Saturday, September 4, 2010

Newton - Behind the Scenes

As the painting process gets into full swing and our days come and go with us perched like amateur circus performers atop wavering scissor lifts, we've taken to spending the precious few hours we have off with some of Newton's second tier cultural offerings, among them: The (seldom heard) Legend of Newton's Cusped Cutlery.

To begin, let's be very clear: The Nork* (actually spelled Knork) is not a spork.

The story goes (if you believe in stories) that some thirty or forty or fifty years ago two young friends growing up in Newton, who also happened to be novice inventors, stumbled onto the idea (while attempting to eat artisan pizza) of marrying the fork's capacity for impaling with the knife's obsession with cutting. After years or months or weeks of r & d, the friends each came up with an elegant design solution - a single utensil that appeared at first glance to be only a fork, but when turned revealed a tapered edge suitable for cutting. Their inventions were identical in every way except in name, where one called his the Fife, the other called his new tool the Nork.

History has buried the heartbreaking story of what followed, for these two young men had dismissed the age old adage that friends, if they want to remain so, should never go into business together. Looking through an old newspaper, we discovered the shocking story. The headline from way back then screams at the reader - "INVENTOR STABBED BY NORK! " What unpoetic justice. The newspaper in its arrogance or ineptitude had misnamed the weapon. The inventor was stabbed, but not by a Nork. It was instead the one and only existing prototype of the Fife, its inventor so distraught over losing the name game (and a potential fortune from wedding registries and school lunchrooms) that he lashed out against his childhood friend.

A friendship broken beyond repair, the Fife's inventor (after serving a reduced jail term - he claimed the stabbing an accident while playing an old parlor game) disappeared, while the Nork continues to grow its market share, pushing aside knives and forks at many Newton dinner tables. A compelling story for sure, but obviously not suitable for a community mural, and so it will most likely fade away into the shadowy realm of forklore and myth where it clearly belongs.

*names have been changed to protect innocent tableware

No comments: