Posted by: Dahni | April 1, 2012

Dealing with the Dumb

By Dahni © 2012 all rights reserved

Practical Tips
Image Bits
and otherwise just for the fun of Its

      I was having a conversation. You know, one of the most intelligent conversations one could ever have, you know, with yourself. So, I said to myself, “Self, you are a such a Dum’-ass!” 

      Truly, I may not be a dum’-ass and perhaps neither are you, but we all do dumb things sometimes.

      Recently, I went to fill up my car with gas.

      The station like many today is pre-pay.

      A little elderly man was ahead of me in line.

      As he was reaching in his back pocket for his billfold, it suddenly dawned on him that he had left his keys in his truck and his truck? It was locked!

      He didn’t have a cell phone and there was no one he knew to call for help.

      It can be embarrassing and even quite dangerous to lock your keys in your vehicle…

"Tag, you're it!"

       Anyway, back to the story. The cashier told the little elderly man that the police used to help in situations like these, but not anymore.

Protect & Serve-not-get-sued-not + 'Slim Jim'

      Yes, the police used to come and unlock your door with a locksmith’s or thief’s tool called a ‘Slim Jim.’ But they probably got tired of being sued for just trying to help. I’m not sure, but I don’t think the Fire Department will rescue your kitty cat out of the tree anymore either, for the same reason?


      Sure, call a locksmith, but they can be quite expensive.

      Some vehicles now have keypads. Just key-in your password and “walah” (really it is voilà), and the situation is resolved. The only problem with these:

Do I remember the password or where did I hide my password, just in case I forget my password?

      There is now also, technology that can remotely unlock your vehicle, but do I have a cell phone to call someone to give them a password to unlock my vehicle? Do I remember the password or where I hid my password, just in case I forget my password?

      But the little man did not have any of these options and could not afford a locksmith. I just couldn’t leave him stranded there. I felt for him and I have been in this situation myself, many times over the course of my lifetime. So, I offered to take him somewhere. He was pretty embarrassed, reluctantly agreed, but was grateful to let me drive him home. It was not far from the station, but it would have been quite a walk and it was rather cold outside.

      When we came to his house, he got out, walked around to the driver’s side of my car and thanked me. I asked him if he had extra keys to his truck and if he would be able to get into his house. He said, “Yes, I have an extra set of truck keys and I think I can get in the back door using a credit card.” I told him I would wait to see that he got in OK. He disappeared for a bit and then returned. He told me he was able to get the door unlocked, but there was a chain lock inside. I asked him what he was going to do about that? “Oh, I have access to my tools. I’ll saw it off if I have to!” He thanked me again and said he would eventually get in. I told him again, I didn’t mind waiting to make sure he would be alright. So he left and I waited. While I was waiting, I was thinking about some suggestions for him, for myself, and for you too. Suggestions just in case the situation ever comes up with you, or with him and most likely with me, again.


    Those are pretty simple ways to deal with the dumb, but let’s get more specific.

   Have we ever seen or do we have one of these –

      Oh, this was a fantastic idea! It has a magnet. All one has to do is just hide it somewhere under the vehicle for an emergency. The magnet needs to be attached to some magnet-attracting-metal of course. But like the picture shows, mine is most likely rusty, the key is probably rusted and might not work, or I forgot to put the key back in it, the last time I used it. Here is an alternative –

Taped key inside gas-cap door?

      Here is a new variation on a previous theme –

      This model still has the magnet on the bottom, but the container is made out of non-rusting material. The metal key is sitting on something that absorbs the moisture, so the key don’t’ rust. Brilliant! Some of these new ones also have access-only to the key, by first entering in a password, that I may forget and/or forget where I put the password in case I forget the password. But lets just say – OK, locked-my-keys-in-my-vehicle-dealing-with-the-dumb situation has been resolved! But according to Murphy’s Laws, ‘whatever can go wrong, will most likely go wrong.’ What else could go wrong? What about locking ourselves out of the house, office etc.?

      The most common places most of us hide our keys and most thieves know to look for them, is under some mat near the outside of the front or the back door. The second most common location of our hidden, emergency, dum-ass extra keys hiding places (which the thieves also know about), is the single rock or rock-like rock, next to the front or the back door. The key is underneath and looks something like this –

Please note: The keys left under the mats or these stones are probably either rusted or not there, because we forgot to put them back the last time we locked ourselves out. 

      Another option that is more safe and secure is to have extra keys made for family, friends and neighbors. But if you are like me, my family, friends and neighbors are usually not home when I lock myself out and/or I will have forgotten my cell phone. Oh, the following shows, where one neighbor put my extra key –

The Extra-which-one-is-mine Key Jar

      This is OK, if you don’t mind trying all 100 of them, for over an hour, until the one that looks like yours is really yours.

