The Keys To Happiness

A few days ago, I was in the kitchen and I happened to look up at the really cute key holder on the wall that I’d made out of an old breadboard and antique keys to hold not-antique keys. My brow furrowed. “Ken!” I called. “Did you put all those keys on that lanyard and hang it on the key holder?”

Ken (yells back): Yes
Me: Well, what are they all for?
Ken: I don’t know.
Me: If you don’t know what they’re for, why did you put them all on the lanyard? Where did they all come from?
Ken: They were all just hanging on different hooks on the key board so I put them together.
Me: But you don’t know what they’re for.
Ken: Correct.
Me: So if you don’t know what they’re for, and we don’t use them, why didn’t you just throw them away?! What are you, some kind of key hoarder?
Ken: I am NOT a hoarder. They’re just nice keys and you never know when you might need one.

This is me holding the lanyard up to Ken and demanding to know what they’re for. In the picture, I have transformed into an angry elderly man and the lanyard is a two-dollar macrame plant holder, which is just about as useful as a multitude of mysterious keys.

There were 18 keys. We have 4 doors that require keys, so you’d think at least one of them would have fit at least one of the doors. You would, however, be incorrect. I took the systematic approach, and by that I mean at first, I carried all the keys around and tried them in the doors, but there were so many keys and doors that I lost track and couldn’t remember which ones I’d experimented with. So I took them all off the lanyard and lay them out on the counter in a straight line. Then Kate came in and identified three that were for the lab at her former university, which left 15 keys. I tried each key in each door and you know what happened? Again, none of them fit any door in our house.

Me: This is f*cking bullsh*t.
Ken: You sound like that guy at the brewery the other day.

And here’s a fun tangent. The other day, Ken and I went on a roadtrip to our antiques booth, and on the way back, we decided to stop for lunch at a local brewery that had outside seating. There was a foursome at the next picnic table, and we couldn’t help but overhear their conversation, which was an absolute cornucopia of epithets (and for the purpose of this conversation, I will be transcribing the swearing verbatim so there will be no asterisks):

Sweary Dude: If you fucking go to Scotland, they don’t fucking say ‘yes’ there. They say fucking ‘aye’.
Woman: Really?
SD: Fucking right. So you better be fucking prepared because they say ‘aye’ a fucking lot. And I was fucking talking to Pete the other day, that fucking German guy…

So Ken and I discussed the use of the word f*ck and what parts of speech it could be substituted for: noun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition…

Ken: Can you use it as a pronoun?
Me: Only if you say f*cker. Like ‘F*cker ordered another beer.’ It can also be used as an interjection. Do you remember Schoolhouse Rocks?

And that led us down a rabbit hole of 1970s animated linguistic cartoons, culminating in Ken’s favourite, Mr. Morton, which is about predicates: “Mr. Morton talked to his cat (‘Hey Cat, you look good’), Mr. Morton talked.” Because Mr. Morton is the subject of the sentence, and what the predicate says, he does. At the end of the song, Mr. Morton gets the girl, Pearl, and they get married. It’s very sweet, and there is not a single use of the word f*ck in the entire cartoon, as one would hope.

Hey Cat, you look good.

At any rate, I myself was quite sweary after putting 15 keys into 4 separate locks and discovering that none of them opened any door in my house.

Ken: Maybe they were for other locks, like ones we’ve replaced.
Me: We’ve lived here for 16 years. We’ve replaced the locks on ALL the doors. Why do we have 16-year old keys??!!
Ken: We could make a craft with them.
Me: Or we could throw them away. The last craft we made with keys is still sitting in our antiques booth because no one wants NEW KEYS.

So I threw them all away. But you just know that next week, we’re going to find a padlock or something that we hadn’t even thought of, and now we won’t have a key for it, or one of you will be like “Here’s a cool thing you can do with new keys” but now they’re gone. F*ck! That’s an interjection.

63 thoughts on “The Keys To Happiness

  1. I have a quart-sized ziploc bag full of keys that used to fit the door locks on an apartment building in New York City; the house where I grew up, which was left to me in my fathers will. I don’t know why I kept them, as the locks have changed several times over the years, and they are pretty much useless to me at this point. But still, I hold on to them for seemingly no reason whatsoever.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a hoarder in general, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I still have just about every key that’s ever been on my key ring. For a while, my key ring had more keys on it that I no longer used than keys I did. Had someone lifted my keys at that time to steal my car, they’d have had a heck of a time figuring out which of all the old car keys went to the car I currently drove. Now I think the only obsolete key still on my key ring is to my old bowling locker I inherited from my step-grandpa when he died, and got to use for about 6 months before the alley closed down. That was in 2012… aye fucking kid you not!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My old keys are similarly kept, in a ‘just in case’ box in a drawer – along with the all the old leads that I used to connect stuff, with interfaces that now haven’t been used on any new tech since about 1998.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So I just did an online search for “Key Crafts”, and the results have changed my life. I’m serious! I had NO IDEA of all the fab things you could do with unwanted keys. One person made a SEAHORSE out of old keys. Man, I’ve been living under a rock.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Look at it this way: every key you own is a responsibility. So, in a way, it’s the absence of keys that is the key to happiness.

    I use the word “aye” all the time. Some deep part of me must want to live in Britain.

    Does a shallow heritage lessen our understanding of our own humanity? If you knew you were linked, by blood, back hundreds or thousands of years to the land beneath your feet, would that change you? Does a pilgrim suffer for the lack?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aye, I would think so. I was born in Canada yet I’ve never felt more at home than in Scotland, England, and Wales–it’s something in the blood. At my retirement party, the agency surprised me by having a pipe band pipe in my honour–it was incredible. I’ve always loved the bagpipes–must be my heritage:-)


  6. We’ve always kept a key bowl for keys we don’t use everyday. After 20 or so years, we know they open something but have no idea what. Or we know they open things we don’t own. Or never did own. Or–well, you know. When we moved from Minneapolis to Cornwall, we salvaged two or three and threw out the rest.

    The world has continued to turn, although the rabbit hole that American politics and culture have gone down lately may be a result of our carelessness. You can never tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My key story was definitely not as funny, but I did satisfactorily take down a fellow at the key-making place who tried to tell me, in a longwinded way, that it was me doing something wrong (i.e. a woman daring to use a technologically complex device such as a lock-and-key system without a man to tell her how to use it) and not that they had made the mistake in the key-manufacturing process. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This sounds like the start of a very dark story in which it turns out Ken murdered a janitor in his sleep. Or there’s the ghost of a janitor haunting your house. I think of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline in which a key is important, and Beetlejuice as well. Hey, there’s a good reason they’re called skeleton keys.
    This story has me pretty keyed up, as you can tell.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. So does this mean that none of the doors in your house are locked because you don’t know where the keys are?
    The F word is the most versatile word in the English language, I swear you could make a f**king sentence with it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fun fact: I’m completely keyless.
    I do have a fob for my car, which exists somewhere in the murky bottom of my purse and I am eternally grateful to not have to fish for it on a daily basis.
    Years ago I lost my key ring, which had but 2 keys: house and mail. Now I come and go by the garage, and send Sean to check the mail.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think we all at some point deal with the mystery key situation, Suzanne. Best to just toss them and cross your fingers. Or hang them on a lanyard just in case. And thanks for the erudite discussion of the many linguistic uses of the word Fuck. There are some funny youtube videos should you be interested in furthering your education. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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