-Tech Micro-Plus was better – two sizes of driver heads and a folding design that kept it from opening quite so easily – but I resented the hard profile it held in my pocket since it’s designed to pinch my keyring at a hard right angle and it always managed to dig directly into my hipbone when I was rolling around the family room floor with the kids. Then came the Gerber Multi-Tool which hung around for a good year and a half – a terrific little collection of tools that proved only as good as the fastening mechanism: The pliers-grip grew loose and the thing floated off my keyring somewhere and vanished. I then bought a multitool-and-flashlight set for my son’s birthday and – forbidden to give the “that’s-dangerous-he’ll-hurt-himself!” tool to a 5-year-old boy, I kept it. The Coast Micro-Pliers hung obediently from a jump ring, but they were bulky, balky, crummy-feeling. They had scissors (something I never understood the need for in a tool that already has a knife blade). And they were stiff, almost impossible to open.

There’s no pleasure on earth like the feel of doing a task with a good tool in your hands. The Squirt is a damned good tool, trim, crisp and handsome in anodized blue. I’ve mounted it on a swivel clip so it moves in and out of my pocket easily. The plier handles fold and open on smooth leaf springs, the pliers themselves are spring-loaded and easy to operate. There are two sizes of flathead driver and the Phillips head is actually a modified flathead with a triangular tip rather than the usual thick cross-head. The blade is sharp, there’s a double-sided file, wire cutters, an awl … I am a happy ape.

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1 Comment

  1. David September 27, 2005 @ 2:49 pm

    I bought one of these (in red, naturally) to replace my larger Juice Leatherman, which mysteriously vanished on is way back from my last minesite job. And I’ve used it more in that four weeks than the Juice got used in the previous two years, probably because it’s with me at all times, rather than just when I think it might be useful. Now I just need to find a nice folding knife and *I’ll* be a happy ape.

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