I was on the expressway driving to work the other day when I noticed a kitchen table lying upside-down on the shoulder of the road. A hundred feet or so later, a man was walking toward the table, and what must have been his car was parked several hundred feet down the shoulder. My guess is that the table had been lashed to the roof of his car and came loose while he was driving.
Last week, helping my son move, we transported his mattress and box springs from one apartment to another on the roof of our car. Using a combination of trucker’s hitches, clove hitches and a taut-line hitch, we had that mattress so secure to the roof rack that it would have survived a cross-country trip without moving more than a couple inches.
It made me wonder if the fellow with the table knew how to tie anything other than a simple overhand or a “granny” knot, and whether that was the reason his table was in the road rather than on the roof of his car.
I thought back to a troop meeting a few years ago when the various patrols were practicing knots for a patrol knot relay competition. One of the dads was a retired Marine, and he taught his son and their friends a technique he learned in the Corps for tying a bowline hitch one-handed. The bowline hitch is, of course, one of the most important rescue knots because it holds securely and can be used to hoist someone without slipping. The one-handed technique is useful if your other arm is injured or is holding on for dear life. Everyone ended up learning the technique and having fun racing each other for the twelve-pack of Skittles that went to the fastest patrol.
How many people would learn the bowline, or any other potentially lifesaving knots for that matter, if they weren’t involved in Scouting or sailing or the military or another activity where these skills are taught and used? And what about those who don’t take advantage of the opportunity?
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