a crafting of practice

by pasdelabas

I was speaking with a group of asylum seekers and refugees this evening.  I had brought along a tin of corned beef but the little thing you use to twist/turn the top off was missing.  An Iranian man, Ali, used a knife to cut the top open.  All the while I was thinking how difficult it would be to explain the scene from Two Men in Boat when they struggle with comic results to open a tin of pineapple chunks when they have no tin opener.  It proves impossible I believe.

Another man, Souley, was laughing at the goings on and Ali asked what a prehistoric person would do faced with such a tin.  Souley misunderstood and said that there were no tins around in prehistoric times.  Ali repeated the problem.  Still in my mind were the two men in a boat attacking the pineapple chunks with a boat oar.

Then Souley said ‘I know how to do it.  You rub it like this [and he rubbed it against the floor fast].  You keep doing this on this end [he indicated the end with the projecting lip], it will come off.  Not this end [indicating the other], it doesn’t work.  We used to do this with milk cans when I was a child.  We’d open them up and make cars and things with them’.

That was a crafting of a practice if ever there was one.

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