You are on vacation, and you have bought, packed or maybe snuck past security a couple of bottles of your favorite wine. But the man at the metal detector confiscated your corkscrew, because everyone knows that corkscrews can be used to easily hijack an airplane, train, cruise ship or bus.
So now what do you do? Well, if you are near the right kind of store, you're fine. Just pop over and lay out four bucks for a crappy bottle opener, and you're set.
But what if you are on a ship in the middle of the ocean? What if it's late, and the store is closed? What if it's early, and the store isn't open yet? Now what do you do?
Forget about pushing the cork into the bottle. It's a pain to pour; you can't recork it; and you'll be straining bits of cork through your teeth as you drink. Forget about jamming a knife into the cork. You'll probably cut yourself, but even if you don't, it'll probably just get pushed into the bottle, with even more cork bits than if you'd pushed the cork in to begin with.
What you need is a butterknife, a fork and a screw. If you are on land, you can find screws almost anywhere. If you are on a cruise ship, use the knife to unscrew something in your room or in some remote area of the ship.
Give yourself a little start by placing the screw atop the bottle and hitting it with a heel or a rock, or by banging it once against the wall or the door.
Next, with the knife (if you have a screwdriver, that's even better, but in a pinch, the knife will do), twist the screw into the cork three or four times. Now the screw is in far enough to pull. That's where the fork comes in.
Use the fork to grip the screw, pressing the screw as far back between the prongs as it will go. Now grip and pull.
It takes a firm, steady pull, but you don't need the strength of a bull to do it.
In fact, it's easier than some of the corkscrews they sell at the store. Unless, of course, you are working on your fourth cork of the evening.