       So it’s back to exploring other alternatives. Some are better than others. I read about one person that put an extra key on a chain and attached the chain to the house. The chain was barely long enough to put the key into the door. I’m not sure of the reasoning or lack thereof to the length of chain? Perhaps, they just ran out of chain? But besides it being obvious to find for them, I’m sure a thief could find it too. What would happen if I did something like this?

a.  the chain would have been measured wrong = too short and I could not fit the key into the lock
b.  the key would rust and break off in the lock and the door and the chain would then, both be attached to my house.
c.  I could come home, realize I just locked my keys in my car, but still have no worries because the door is open. Why is the door open? Because the thief that used my hidden-in-plain-view-in-plain-sight-might-as-well-have-left-the-key-in-the-lock-hide-a-key, has robbed my house, left the key in the lock and the door is wide open.

      Here is another potential dum’-ass idea –

This is pretty obvious - See-it-rust it!

      OK, suppose the above is not in plain sight and maybe it would not rust. Where would one hang this? What if I hung this out-of-sight-out-of-mind in the garage and the garage door was locked? I certainly don’t recommend hiding such tools as a hammer, screwdriver and a crowbar outside somewhere, but I suppose they would work? However, if I did this and they did not rust, I probably would forget where I hid them. I guess that would still be OK, a thief would probably find them, use them and basically say, “Thank yewwww dum-ass!” But I would be able to get into my house.

   Here is an idea I just quite don’t understand –

The Dimmer-switch-hide-a-key

      Where would one install this? Surely not inside the house? Ok, that would be dumb, so outside right? Is it somewhere on the outside? That would be dumb, but who has a dimmer switch outside of their house? OK, put this in my garage right? You know, inside of my locked garage?

      Here is an idea that is really very good except for one thing…

Inside or Outside Thermometer Hide-a-key?

      If this an inside thermometer = no help? If it is an outside thermometer, the keys could still rust in my humid-as-hell neighborhood= won’t open my door or break off in the lock?

       And yet another hide-a-key idea –

Combo hide-a-key-combination lock & flashlight

   This is pretty cool looking. Yep, I betcha’ it even has a light. That’s important especially to see where to put the key while using the flashlight in the dark, provided that you can see the combination numbers to open this in the dark. Oh darn, did I forget to change the battery again? Uhh, what’s the password? Now where did I put the password? Oh right, it’s in the house. Then there is the obvious question. If I’m locked out, where did I get this extra-key-light-hide-r in the first place? Was it in my pocket? Oh right, it was hidden somewhere outside of my house, which I can’t remember where it is or it’s in my locked garage.

      And still another –

The Extra-hide-a-key Fake Junction Box

      Uhhhh, now which one is the real one? Is it snowing or raining? If it’s snowing or raining or the ground is wet or the junction boxes  are wet, will I get electrocuted trying to open the wrong one? Have I had too much alcohol to tell which one is real, remember where I hid the keys or will I get electrocuted (rain or not) if I try to open the wrong one?

      This one get high marks for innovation –

The Retractable-clothesline-hide-a-key

      At first look, this seems do-able. No need for a password. No rusted key (unless the clothesline is left out with my key dangling in the rain). However, if this thing is used regularly, for actually drying clothes, don’t you have to cover the key with something, so that no one else can see it? And for anyone that has ever had anything with a retractable cord, have you ever had it get stuck???

      Here is another idea that is really very good, except for one thing…

The fake Water-sprinkler-head-hide-a-key

      No rust on my keys inside this. But what if this looks like all the other sprinkler heads (and it should) and I forget which one has my keys in it?  Will I need to wait for the sprinkler to turn on = I’ll get wet?

       You know, the stone was really a pretty good idea. Can it be improved upon?

      This is pretty good and very realistic. I’ll betcha’ the keys inside are dry and free from rust too if only…

      …if only I could remember where I put my rock-lock. If only I could remember the password. If only I could get into my house to get the password and remember where I put the password to open this stone-look-lock. Oh right, if I was already in the house, I would not need the password. If I was in the house and my keys were not on my person, how did I get in? Well, either a thief found the stone, then broke it open to use the key or tossed the stone through the window or I tossed the dang thing through the window myself.

      Still, I like the stone-look-hide-a-key. Some are better than others.

      Some are more realistic than others. Some guard against rust better than others. The key to the right stone-key-rock-lock is to not put just one stone near the door, but farther away and with a group of stones that just blend in with your landscaping. Oh, right, we need to know where we hid these or can contact someone that knows where it is. This brings us to the necessity of having a cell phone.

      These cell phone could either be the phones we use every day and pay monthly fees to our cell phone providers for or they could be inexpensive pay-as-you-go-as-you-need phones.

      As to “need,” do you have it with you after you have locked yourself out? Is the phone charged-up? Did you pay your last bill?

