John-Paul Flintoff

Flendid things, sporks

Cutlery for the modern age

To judge by its strange name, you might think a spork was a form of alien life. In fact it’s an eating utensil, a combination of spoon and fork consisting of a bowl to hold liquids, and prongs for spearing solids. The spork is also a perfect metaphor for modern life, because it tries to be two things at once and fails to pull off either role successfully – it’s too shallow for soup, too flimsy for meat.

Some people, faced with a spork, may be inclined to scoff – that is, laugh derisively – but not me. In the age of the geek, nobody with self-respect should ever leave home without a spork tucked into whichever pocket does not already contain a mobile phone, MP3 player or Palm Pilot.

A web site for enthusiasts, www.spork.org, proposes several uses for sporks which do not involve food. “Instead of roses, give your girlfriend sporks in new and interesting ways.” Or, “Plant them in your lawn to scare away burglars.” One of the world’s largest sporks, it reveals, is a 25ft model located at Kansas State University, in front of the Chemistry building. And in a section on “Sporks which aren’t sporks”, spork.org specifies a particular Canadian brand of luncheon meat, a quartet of indifferently successful rock groups, and a Danish citizen, Maz Henrik Spork.

As well as the spork, there is the foon. This is created by turning inside-out any spork which should happen to be manufactured of sufficiently flexible plastics. With a foon, whole new worlds of enjoyment will open up for you.

263 words. © FT Magazine

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