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These Legs Are Made for Walkin’

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by Nancy A. Clark

Don’t know how it is at your house, but in ours, every pair of scissors carried through our door and assigned drawer space or a hook on a wall will – you can bet your bottom dollar – grow a pair of legs. There’s no other explanation for their disappearance, since none of the “I Didn’t Do It” persons in our house has seen them, or knows what happened to them.

Scissors-with-legs is a curse as old as dirt, an enigma that most likely frustrated even Eve, the gal who lived at One Eden Garden Lane over there in Paradise. Legend has it that one day Eve reached into a designated drawer for her favorite double-bladed scissors to clip a vine wrapped around a piece of something Adam dragged home for dinner, but the scissors were not where she’d left them. At that point in history, there weren’t too many “I Didn’t Do It” kids or cousins to blame for the mysterious disappearance; and as no one fessed up to the crime, the only conclusion Eve could make is that even her scissors grew legs where no legs were ever meant to grow.

The issue of runaway scissors is of little interest to the FBI (except at the airport), worthy of news headlines (except as a suspected weapon) or as the subject of a congressional review (although stranger things have happened). But on the home front, scissors in absentia can be a cause for great consternation. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the root of the rivalry be-tween Cain and Abel had something to do with who swiped the scissors and didn’t put them back where they belonged.

In grammar school, dull, blunt-tipped paper cutting scissors with matching finger holes (suitable for both lefties and righties) rarely disappeared. Teacher’s shiny, sharp-bladed scissors, on the other hand, rarely lasted very long in our eight-grades classroom. One pair with cobalt blue handles was only a few days old when they went missing from Teacher’s desk. She’d put them next to Larry Montgomery’s subtraction work sheet -a paper Teacher had streaked with bold bands of her bright red marking pencil. It took only a half-turn at the blackboard for Teacher to suspect a possible connection between a small pile of white, black and red confetti litter and her missing shears. After the mysterious disappearance of two more scissors, Teacher locked her cutters in a desk drawer, so fearful was she that the most recently purchased pair would sprout Olympian running legs.

When I was old enough to earn a wage, I vowed to alleviate the obvious pain my mother suffered when scissors went missing and purchased a pair in-tended only for her. Mom’s eyes glistened with tears of joy when on the Christmas morning of my 16th year as she tore open a newspaper comics-wrapped package and lifted high a shiny new pair of scissors bearing her initials – M.O.M. – on one of the blades. For days, she carried them in her apron pocket and slept with them under her pillow, exposing the scissors only to cut something or to show them off to a neighbor. Then, with a mix of confidence and trepidation, Mom hid them in a “secret place” to ensure they’d be there when she needed them. Well, sir, wouldn’t you know? Those treasured scissors grew legs . . . and those legs took a hike.

The Walking Scissors Phenomenon has scientists and cold case detectives the world over studying data that might shed some light on how scissors grow legs and, more importantly, how to keep them from straying. Rumor has it that beleaguered lab techs from the TSA (Traveling Scissors Agency) are developing a sensing device to be molded into a scissor’s handle – a sensor with the ability to detect molecular irregularities indi-cative of appendage development. A second, GPS-like device molded into one of the finger holes would pinpoint the location of scissors that are AWOL.

A few days ago, I reached into the deep recesses of my own scissors hiding place. Instead of the coveted pair of 8″ blades attached to “hunters orange” colored handles that I sought was a note on which was scribbled, “Got Legs! And these legs are made for walkin’. Bye-Bye!”

Between you and me, that GPS thingy can’t come soon enough.


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