The Key-spiracy

realenoughI have a ring of keys, not unlike what many of you have I suppose. Some of the keys are very different while others are suspiciously similar … very suspiciously similar … almost too suspiciously similar … but let us not rack our brains at that conspiracy theory. As I was saying, “I have a ring of keys.” Now what usually happens on returning from church, or shopping, or paying a visit to the friendly garbage and recycling center, where each exit from there is like a good flush, or from picking up my son up from school, is the routine removal of the key from the car ignition and my son standing by the locked house door, waiting for the key to be handed over so that he can open it.


Being the good father I am, I hand him the keys. Being the better father I am, I have clinked through the batch and handed him as a handle for the lot the right key for the door. And being a good boy as he always is he says, “Daddy, that’s the wrong key.” (Damn those conspirators) and then proceeds to find the correct one, where in he enters the house, where if in the same time I had been left to my own means, I would still be shuffling through the keys till the point of wondering if I was at the right house. This is my block … right? Oh um … has this ever happened to you? Oh no, don’t answer that. It might incriminate you. Come to think of it, scratch what I said before and if you don’t I’ll deny it.

So day after day: from school to house, from church to house, from anywhere not the house back to the house this scenario has been replayed. “Not the right key, Daddy.” “Daddy, that’s not it.” “Well Daddy, it looks a little like the right one.” Oh no! Is that sympathy for the hopeless?!! (Well actually I don’t recall if he ever said that last one. What I kind of remember … and my therapist has told me to try and block things like this out of my mind … is that he said, “They don’t look anything alike. It’s easy to tell the difference.” He’s a good boy. He’s a good boy. He’s a good boy. No no, really I’m all right. Where was I? Oh yes the key ring and the elusive key for the door. So like I said, day after day and let’s cut to the chase, months if not years … I can’t win.

Off of the driveway we have a deck, the deck which we cross to get into the house, the deck which might as well be the deck of a sinking ship when it comes to finding the right key to get inside the house. Here the challenge has been replayed like a scratched record, but I’m not blaming the deck. It can’t help it if it is where it is, and its a good thing it is or else I’d spend a lot of time banging my shins … (grumble…) after my son has opened the door (more grumbles…) … trying to get into the house. I don’t hold anything against the deck, though you wouldn’t know it from what I’ve done to it.

I might have exaggerated the outcome here.

I might have exaggerated the outcome here.

You see I didn’t like the color the previous owners had stained the deck and took a power-washer to it … more wood flew than old stain and there are some crevices now worthy of honorable mention behind the Grand Canyon. Anyway, believe you me it wasn’t vindictive … but rather organically stupid … no no … organically ignorant. There is a difference and I will whole-heartedly take advantage of that difference. Well … to prove my case for my not-ill-behavior … I restored the deck. Didn’t actually rebuild it. Don’t own an electric saw. Don’t want to cut my fingers off. I applied a product called Restore, so I restored it. Same as someone who has gone to Dunkin Donuts and says I Dunkin Donutted. No? Bad example, but you’re a clever bunch, I’m sure my attempt was not undeciphered. Is that a word? I stumble again, but as I said before, you’re a clever lot and you will see me through it all … or just politely nod your head, clueless. It works.

So here is the deck, like a podium, where my son has announced to me “Wrong key, Daddy.” for what it’ll appear as ages. Don’t let the lack of wrinkles or his shorter stature fool you. He is a well-polished midget secretly working for Olay … trust me … conspiracies do exist. Okay, okay … I might have exaggerated the bit on my son. But he finds the right key and I can’t. There has to be some literal justice in that … no? Well back to the deck and it being restored … by me.keys copy

My family and I returned the other night from an open house at school where we met my son’s teacher … I believe from all appearances that he is someone who knows his keys. But just previous to the school visit, I had done some touch-ups on the deck and they were still wet, so we decided to use a different door to get in. There I was, key out of the ignition, my wife and son waiting for me at the alternate entrance. Diligently I prodded through, key after key after key till my treasure was found. I just knew it. I don’t know if it was that single star that shone on it or the voice in my head … no comments … or that I had never been more scrupulous in obtaining that key that had for years been nearly invisible to me. My weary but now rejuvenated celebratory state that had been bottled up for so long poked that key up like one of those foam finger pointers, while the others keys hung down defeated by my glorious victory. I had to admit it was hard to keep my chest from shredding the front of my shirt … but I managed … since humility called for it. “Here you go, buddy,” I told my son and, as steady as the Rock of Gibraltar, handed him the end of an endless chapter and he said, “Daddy, you got the right key this time … but the wrong door.” and then laughed … and then … my wife … laughed. Oh what comes out of the mouths of babes. It seemed I had finally gotten the right key for the other door … not this one. Did this even count? Was my finding that key now null and void over a technicality? It was the Olympics all over again for me, when I had my Olympic gold medal for bobsledding taken away only because it had been in Barcelona. Maybe the deck wasn’t as innocent as I had suspected. To save face, I had to believe that that deck had a hand in this … conspiracy.

Real: The key story, my deck and what I did to it (Not as brutal as the picture though).

Not Real: Therapist, ever winning or losing an Olympic medal in bobsledding, and my fear of conspiracies

Roger McManus

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