Friday, November 9, 2012


Now that the big operatic dramas are done—the Giant’s World Series, Barack’s stunning victory and my re-commitment to eating oatmeal every morning, I’m free to pay attention to the interesting things in life. Like keys.

At the end of my recent men’s group meeting, where the sixth of nine men announced his retirement, he summarized his life change thus: “I’m down to two keys.” And then all the men reached in their pocket and dangled their tangible connection to the workaday world, measured in the number of keys. Now there’s an interesting point of view!

What’s on my ring? Two house keys, four school keys (three of which are obsolete), one car key, one bike key. So basically I have Five-Key Status and if I retired, it would only go down one notch.

At any rate, my mind free from election anxiety and such, I started to think about keys. How I feel funny if I don’t have some in my left pants pocket. How unsatisfying the flat cards of hotels feel or the keypad release is and how I miss the satisfaction of the entrance, the turn, the click. How I like the sound of the jingle. How I hate it when they don’t work and curse the invention of locks. How the key is invested with power and access and the sense of being in charge and trusted, a member of the inner circle who can enter closed spaces or keep others out. How education is giving children keys to understanding, unlocking the experiences and concepts that open worlds. How there are key ideas, key players and 12 musical keys as well. Then there are the songs, like Paper of Pins’ “I’ll give to you the keys to my heart…”, the game “Who has the penny, who has the key…?, the funny chant using key adjectives—“big key, small key, etc,” ending with “monkey.” I thought of Key West in the Florida Keys, key lime pie, my friend who works at The Key School, the children’s call from the Lassie TV Show “Key a-key!!!” and the kid who went to my school nicknamed Kiki.

Okay, I got way too much time on my hands. Is there another election coming up soon?

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