As I burnish Firefly’s shapely ankles, it occurs to me that a large proportion of human creativity has been spent not just making weaponry, but also polishing it.  That is to say, we like our implements of death to be beautiful.  The roots of this tendency can be traced right back to prehistoric times when our ancestors from the late Paleolithic took pains to smooth and shape their spear and axe heads to a degree far in excess of what was needed to make them functional tools.  It may be fair to say that the 20th century ameliorated this tendency with the rise of  cheaply fabricated devices like the Sten gun or AK-47.  Walnut and blued steel gave way to the ruthless efficiency of stamped metal and injection molded plastic.

Modern trends aside however,   it still runs deep in Homo Sapiens to polish and revere the tools they use to take life.  The beautification of weaponry is an ancient and largely universal tendency.  Perhaps it incurred a tactical advantage by causing  enemies to back down in a fight;  just  a testosterone fueled need to dominate through a bit of flash.   After-all, what self respecting warrior would want a beauty “gap” on the field of blood?

This matched set of duelling pistols is by the renowned 19th century English gunsmith, Joseph Manton.   No picture can fully communicate the level of fit and finish and mechanical perfection that he achieved.

These are some of the things I think about as I purchase sandpaper by the ream.   Is it simple market forces propelling this obsession in our species, or is it just those polish, polish, polish genes acting out?   Being weapons gay is such a drag when your fingers start bleeding.

The Rebecca just blew a big raspberry over all this by suggesting that smoothing and polishing helps prevent rust.   Ever a pragmatic champion for polishing the silverware,  I am defeated by her eloquence and industry.    Polishing resumes.

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