At long last, and in time for the Christmas market, I can announce, exclusively, an upgrade to that popular and essential multifunctional tool, the Swiss Army Waiters’ Friend, (SAWF – AKA Waiters’ Knife).
This is a major step forward in the evolution of the simple corkscrew and blade we know so well. Previously famous only for chocolate, cuckoo clocks, yodelling, holey cheese and secret bank accounts, the ingenious Swiss have come up with a new twist on the historic gadget that is sure to rival the Swatch in sales volume.
Designed by a committee comprising one Swiss watchmaker, two Masters of Wine, and a drunk chosen at random from a local wine bar, the Swiss Army Waiters’ Friend provides a number of traditional functions along with a wealth of breathtaking innovations. All made possible by recent advances in the fields of nano-technology and artificial intelligence.
I will list just a few of this indispensable tool’s major features.
New: a round grippy thing for loosening screwcaps on wine bottles, also serves as a tourniquet. A blade that doubles as an Android/iPad compatible micro SD card for handy data storage. A toothpick that also serves as a GPS.
A breathalyser. Tongs for the removal of recalcitrant champagne corks. A tastevin. A bottle top remover. A glass cutter for turning empty beer bottles into decorative vases. A blade modelled on the Bowie Knife. This, as well as being useful for removing bottle capsules and self-defence, has engraved upon it in tiny script: a vintage chart, a number of food with wine suggestions and useful conversational wine terms such as, “peaches, melons, figs, mercaptan” etc.
There is a magnifying glass/microscope for reading information engraved on the blade, and what’s more, this glass can be manipulated when hungry (in a somewhat cumbersome way) to char-grill a steak using the sun’s rays. In a similar fashion it will serve admirably to warm a glass of post-luncheon Cognac.
Cunningly hidden is a small compartment in which to write your name and address in case you have drunk so much that you forget who you are and where you live. Also, for the tired and emotional, there is a minuscule air bag that will inflate explosively should the owner fall over, thus saving him or her from injury and humiliation. The airbag also works as a pillow for a boozy snooze as well as an instant life raft if, when less than sober, one stumbles into the river whilst meandering home.
For the hungover there is a cleverly incorporated phial containing capsules of vitamin B, aspirin and Alka Seltzer. And if good health is a concern one can quickly self-test for cirrhosis using the SAWF medically approved hollow surgical steel needle to sample cells via a blind liver biopsy. Surviving brain cells are similarly accessible.
(Being hollow, the needle doubles as a straw. This can be handy when taken thirsty on a long trip with no gritty anodised aluminium cups in the glove box and a flagon of cheap port in the car trunk saying, “Drink me.”)
Scientifically inclined users can utilise the SAWF’s wee gas spectrometer attachment for immediate study of the biopsied cells and, obviously, it will also be frequently employed to examine the constituents of a suspect wine before calling on the sommelier for another bottle.
Least but not last is the thingy for removing stones from horses’ hooves when riding to hounds at your friendly vigneron’s country estate.
The ultimate feature of the SAWF is the patented Crick-Watson double-helix corkscrew. As well as being a most efficient cork extractor this is quite useful for illustrating the wonders of recombinant DNA when, as sometime happens, one is called upon unexpectedly to deliver an important scientific lecture.
Walmart will shortly be advertising the SAWF at the astonishingly low price of $3.95, plus post and packing of $79.95. Or customers can choose to pay in four equal monthly instalments of $59.95. This imaginative doodad which, while more than a knife, is, admittedly, less than a butler, is a bargain whichever way you look at it, and one should be in every winelover’s Christmas stocking this season.