      Do you have any minutes left? Got any cash or credit cards on yah’ or are these locked in the house, office, or vehicle too? Are you even anywhere near a place that can sell you minutes?

      Does the phone even work?

      Fear not, here is an alternative –

      Yep, good old fashioned tin cans and string. However, these are limited in distance that they can carry sound and require someone available on the other end that is willing and able to answer. If I frequently lock myself out and use my tin-can-string phone I run the risk of:

a. with the other end having caller ID and they know it’s me, they may not answer anymore
b. they may change their tin-can-string number or move
c.  I may reach the tin-can-string operator (recorded message) and hear: “The string you pulled is not a working string. If you feel that you pulled this string in error, please hangup and try pulling the string again.”

      Of course, you don’t want just anyone using your tin-can phone, so these will probably need to be hidden. Hmmm, where did I put it? Oh, there it is. Hmmm, rusted! Now when did I have my last tetanus shot? I forgot, but the answer is in the house, if I can just get inside and remember where I put it? I must do something! Let’s see, what’s (Bob’s, Betty’s etc.= person’s name), tin-can-string number? Oh, dang I forgot! This brings us full circle, back to the importance of the Stone-or-rock-hide-a-key.

      For me, most likely if I have locked myself out of my house, my garage is locked my keys and my cell phone are all probably locked in my car too. The only question remaining is which is cheaper to replace – house-window-glass or car-window glass? One way or another – I’m breaking in!

Note: If you find yourself in this situation, use the back of the house or structure, not the front to break glass! 

      If it were me and I tried to break glass in the front of my house, most likely, the moment I toss the rock through the window is either when the police car rolls by or someone in my neighborhood calls them, because they don’t recognize me. And I’ll probably take a trip with the police downtown, because they won’t open my locked car where I probably also, left my billfold with my identification. Then, when they do allow me my one phone call, I sure hope I can remember what my wife’s cell number is and that she answers or does not have her answering/voice mail shut off!

      We all do dumb things. Sometimes, some of us are just dum’-asses. Dealing with the dumb basically means we need to have a backup plan and perhaps a whole lot of backups for our backup plans.

      When I was a kid (smaller younger kid), we rarely locked our doors or our cars. Everyone in the neighborhood (during those times), probably did not either. Quite often it was easy for the parents to find the keys to the car, because they left them in the car. This practice soon ended, not because of external thievery, but internal thieves (borrowers), the young juvenile delinquents like myself that tried to take off on a joy ride.

      Well that was then and times are different now, you think? Maybe this is so, but in 2006, Susan and I went to see one son that was living in Japan. We were there for a month. People there did not lock their doors. If you dropped your purse, keys, billfold etc. on the street and you did not know about it, they would stay where they fell or someone would catch up to you and return your dropped items.

      During the entire month we were in Japan, there were only two questionable items potentially stolen that we were aware of – bicycles and umbrellas. After further research, it was discovered that the items were not stolen at all. The items went missing  due to a case of mistaken identity or someone had too much sake (alcohol). The only thing ever lost while we were in Japan was me.

      One after-noon, I took a walk and found myself in unfamiliar territory. Surrounded by mountains, I could not see the sun to know which way west was. Since I did not know which way the sun was setting, I also couldn’t tell which direction to head east, north or south. I could not read or speak the language. But at least I did not forget my cell phone. Why not? Because I did not have a cell phone that would work in Japan, my wife had it! Well, I just kept tracing my steps and making lefts until I finally saw something I recognized.

      Yes, I’ll admit it here (but probably deny it later), I was a dum’-ass. Obviously I found my way, I’m here writing this. But other than this event, this whole trust thing in Japan was awesome. I don’t know if this trust has changed in Japan since we were there, but it was refreshing; it was nice.

      If you think about it, locks are really just for honest people. If someone wants to break into something, they’ll pretty much always find a way. To leave our stuff unlocked today, might just be dumb. For us dum’-asses, or those that do dumb things sometimes, we need a backup plan and maybe backups for our backup plans. Dealing with Dumb is to, in some way or another –


      Don’t forget to not forget where you hide your hidden stuff. Don’t forget to charge your batteries. Don’t forget to carry your cell phones with you at all times. Don’t forget to change you passwords regularly and remember them or remember where you left the reminder to remember your new passwords. The same hold true for your hiding places. Don’t forget to change your hiding places ever so often and remember where they are or remember where you can get the information to remember where the new hiding places are located. If you are tired of all the “don’t forgets,” then how about some DO REMEMBERS?

      The main reason most of us laugh, think something is funny or can relate to it, is because we have done some dumb things ourselves.   🙂

      One last thing. The little elderly man was able to get into his house and find his extra keys to his truck. I drove by the gas station and his truck was not there and I drove by his house and it was home.   🙂

Just I-Magine,


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