What is it with people and their keys?  I've tried to go through life with the minimum of keys on my key chain but some people try for the maximum.  Do you think an individual's relationship with their keys says anything about that person?  I mean some people walk around with huge numbers of keys hanging from their belt.  What's that all about?  Those people couldn't possibly have that many locks and ignitions...even if they owned a used car lot.  They must go out and buy keys.  I can see it now at the second hand store.  "Excuse me I'd like buy some keys."

"What kind of locks are they for?"

"Oh I don't care, I just want some keys."

That must be the case because sometimes I see big rings filled with keys at second hand stores.  I mean where are the locks?  Why is it that they have lots of keys but no locks?

My dad had many more keys than I carry.  But he knew what everyone was for.  I asked him.  Most of them went to things on the railroad.  The railroads have many locks for buildings, signals, and switches and many, many keys.  Amazingly enough some locks had tens of thousands of keys that fit it.  I don't know where he got them.  He just seemed to always have them.

I try to strike a happy medium between a few keys on each ring and several rings.  Donna does too but every once in a while we find ourselves needing to look for a different set of keys.  We've got three doors into the house but only carry a key to one door.  For a long time we kept a key outside the door in one of those little bronze frogs with a place underneath of a house key.  Then we were walking in Old Town Alexandria and saw about three or four of those frogs on people's front steps.  We wondered whether they keep keys in those frogs but didn't have nerve to check.  We did decide, however, that we we're fooling anyone with our frog and moved it inside.

I'm also fascinated by the way keys have become cards.  Go to most hotels now and as you register they'll hand you a card and say, "Here's your room key."

Funny, it doesn't look like a room key.  Looks more like a card.  Many of those cards can be tricky to use.  You have to quickly slide it into the slot and pull it out.  Hesitation at any point in the process can give you a red light rather than a green light.  I've often wondered what drunks do when they try to get into their rooms late at night.  Maybe they just sleep in the halls.  Often it stops working because you kept it in your pocket with your cell phone.  Nothing is more fun than having your arms full and going up many floors to your room, only to find the key has stopped working and you have to trudge all the way back down to the desk for a replacement.

If you're familiar with the old trick of using a credit card to get into a locked door you know how these key/cards were invented.  Someone stopped a guy in a hotel hallway and asked, "What are you doing with that credit card?" 

He probably answered, "Oh this isn't a card it's my key, I must be in the wrong hotel."  Soon some inventor found out about it and started making locks that used cards rather than keys. 

My key chains few fobs, baubles, or junk hanging from them.  Things like that fill up my pocket and makes me feel like I'm going home from playing marbles...and I won.  In fact I often leave the keys to the car under the front seat.  That's because we don't have any vehicles that are so fancy that anyone would want to steal. 

But that doesn't keep others from hanging some huge devices from their key chains.  My daughter use to have this piece of steel that would open bottles.  She was in college at the time and when I asked her she said that many of the girls in school use it as weapon if necessary.  Actually I think carrying it around built up her arm enough that she didn’t need to use the key chain.  I guess it's of value if it provides peace of mind.

And when you think about it all keys are meant to provide peace of mind.  But boy does it change in a hurry when someone loses their keys.  Locksmiths have a field day when people lose their keys because they're convinced someone will show up the next day to empty their house.  Of course many times after they change the locks the person finds the keys behind the cushion in the couch.  Sometimes I wish we lived in a world without keys and we could just leave them behind the cushion in the couch.  I guess those days are gone forever.