"I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three."
- Elayne Boosler
You know I'm a practical guy. And practical guy that I am, I've got keys stashed everywhere.
You never know when you might get locked out. And because I hate never knowing, I've got spare sets to my car and house hidden at work, put aside at my parents' house and squirreled away with friends.
But there's a little problem when you've got so many keys hanging about: After a few years, you begin to forget what they unlock. For instance, I was throwing out junk on my tool bench Saturday and came across three sturdy keys on three little key chains looped over a hook on the pegboard.
"What did they open?" I asked myself.
(Myself didn't know.)
One looked like the house key, but it wasn't. Another looked like the old office key at work, but we pretty much got rid of those locks a decade ago and went to the ID-card swipe.
The third looked vaguely like the key to my parents' house, but it would take several hours to check that out.
Maybe, I thought, it might be the key to any of several apartments I rented around Augusta over the years. The old apartment key theory always intrigues me because I've often toyed with the idea of going to places I used to live and seeing whether management changed the locks.
My wife (who is also sort of practical) points out that this is a good way to get oneself shot, and discourages such curious initiative. Not only would it result in the aggravation of insurance paperwork, she says, but the dog would miss me. (She's not only practical, but sentimental, too.)
Anyway, I took the three keys inside and threw them into the back of a desk drawer. They clanked because they hit other keys, which had been similarly retired from key ring duty.
There were keys to every car I ever owned. There were keys to past houses and relatives' houses and neighbors' houses and ex-neighbors' houses.
There were also two combination locks, which were not locking up anything, a good thing because I have no idea what the combinations are.
I guess I could throw all these keys away, but that somehow seems like a security risk, doesn't it?
And let me tell you, a practical guy - who stashes spare keys everywhere - will rarely take a risk.
(But when he does, he finds out that management usually changes the locks.)
Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.