The beloved knife hand is as much of a staple of military culture as fighting, drinking and getting married prematurely.
Ever scroll through photos of drill instructors screaming at recruits? You’re likely to come across a bevy of bladed palms. Going to sit through one of those everlasting commanding officer-led weekend safety briefs? Prepare to fall victim to a slew of knife hands while learning about drunk driving, drugs and sexual promiscuity. Hell, even survivors of Pearl Harbor can find themselves on the receiving end of the military’s deadliest weapon.
But despite the well-documented authoritative stance the U.S. military has taken when it comes to the art of the pointed hand, a recently discovered skeleton puts it all to utter shame.
Italian archaeologists unearthed a Medieval warrior recently in northern Italy and discussed their findings in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences.
The exhumed gentleman — let’s call him “Bob” — was buried in a cemetery that dates back to the 6th-8th centuries AD, and was estimated to have been between 40 and 50 when he perished — likely from whooping cough or something ridiculous.
One of the first things the researchers noticed about Bob is that he had suffered a blunt force amputation of his right forearm. While there could have been a number of causes as to why Bob lost his arm, there’s a good chance, given his place among the “warrior-specific culture of the Longobard people,” that Bob suffered the “loss due to fighting,” the report said.
But ole’ Bob was not one to be discouraged by a setback.
Not only did he go on to survive the injury with no antibiotics — because none existed — during a time period when people could seemingly die from a sneeze, but he even fashioned himself a handy-dandy prosthesis to ensure his mega-warrior lifestyle wouldn’t suffer.
We salute you, Bob.
Imagine being able to one-up Crocodile Dundee in a “That’s not a knife — That’s a knife” competition.
Or showing up to a family picnic like this:
The findings of these archaeologists have put us, a proud culture boasting of what we presumed to be an interminable knife hand résumé, in our place.
Enjoy a slice of humble pie, lest we for a moment believe we could actually stack up against the one we call “Bob.”
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.