Locked And Sometimes Loaded

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

(This is an encore column from the Curt Comments archives.)

Back in the 1960’s, pop-rock singer Melanie charted a Top 10 song “I’ve Got A Brand New Pair Of Roller Skates (You’ve Got A Brand New Key)”. For you current day roller bladers, way back when, roller skates clamped to your regular street shoes and you needed a skate key to tightened them down good and snug. Thus, if you had a pair of skates and no key you were in a pickle. Or at least you weren’t skating. I hear the song every now and then on one of those oldies stations allowing some of us with gray hair to recall with longing the carefree days of our youth.

I didn’t hear the song, but sure thought of it the other day when I reached in my pocket for the key to the office. I realized: I have too many keys. So many I may have to start a practice my Dad has done for years: carrying his keys on a leather laced ring clipped to his belt. Or maybe do like Captain Kangaroo and get a jumbo size pocket.

Rather than carry all my keys on one key ring (where a loss could really cause major disruption), several years ago I divided up my keys into rarely used keys, vehicle & off-premises keys.

But the more time that goes on the more keys I acquire. On one key ring I have my truck key.

On another ring there’s a key to the family storage barn, key to the office, and several pad lock keys. One is to a friend’s gate to his lane, one is for a special secret fishing hole access, one is to the lock that keeps my jon boat chained where I want it, and one is for a lock I’m not sure what or where. But if I remove the key from my ring I will recall and need it in about a week so I just leave it alone.

There’s a key to Mom’s house. Sometimes I need to get in to bring in the mail and newspapers and it’s just more convenient to carry the key rather than leaving it hidden in some place that I’ll forget.

Now the other key ring is a bit more of a challenge. It’s anchored with a cheap thin pocket knife that probably would cut soft butter provided it doesn’t hit any gristle. But the knife is good for scraping away caked on grease or rust to reveal a part or serial number or as an impromptu screwdriver. But its primary purpose is to get me something to easily grab and yank out of my pocket along with the rest of the keys.

Four keys on this ring are a bit of a stumper.

One is to a toolbox that was sold with a pickup truck I used to have. I guess I could discard that key.

I think one is to one of the doors at the funeral home when Dad owned the place. After 20 years, I guess its probably time to be getting that one to Mark & Leslie Adams one of these days.

There’s a little bitty key I think went to a padlock that I have around here somewhere. Another padlock key goes to the lock that is in the truck. It isn’t locked to anything but you just never know where you’re out in the woods or on the road and may need to padlock something.

And there’s a key to my toolbox in my garage. But I don’t lock it anymore. It cost me too much thunder when I did. Family coming by to borrow tools couldn’t get what they needed. “You afraid someone’s going to come in and take something that’s not their’s,” groused a brother one time.

That was sort of my line of thinking, but ever since then have I’ve left the tool box unlocked. But I lock the garage. And they all have that key on their key rings…if they can remember which one.