Periscope Depth

did our boy do something rash?

We worried about rain, but it was still clear out when Sylvia and I showed up at Joe’s place in Watertown. I’d picked up some snacks and beer at the Shaw’s around the corner. Joe’s dad was grilling in the backyard; friends and family circled around. We weren’t alone, but we were some of the first people there. “Joe’s out back,” someone said. “Throwing knives with his brothers.”

Here’s the trick to knife-throwing:

  1. Get knives made for knife-throwing. These are flat, metal blades that don’t have a separate hilt: they’re just blunt on one end. They’re not even very sharp.
  2. Don’t stand too far from the target on your first go. It’s hard to throw a knife at all, much less throw it a good distance.
  3. Don’t flick your wrist at the target. Keep your wrist straight. Bring your forearm back, then release the blade just before your arm reaches zero degrees.
  4. Don’t throw it too hard. The weight of the knife will stick it into the target.
  5. And for devil’s sake, don’t throw a knife at someone to hurt them. If you miss, you’ve just thrown away your knife.


My best inning for the afternoon was two hits out of eight throws. I would have given up sooner, but there’s a particularly satisfying thunk that a thrown knife makes when buried into a stump. Especially when compared to the flat KLAY-AY-ANG a knife makes when it bounces off the target in a random direction. Roll d6 for scatter; take 1d4+2 damage.

The most important thing about knife-throwing (as Sylvia brought up later) is to be cool about it. Joe’s a cool guy: he works in film; he approaches his passions with intensity but is otherwise laid back; he’s got a good sense of humor, etc. If he does something out of the norm, it becomes an interesting experience. “Knife-throwing, huh? Sure, I’ll give it a try.” Whereas if a stringy-haired guy in a patchy Army jacket sat next to you on the bus, reeking of Old Crow, and started talking about how good he is at throwing knives? You’d start wondering how much damage your purse could do if swung.

So if you’re wondering how to make your fringe hobby more appealing – like D&D or macramé or libertarianism – get a shave and a haircut.

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