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Sunday, September 24 2023
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A stiletto is stealthy, but is it healthy?

stiletto is stealthy
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I was impressed enough by recent unfolding events to look up the definition of a switchblade in the  Wikipedia. This is what I found!

“A switchblade (aka switch knife, automatic knife, pushbutton knife, ejector knife, flick knife, flick blade, or spring knife) is a type of knife with a sliding or pivoting blade contained in the handle which is extended automatically by a spring when a button, lever, or switch on the handle or bolster is activated”.

By federal definition under the US 1958 Switchblade Act, a switchblade sports two important features:

  1. It contains a blade concealed inside a handle biased to come out of the handle.
  2. The blade is released when a button, switch or other device on the handle is pressed.

When that definition is applied to human beings every one of us is a switch blade. We all have that recessed blade within us. We press the button to release it when we have something to lose! when we sense fear, a loss of prestige, a loss of income, a loss of liberty, or have a FOMO episode – Fear of Missing out – it automatically springs the lock. It is also very eminently possible that it does so, when we have something to gain! Which is the more likely, is for the Psychologists to say, but one thing is for sure, the act of pressing the button that loosens the blade is rarely ever accidental. Only incidental!

A switchblade reveals its fangs when we push its button, lever, or a switch on the handle! And we do it consciously unless we have an anger management problem.  Once we open it, it locks into place and goes back to a closed position, only when it has utilized the energy coiled in its spring or served its purpose (either for or against), until the next time!

One very important reason that it’s called a switch blade is it switches its allegiance to whoever holds it with reverence and gives it its freedom of expression! It is very possessive and protective of its fundamental right to express itself. And so, it is loyal only to itself!

But we must remember, in the end it is a blade. Its only existential purpose is to stab, to wound, and often to kill! It does not respect its owner, or the one that paid for it! It is an extension of the hand that holds and operates it. It looks to be used and polished and used time and again. You can’t keep a good switchblade sheathed! It will find a way to emerge from the shadows and into the limelight!

When the switchblade becomes just a blade, it becomes rather tough to handle, its own handle notwithstanding, because it has switched…. On!  It is ready to slice, scrape, penetrate, and generally wound whatever or whoever it comes in contact with! And for a valid reason that is not immediately apparent, but to oneself! And we must be wary!

In an open position it creates fear; or it transfers the fear. Either one! In Psychology it’s called the phenomenon of Transference! We see it every day. As Alistair Maclean wrote, Fear is the key! To a better future for the one who creates it! And there lies the utility of Switchblades!

Switchblades are part of daily life. Most are hidden in the folds of our frocks; they have to be discerned, deciphered, and detained within, else like the cobra, they will sting with venom. It’s an on-going effort at every level of society and more so in National and office politics! That is why its called politics which is possibly the only way we know to distribute resources, status, and power with some degree of dignity.   This crude trading mechanism, polished for dignity over generations, determines “who gets what, when, how” according to Harold Lasswell!  And democracy is just a way of managing the switch blades who have a FOMO issue with dignity and rule of law written in the sand by the switch blade!

We are vibrant democracy we have been told time and again, and switchblades are the raison d’etre! A switchblade cuts through the clutter of a democracy like a hot knife through Cheesecake and takes it as a melting moment! And sometimes a melt down moment.

But Switch Blades are not easy to come by. They cost money, and someone’s eternal happiness. Money mostly. There is nothing like eternal happiness. That exists only till the blade switches based on its own estimation of self-worth and is dynamic. As dynamic as the dynamism of the spring in the switchblade!

But money too has self-worth. It has its own colours and is often racist or made out to be so, by governments around the world! All governments are colonial in their mind sets. They prefer the colour white because they can see through it. From where it came and where it goes. Both in sunlight and in darkness?

The black hates the white but tries its best to become what it hates. We all do that don’t we – just to fit in! to be seen as one of them, rather than one of us!  It subjects itself to a Swacch mission, like no other; in washing machines, across oceans, in vaults and in the cloud, to ensure it can obtain and retain that pristine colour! It’s even ready to give up a part of itself, for the sake of a colour! For, if it doesn’t, it knows that the KluKluxClan will come after it with a vengeance and take it all away for a thorough laundering! And that will help the colour conversion, but in a most unpleasant way.

And then maybe it will be time for the switch… blade!


This Article is written in the lighter vein with tongue-in-cheek. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental or just a mirage!

Photo by Markus Spiske

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Brian Fernandes

Brian is an alumnus of Roshni Nilaya’s Post Graduate School of Social Work, HR Department and has 30 years of local and international HR and General Management experience. Journalism, poetry, and feature writing is a passion which he is now able to pursue at will. Additionally, he loves compering and hosting talk shows. He loves learning and imparting it; so, when time permits, he provides leadership facilitation and soft skills training to Postgraduate students and Corporates in Mangaluru and Bengaluru. Besides, he is an accomplished Toastmaster under the aegis of and a designated Distinguished Toast Master.

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