Tools imply the kind of world that needs fixing—after all, what good is a screwdriver if there are no screws?—and so you can read the Leatherman as a text of our times. It’s a tool you would expect to arise when unprecedented mobility takes people far from their toolboxes and home workshops. When I think about Tim Leatherman’s nine-month, 20-country trip in the finicky Fiat, when he invented the multitool, I’m astonished by the audacity of it. Was there ever a time when Americans roamed the Earth with such impunity? To think that all he required was a better set of pliers.

The Leatherman also suggests a kind of Archimedes-like hubris: Give me a Leatherman and a place to stand, and I’ll move the world.

more from West Magazine here.