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Knucklehead, definition of

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Other than being a word I use a lot, exactly what is a knucklehead? Let me give you a good example.

If I had to guess the etymology of the word, it probably has to do with the mental state caused when someone is hit in the head with a fist: Knuckles hit head, stupidity results. Years of intense study of the Three Stooges would seem to bear this out. Knuckles (usually Moe’s) frequently hit heads (Larry’s, Curly’s or both, usually simultaneously). Stupidity – if not already present – flowered gloriously. If that’s not clear enough evidence, the word itself was used repeatedly in every Stooge film to underscore the message.

But perhaps the best way to define the term is with this True Story that occurred in Real Life.

I happen to like those Irwin Quick-Grip clamps a lot, although the current blue ones aren’t as good as the original black ones. I especially like the 12" and 6" Quick-Grips, which account for about 75 percent of the clamp use in my shop. A two-pack of the 12" clamps is regularly priced pretty much everywhere at $29.95; the 6" ones are $19.95 a pair, again, pretty much everywhere. I noted in the Big Box store flier in yesterday's paper that they had a bargain pack of Quick-Grip clamps that included a pair of 12"-ers, a pair of 6"-ers, a pair of spring clamps and a pair of ratchet clamps. Price was $24.95 for all eight clamps, a deal I simply couldn't pass up. 

On the hook right below this $24.95 bargain was a hook with a bunch of two-packs of the 12" clamps at the regular $29.95 per pair. And – I swear I’m not making this up – as I'm grabbing the bargain pack, another guy selects a two-pack of the 12" clamps. I pointed out to him that the bargain pack I had was 5 bucks cheaper and included both of the clamps he was getting. His response? "Yeah, but I don't need those other clamps, so why pay for what I won't use?"

I thought he was joking and that he’d grab the bargain pack once I’d pointed it out, but he just headed for the checkout before I could reason with him. The guy in an orange apron who happened to be in that department and overheard the whole thing just looked at me, turned to the guy walking to the checkout, and back to me again, mouth agape.

Knucklehead: It’s a good word. Use it often.

Till next time,


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