Saturday, April 13, 2024

PHALON’S FILE: I Can’t Find My Keys

Looking for some lost keys? I found a set last week, along with some embarrassing memories, which I will explain shortly. 

Just before this past Christmas, I found a substantial set of keys in a Costco parking lot. It had more than a dozen keys, including a skeleton key, and was garnished with the business end of an apparently inert bullet, fashioned into a decorative ornament. If you are still looking for them, I gave them to the guy who checks the receipts at the door. I’m guessing the owner is a man of some caliber. I really didn’t say that. 

Finding an armed set of keys brought me back to a time when I shot myself in the foot, so to speak, when I lost two sets of keys, which I alternately found, lost and found again, all within about 72 hours. 

A couple Christmases ago, I was doing a lot of car jockeying, with relatives, kids, dogs, etc. visiting. I was already reduced to the Emergency Back-Up Keys, having not seen the Main Keys for about two months. Then in all the moving mayhem, I lost the Back-Up Keys. I looked and looked but the Back-Up Keys were as lost as the Main Keys.

I recruited the kids. Kevin asked, “Did you look the way you look or the way Mommy looks?” Harsh. 

Two days passed—no keys. I looked in new pants, old pants, junk drawers—everywhere, I thought. Then Rose, who looks for things the way Mommy looks because she is, well, Mommy, tapped me on the shoulder jingling the Main Keys, the ones missing since October.

They were in the pocket of a sweatshirt I gather I had not worn since October. I was sure I had looked there. At last I had freedom – freedom to use my own car. Also, it was snowing, and I had the chance to use my new Christmas toy, a snow blower. My snow shoveling days were behind me!

The driveway is just one car-width, but stretches about 125 feet around the back to the garage. Consequently, there’s frequent car shuffling. So, I dressed appropriately, I thought, for the maiden voyage of the snow blower. I found that the functionality of my snow suit left me about as nimble as Randy, the kid brother in “A Christmas Story.” Inside to change into a more practical sweatshirt.

I was going to clear one end of the driveway, move the cars, then clear the remainder. Good plan. But somewhere in the costume changes, I lost my Main Keys, which had just been recovered from the pocket of the very sweatshirt I was wearing. I regrouped and looked. Then I had to come clean and admit to everyone that I just lost my keys.

Again, two sets of keys were missing. My car beached once more. Then Kevin, who looks for things the way Mommy looks, promptly produced the Back-Up Keys, which had been missing for several days. They were upstairs, under my desk. I was sure I had looked there.

The Main Keys? I located them an hour later. I located them shooting out of the snow blower as a Mach 1 projectile just after I heard one of those cringe-inducing metal-on-metal sounds. 

The keys survived the fusillade, a little chewed up and spat out, but they remained functional. The key fob? Not so much. The other bit of wisdom I gained from the experience is that if you don’t shop around, a new key fob can cost almost as much as a snowblower.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.