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Why We Chip Flint

By Bob Berg


The following is a proposal for protocol and etiquette for drinking beer while knapping: When ever you drink beer and knap make sure that you have plenty of beer and Band-Aids. Flintstone Band-Aids are the best but duct tape will do. Always keep your beer close to you and cold. Coolers should be placed near the edge of the circle with at least a corner of it on the tarp. Never place it in the center of the circle on account of the risk of head injuries. If your from Texas bring Texas beer and if you are from New York bring New York beer. If you are from Pittsburgh don't bring beer. If you have more than one cooler place them at roughly equal intervals around the tarp. It's bad luck to have to stand up to get a beer. Knapping points out of the bottom of beer bottles is OK but it is better to drink the beer out of it first. If you are drinking someone else's beer it is obligatory to say "mmm that's good beer" at least once during the knapping session, unless the beer came from Pittsburgh. Beer bottles should not be considered debitage in states where there is a deposit on the bottle unless part of it is now an arrowhead. If someone is chugging don't ask some stupid question like "How many pancakes does it take to shingle the roof of a dog house?" or beer might come out of his nose. [however if that person has a sinus headache it's OK.] Never give more than 12 beers to a fellow who is going to his first Ooga Booga. He won't be able to see the Chief. And finally the guy who takes the last beer has to ask his spouse to go and get more.

RULES: Take the chips out of your shoes before walking upstairs to get a beer. Use caution when using flint chips for sling shot ammo. They don't fly straight. Always use a clean chip when you cut splinters out of your fingers. When spalling anything larger than a grapefruit, do it on the ground. Always wear gloves and boots in the garden after you have roto-tilled your debitage into the soil. Don't lick flint. If you drop your bubblegum in the debitage don't let the dog in the garage.

I've been working on a theory that neither has been proved nor disproved regarding the effects of flintkapping on the human body. It's based solely on observation and experience. Silica dust is inhaled by flintknappers regardless of the precautions that we take. Very small particles of silica go into the lungs and are actually absorbed into the bloodstream in the form of silica hydroxide ions. These ions have an affinity for each other and seritonin molecules which tend to form small crystals in the synapses of the brain and ganglia. Some of the crystals form in the pleasure center of the brain as well as other places of the brain. The other phenomenon that relates to this theory is that each time you knap flint there is result and electromagnetic energy that radiates from the fracture plane as the outer valence rings of the silica molecules drop into a lower energy level. It turns out that the frequency of this radiation is exactly the same as them icro crystals that form in the brain. Every time you fracture flint in the vicinity of a person with this disorder, that person experiences a short lived high created by a release of seritonin. The closer you are to the source of the electromagnetic energy the greater the reaction, which explains our addiction to flintkapping and the fact that flintknppers will spend their last dollar on long trips to knap-ins to buy rocks and get near other people breaking silica bearing rock in circles. Have you ever noticed when a flintknapper takes off a nice flake there is a kind of a snap that goes through you to the bone, and all the knappers in the circle will say something like "--OO00oo…- that was a good one"?