I was speaking with a group of asylum seekers and refugees this evening. I had brought along a tin of corned beef but the little thing you use to twist/turn the top off was missing. An Iranian man, Ali, used a knife to cut the top open. All the while I was thinking how difficult it would be to explain the scene from Two Men in Boat when they struggle with comic results to open a tin of pineapple chunks when they have no tin opener. It proves impossible I believe.
Another man, Souley, was laughing at the goings on and Ali asked what a prehistoric person would do faced with such a tin. Souley misunderstood and said that there were no tins around in prehistoric times. Ali repeated the problem. Still in my mind were the two men in a boat attacking the pineapple chunks with a boat oar.
Then Souley said ‘I know how to do it. You rub it like this [and he rubbed it against the floor fast]. You keep doing this on this end [he indicated the end with the projecting lip], it will come off. Not this end [indicating the other], it doesn’t work. We used to do this with milk cans when I was a child. We’d open them up and make cars and things with them’.
That was a crafting of a practice if ever there was one.