The Tools of The Mighty

The Mighty Know How to Use Tools 

We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us.
– Marshall McLuhan

Last weekend Angel and I attended a show at a local comedy club.  During the last skit of the night, the comedian on stage delivered a fairly humorous rant on the age-old dispute of whether the pen is mightier than the sword.  “Some people think too much,” he said as he pulled out an imaginary sword from an imaginary holster.  “If you’re really dumb enough to think the pen is mightier than the sword, go ahead and arm yourself with a pen and I’ll take my chances with this sword… then we’ll see who’s left standing in ten seconds.”

His antics were hilarious, so naturally I chuckled.  All of a sudden, he pointed directly at me in the third row and said, “Hey son, do you think I’m a funny man?  You look like a pen-pushing, desk jockey!  Get out your pen!  Wanna fight?”

I was a bit startled.  This was the first time I’d ever been called out and put on the spot in front of a large audience at a comedy club.  The audience laughed and then silence swept over the auditorium.  Everyone waited for me to either cower in my chair or stand up to the challenge.  I stood up and spotlight shined down on me.

“Actually funny man, yes I do have a pen,” I said, pulling a fountain pen from my jeans pocket and holding it up for all to see.  “However, I don’t intend to physically fight you with this pen.  Instead, I’ll use the pen to sign a fat check that entitles me to a bazooka which I’ll use to blow your funny rear end right off that stage.”

The audience roared.  The comedian groaned and said, “You little punk, I’ll use my sword and my cat-like reflexes to cut you, your check, and that pretty girl next to you in half before you can even blink an eye!”  He looked at Angel who was sitting next to me and gave her a dirty wink.

The audience laughed again.  I smirked and waved my empty hand around in the air noting that the comedian was, in fact, waving an imaginary sword at me.  “I feel quite certain that your sword is incapable of doing any damage to anyone or anything,” I said.

Another short round of laughter escaped from the audience and I sat back down.  The comedian made a few more foolish comments and moved on with the remainder of his routine.  But I don’t really recall anything else he said or did.  I started thinking about the ease with which so many people use rhetoric to mislead and deceive each other.

The Right Tool for the Job

In the hands of a poetic pioneer laying the groundwork for positive change, the pen is mightier than the sword because it can be used to create literary masterpieces capable of motivating an army of fellow citizens to join the revolution.  In the hands of a foot soldier at the forefront of a battlefield, the sword is mightier than the pen because the soldier can use the sword to defend himself from imminent, physical danger.

Different people in different situations require different tools.  Any object can be mightier than another if it is used as a tool in the proper context.  A ply of soft tissue is mightier than a sword when you have a runny noise.  A glass of water and an apple are mightier than a pen when what’s needed is hydration and nourishment.

“The mighty,” I believe, are those people who know when to use the sword, and when to use the tissue.  They drink water when they’re thirsty and eat apples when they’re hungry.  They use a pen and paper (or a computer) when then want to inspire others.  And, I suppose, they invoke powerful, imaginary bazookas when they get called out and put on the spot in comedy clubs.

Photo by: Shoothead

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  1. says

    Marc, that was AWESOME! Both the post itself and the story of your comedy club experience. I love the bazooka. Good for you! :-)

    There’s no doubt about it…it’s not what we use, necessarily, but when to use what! Thanks for sharing, Eric.

  2. marci says

    And one of the mightiest pens I can think of would be the pen that writes the treaty that settles a conflict or ends a war :)

  3. harmzie says

    I have to say that I’ve allowed myself to become marginally annoyed by the (albeit relatively infrequent) pleas for “stumble assistance”. But I decided to give you another shot & it paid off!

    This is a totally awesome post. You get a “thumbs up/’I like it'” from me! Thank you.

  4. says

    Great story Marc and you clearly did a fine job of adding to the comedy for the night!

    The whole notion of content for a tool is definitely what makes someone mighty. Time for words, time for writing and time for weapons. They each have their place (hopefully not the weapons too often!).

  5. says

    Hi Marc,

    I love your story in the comedy club. I believe that there is no best tool in the world, only tools that will best complement the situation. Great article.

    Personal Development Blogger

  6. says

    Another great article. Another thing is to consider is that you not only need to know when to use what tool, you also need to know how to use it in a efficient way.

    If you don’t know how to use something you might do more damage than good.

  7. says

    Indeed – so many people use rhetoric to mislead and deceive is for us to realize what tools WE can use to make the kind of difference WE want to make – the tool is just an enabler, the journey and end result are what matter. Great article!

  8. Karthick says

    This was a good read, but the title doesn’t justify the content. You write “how to be mighty” but end with a conclusion saying “mighty are those that know when to use what..”, I think you need to elaborate on it a bit more :).

    Good read though. I enjoyed your stepping it up to that comedian.

  9. says

    @All: Thanks for the kind words and added insight.

    @Karthick: Thanks for the suggestion and the honest feedback. I did keep it short and sweet. Maybe I’ll elaborate a bit more on an upcoming post. 😉

  10. says

    Hi Marc, thanks for sharing your experience in the comedy show.

    The theory/tools is quite simple frankly. Anything can be useful if we use it in the right place or in the right time, even garbage. Garbage can be processed into energy at a particular place.
    That’s why you call it the mighty stuff. Great work.

  11. says

    This article is itself a great example of using the right tool effectively.
    Swords have their place but you certainly couldn’t use even an imaginary one to force anyone to subscribe to your you RSS feed for example, but this article certainly has.


  12. says

    Good points. I guess the question of ‘pen or sword’ is the wrong question. Those that live solely by the sword tend to create a bit too much trouble. Those that live entirely by pen probably get stomped too often. A balance of both would be more ideal.

    “In the hands of a foot soldier at the forefront of a battlefield, the sword is mightier than the pen because the soldier can use the sword to defend himself from imminent, physical danger.” -A clever man with a pen might have avoided the war altogether. But nice to have a sword just in case.

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