Doing a quick search online you find all kinds of things that are “the SAK of” their own industry- you always hear that something is the “Swiss Army Knife of...” and whatever type of thing it is, although the term is getting more and more used around software applications, but it’s also used for hardware and all manner of other items.
With this in mind, I decided to look around my own daily existence and thought, “What are the Swiss Army Knives of my life?” Of course the obvious answer is my Swiss Army Knives, otherwise I wouldn’t have this site now would I? Digging a little deeper I’ve found a couple of other items that I feel represent the spirit of a Swiss Army Knife (besides the Spirit!) For their versatility, reliability or some other quality.
My phone in the middle replaces the PDA (left), mp3 player (right) and many other devices.
The first one is my phone- an HTC Smartphone, running Windows Mobile 6. It’s a veritable SwissChamp as far as features go- calendar, phone, text messages, email, web surfing, the ever important Solitaire and so on. With lots of add ons like sheaths and lanyards, and a myriad of built in implements like Bluetooth and a 2mp camera, my phone sure does seem to be the missing link between the SAK you and I are familiar with and what I always thought of as the SAKs of the future, like an R2-D2 type robot from Star Wars or one of those nifty Star Trek Tricorders. While that may seem like a bit of a stretch (or that maybe I need to get out more...) Remember that no Sci Fi hero goes anywhere without their single hunk of do-it-all equipment, much like you or I would never go anywhere without our trusty SAK!
Next up is a relative newcomer to my world, but has quickly become indispensable- my Jeep. It’s a second hand TJ Sport, and like a SAK, is a very basic daily user that has a proud military past. While many other vehicles on the road these days are adding in high tech materials like carbon fiber, aluminum and titanium, my Jeep is plain old steel, without fancy crumple zones or no handed opening buttons on the keyring. It’s not the most ergonomic or efficient device out there, but a Jeep is reliable and does what you need it to do, no matter what, just like a SAK. And, also like a SAK, Jeeps became popular among civilians thanks to returning soldiers from WWII who raved about how good they were. If it weren’t for the fascination of the veterans, Jeeps would probably be just another piece of discontinued military equipment, and SAKs would be just another obscure gadget issued to soldiers of a neutral country.
The last one that I can think of that has the versatility and reliability of a SAK isn’t from some factory, it’s my dog. For years I’ve always insisted that the best home security system is a dog, and many criminals admit to avoiding houses with any kind of dog, as even the small ones can cause big problems for them. Of course there’s more to a dog than home protection- blind folks use dogs to get around, law enforcement officers use dogs to find bombs or narcotics, as well as tracking and apprehending suspects, Search and Rescue organizations use dogs to locate and reach people who are lost or inaccessible, and many others use dogs for hunting. In fact, there is a rare time when you can use the versatility of a SAK that couldn’t be aided or at least complimented by having a dog around. Like a SAK, a good dog should be part of everyone’s emergency kit.
It’s kind of interesting to look around your daily life once in a while and see if you can locate the various “SAKs” that surround you. You just might be amazed to realize that not every SAK has red cellidor scales or a bottle opener!