“I think that I shall never see, a Fork as lovely as a tree,
But a Fork shines bright as you will see, it’s a jewel in a case of cutlery;
So today, let us dwell on the Fork’s ancient treasures,
It’s wisdom, it’s courage, it’s rare simple pleasures.”
Today’s modern world is a busy place. We rush here and there. We are bombarded with technology. We never have time to think about the things that really matter.
Maybe it’s time to change all that.
Maybe it’s time to spend some time thinking about the Fork.
Let’s talk about Fork
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “It’s just cutlery, Cora! It’s just an easy-peasy way to pick up garden peas. Forks haven’t given us anything. They haven’t contributed to humanity in any great way.”
But you could not be more wrong! The research that I have carried has convinced me that the Fork is a work of prolific genius. I have decided to use 4-pronged approach to examine my argument.
So what’s it all about?
Well, let’s start at the beginning – the origins. The work “Fork” comes from the latin word “furca”, meaning “pitchfork”. The Fork as we know it today generally has four prongs or “tines” but early editions had fewer tines. Once upon a tine, Forks were thought to be an insult to God because it was felt that humans were given natural forks and so we shouldn’t be trying to improve on His creation. Nonetheless, by the early 19th Century, the 4-tine fork was fairly standard throughout the western world.
It even started to make some inroads into the East, where it ran into direct and strong competition from that wily minx, the chopsticks.
The Fork exerts its will in Asia.
At this point, I’d like to consider the obvious contributions that the Fork has made to culture and civilisation as we know it.
It has revolutionised mealtimes! Tables would be a far sloppier place without the Fork – as anyone who has tried to eat sticky toffee pudding with a God-given Fork will tell you. Through the centuries, the Fork virtually create the world of etiquette. Slowly but surely, with a will or iron – or sometimes stainless steel – the Fork gradually established its prominence in the world of cutlery. As court banquets grew in grandeur and courses, there was always a need for another Fork. Knives and spoons simply couldn’t compete and they dropped out of the race to watch as hapless hopefuls ruined themselves in the eyes of society by using the wrong fork for the wrong dish.
Not for nothing did Oscar Wilde remark:-
“The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”
For the want of a Fork, his oyster was lost.
The Fork has diversified! It’s seen the writing on the wall. It knows that it must grow and adapt if it is to survive the shallowness of the human race. But the Fork is not an implement prepared to rest on its laurels.
As a pitchfork, it has led revolutions from France to Finglas!
As a garden trowel, it’s slaved through soil as varied as the flower bed that won Killarney last year’s Tidy Towns prize and the Hanging Baskets of Babylon.
As a toasting fork, it’s stretched itself out at a thousand campfires, contemplating the stars and it’s destiny.
And when the Great Master Beethoven was having his difficulties, it was there as a tuning fork to try and find him four last notes.
With all of these tines to its stalk, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Fork has no difficulties. Alas, you would be wrong! Today the Fork faces greater challenges than ever before. For the Fork is slowly being air-brushed out of the scenes of its greatest triumphs. Do not be tricked! The Fork is not merely an eating utensil! It is a symbol of everything we have achieve as a race. Luckily, I have trawled through the records so that I can set them straight.
* When King Arthur approached the Stone of Destiny, it was no sword that he drew out – no! Instead, a Fork was brandished in the air!
* When Harry Potter faced off to Voldy, that grim creature ran in despair from the four prongs of a Fork.
* I could not begin to recount the number of leaders who have survived assassination attempts because they bent to pick up a Fork at exactly the right moment.
* “Let them eat cake!” cried Marie Antoinette, little realising that she could have avoided her gruesome fate if she had just offered a nice dessert Fork as well.
Was this where she went wrong??
So what of the Fork’s future? It is not a creature who merely strives through the physical difficulties of life. On the contrary, it is a deeply spiritual, philosophical being who carefully considers its future role. In my research, I have uncovered wall paintings in the ancient temple of the Dalai Lama, showing students enjoying some dessert following some intellectual discourse with the Great Man.
This calm and reflective nature of the Fork has of course given rise to the phrase “A Fork in the road.” I felt that Jim Henson was really the first to get in touch with this side of the Fork’s personality when Kermit and Fozzie met a Fork in the road but chose to keep Moving Right Along in the Muppet Movie:-
Perhaps that’s what we should all take from the Fork – a four-pronged approach to keep us Moving Right Along, ever-calm, ever-secure in the knowledge that there’s always a Fork around when you need it.
Or, in the words of Yogi Berra, “When you come to a Fork in the road, take it.”