“Polite Stabbing, A Manifesto in Common Decency,” by Nick Hilbourn

May 18th, 2011 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

Hello, my name is Nick Hilbourn and I’m a professional English major.  I would like to move away from the humor column format to talk about an important social topic: stabbing.

Common decency does not stop at the dinner table. Even as we speak, people are being stabbed without so much as an ‘excuse me’ or ‘hello, how are you?’ It is the downfall of society when something as small as a simple stab cannot be done without a bit cordiality.

I have been stabbing people since I was nine years old. I’m ashamed to say that when I started, I wasn’t all ‘yes sir’ and ‘yes ma’am.’ I was a rude son of a gun. There would be no introduction. I would simply stab someone; usually a fellow classmate and usually with my mechanical pencil and usually in a place like the arm. Of course, it wasn’t until I had moved up to pocketknives in my teens that I decided being a punk just wasn’t the way to go about stabbing​​​​. It’s with this short biographical note that the reason behind this special column should become clear: I want to speak to a younger generation of stabbers and change their hearts to ones of common humanity toward the people they stab.

Gandhi said that we are the change in the world.  Nowadays, nobody remembers who he is, but he was right. If you want to change how people stab, then you’ve got to change how you stab. It’s the small things that matter. When you think of stabbing someone, usually the questions that come to mind are “Where am I going to stab them?” “Do I want to draw blood or just scare them?” “Should I scream manically as I stab them?” “Should I stab once or multiple times?”

Yet, have you ever asked yourself “I wonder what his/her/its name is?” “I wonder where they’re from?” “I wonder if they’ve ever been stabbed before?”

There’s compassion in stabbing. Gandhi, I believe, said this.  It’s not an abstract concept it can be done and I’ve managed break it down into three short sections. Read them over before stabbing someone. After a while, you’ll find they will have become as natural to your stabbing as the knife itself.


When you first meet the person you want to stab, don’t rush at them. We all want to do it. I know I want to do it every time I stab. Yet, ask yourself “Would I appreciate someone doing this to me?” (For those of you answered “Yes”, please disregard that last sentence and just listen.) Try this for a beginning: approach the person calmly and introduce yourself (you may use a false name since – in some circles – what you’re about to do is considered illegal). Create a positive, peaceful rapport as you seek to learn more about the person you’re about to stab (You can ask questions such as ‘What’s your name?’ or ‘Was this is a great day for you?’, but try to avoid questions such as ‘Do you feel lucky?’ or ‘Do you think I’m the kind of person who would stab someone?’ This could make the person uneasy.) This type of conversation provides a perfect segue to the next section.


Give yourself an opening. A perfect example is if you’re asked, ‘What do you do for a living?’ Calmly pull out your knife and tell the person that you stab people. Now, some may be tempted to run. If they are so rude as to do so, then you’ll just need to stab them right away. After all, you can’t be a saint to everybody. However, most people will stay because they’re intrigued. Here is a sample conversation you will most likely have:

 PERSON: Really? You stab people. That’s interesting.

YOU: Yes. It started as a hobby, but I really liked it.

PERSON: How do you make money from this?

YOU: Usually a donation from the person I stab.

PERSON: Oh, are you going to stab me?

YOU: I’m so glad you asked that question…

This is the proper way to begin a relationship with the person you are about to stab. Just as sex must have spiritual consent to be pure, so also must there be a spiritual connection before stabbing. This provides you a cleaner conscience after you walk away.


Stabbing without sympathy is like having anal sex with someone while they’re checking they’re mailbox. It’s sudden and they have no time to enjoy it. Trust me, they just don’t. So, before beginning your initial (if it’s multiple) or single stab, ask the person if there’s a place they have always wanted to be stabbed. (You could also ask if there’s a place they would like not to be stabbed, but most people are a bit smart-alecky and say ‘Nowhere’). Tell them whether you plan to stab once or many times and where you plan to stick your knife. Once they have understood what’s about to happen, you could also offer to hold they’re hand as you stab them. This extra bit of support is what changes a simple stabbing into an act of sweet surrender. There is a spiritual release when the knife goes in (see if you feel it). You’ll flee the scene knowing you made a difference in someone’s life (and not just stab wounds!).

It’s easy to stab, but it’s hard to stab with kindness, with cordiality. Being polite isn’t about being weak; rather, it’s about an awareness of another human being’s emotions. Stabbing with politeness is the first step to turning the sordid state of society around and replacing if with a bit of common decency.


Nick Hilbourn was born just after the industrial revolution and just before the technological revolution, which makes him a Virgo.  He enjoys writing YouTube comments which mention belt buckles and newly invented colors.  His most recent ventures were a blog about angry people entitled, “That’s ENOUGH Sourpuss” and a pop culture blog entitled, “ERGO.”  He currently lives out of the back of his car.


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