Sheldon lives in fear of non-standard cutlery
              – Leonard on The Big Bang Theory

Apparently my interest of today is cutlery.  I’m writing this post in a location with no Internet so this is all based upon hearsay and supposition.  I imagine that there was a time when the evolution of cutlery where people approached it much as I approach razors.

The first real piece of cutlery was most likely a stick.  Possibly a rock, but for the purposes of this discussion, stick works significantly better.  Your basic stick is single-tined and is pretty much adequate for spearing of food.  Even today the humble stick lives on in the form of marshmallow sticks, hotdog sticks and in a heavily modified form, the knife.  Typically it is frowned upon to use one’s knife as a spearing tool while eating so it doesn’t really count.

At some point, people realized that it would be more useful to have two tines on their stick.  One tine lifts the food and the other rips off a Mitch Hedberg joke about guillotines.  Really, a second tine was pretty useful, particularly when it came to toasting proto-hotdogs over Ugh the Caveman’s cave fire.  Hotdogs have an unfortunate tendency to spin and fall off single tines.  The introduction of the second tine led to significantly easier times with tube-shaped foods.

Sometime in the Roman or Greek times, people came up with the idea of Poseidon, the god of the sea and the celebrity representative for the triply-tined fork or alternately, the titular threek.  The third tine was added from pure swank.  Two was basically the height of fork design (two-k, I suppose) and everything beyond that was pretty much redundant (this is where the razor parallel begins to come clear).  The threek survived for over 1500 years until the French Revolution.

Marie Antoinette’s famous cake-related quote has been shortened by time.  It was originally ‘let them eat cake with threeks’ and that enraged the populace.  The aristocracy had long been eating their cake with the newly devised and terribly decadent fourk (or fork, as it has come to be known due to the long-term corruption of language).  Following the overthrow of the upper class, the common people adopted the fork as one of the symbols of their rebellion and thus it has remained to this day.

I have an ugly feeling that at some point in my lifetime, we’ll see a move toward the five-tined fork.  I imagine it will be called Fork Extreme or Five-k Ultra or some stupid thing like that.  I’m on the phone with Gillette right now settling the trademark issues.

it’ll be great, just wait