Lee Pitts: Open Saysme
June 12, 2011
I’m not good with keys. Never have been. On my second date with the wonderful women who is now my wife I locked my keys in my El Camino. (For you youngsters that’s a car/truck combo that performed neither function admirably.) Because it wasn’t the first time I’d done this I was able to break into my car before she had time to realize what a klutz I was. Just the opposite, she was so impressed with my skills that she soon agreed to marry me figuring, I suppose, that we’d never starve to death or lack for a fancy set of wheels because I could always steal cars for a living.
When I leased a ranch that had locks on all the gates I always carried with me what farm and ranch realtors call an “Open Saysme” key, which, to the untrained eye looks exactly like a pair of bolt cutters. But bolt cutters are hard to carry on a horse and a ring of keys in your jeans will rub you’re leg raw. I could have put all the keys on a chain that pulls in and out, but I didn’t want to look like a janitor or a biker, so I replaced all the keyed gate locks with combination ones. Alas, I could no more remember the combination than I could the second stanza of the Star Spangled Banner.
My awkwardness with keys is because we never had anything worth stealing when I was young so we never locked our house or our car. I still know a lot of folks, mostly in the Midwest, who never lock their houses. I don’t even know if they could find their house keys if they had to. It’s like the restaurant chain years ago who was always open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Then one day the bosses decided to close on Christmas and it cost them tens of thousands of dollars to re-key the locks on hundreds of their restaurants because they couldn’t find the original keys.
I have solved my key problem in some rather unique ways. One time when I locked our keys in the house I had the neighbor boy crawl through the doggie door, but when he had a growth spurt in the third grade I had to resort to hiding an extra house key in a flower pot by the front door. (Note to crooks. It’s not there anymore. Really.)
I’m sure all of you know the best places to hide keys in a truck or car. Under the floor mat, on top the visor and in the ash tray are popular, and I’m sure are the first places the crooks look. It might be safer just to leave the keys in the ignition where the thieves might not look.
If you are going to lock your doors this means you are going to have to hide a key on the exterior. I once taped a key to the back of my rear license plate but when I needed it I found I didn’t have a screwdriver to take off the rear plate. I could have used a quarter as a screwdriver but where are you going to find one of those in these distressed times?
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Speaking of keys, a friend of mine who didn’t want to pay the $12 a day parking at the airport, told his hired hand to bring a friend to retrieve his truck from short-term parking on the day he departed on a vacation. He left his keys on top of the left rear tire and told his cowboy to do the same when he brought back the truck two weeks later.
My buddy got in around midnight and looked everywhere for his truck but it was nowhere to be found. Finally he called his hired hand and asked him to retrieve him from the airport. Later they found out that a prankster had seen the hired hand leave the keys on the back tire and as a joke he moved the truck into a red zone. Naturally, it was hauled away to an impound yard. Dumb guy… he should have put the keys on the truck tire before he went to town so the prankster wouldn’t have seen him do it.