How many keys do you have?

While getting the mail I noted that I have four keys on my keychain.  One for the house, one for the mailbox and two for the toolbox I never lock.  I used to have car keys, but those have been replaced with a key-fob/electronic thingy that hides an RFID system and buttons to send radio signals.  Now all I have to do is to walk near my car and it detects my presence then I can open the door by just pulling the handle. 

It’s kind of weird.

I find the whole key thing a bit weird.  Why have keys at all?  They’re mostly used to mark our territory.  This is my key to my house.  My toolbox, my tools. Not your tools, my tools.  Keep your hands off my tools.  Keys help us enforce our claim on things.  The only people who can use my car are the people I give my keys to – well that and answering a very long questionnaire regarding driving record, health conditions, current insurance, etc.

When I was young I thought that the more keys you had the more successful you were.  I mean, makes sense right? Lots of keys, lots of access to places and things that only key holders have.   

Then I got a job as a security guard and discovered how bad a job locks really do at protecting your stuff.  One of the first things my boss told me is that locks only keep honest people out.  He then showed me three different ways of opening a locked door without a key.  At one of the factory sites I worked at we had a Slim-Jim tool in the desk drawer because so many of the workers locked the keys in their cars.  We also had jumper cables for the same absentminded employees.  Think about it, if I wanted a car, it was just a Slim-Jim and thirty seconds away.

Luckily for the employees I was honest and they drove worthless junker cars.

If you really want to scare yourself about your front door lock, just do a YouTube search for the LockPickingLawyer.  That will just make you want to sit behind your front door with a baseball bat.

But, don’t worry that much about it.  Turns out the bad guys are also lazy.  The other thing I learned as a guard is that most crimes are “crimes of opportunity.”  A person drives by your house, sees a package and takes it.  Teens find your car with the keys in the ignition and take it for a joy ride.  Burglars rarely need to force a door open as so many people forget to lockup when they leave.  All it takes is one unlocked window or door and your laptop will be on its way to Albany to be repurposed to a hacking tool.

So, in general if you just lock up and don’t leave things in sight to be stolen, most thieves just move down to the next house.

Our on-line life has become about the same.  We all have user names and passwords and we’re all afraid of being hacked.  Most people at least try to have difficult passwords, but few of us can’t remember a “secure” password.  When I did IT desktop support way back in the last century, I could hack into most user accounts by just looking around the user’s desk for the yellow sticky note with their secure password written on it.

I hate to tell you this, but if the bad guys or FBI wants into your bank account badly enough, they’ll get in.  It might take time or cost them a lot of money, but there’s little you can do to stop them.  The best you can do is balance the cost equation in your favor.  That is keep less money in your bank account than it will cost the bad guys to crack into your account – oh and do use a secure password those cost more to hack through. Really, you can get seriously depressed if you think about it too much or spend too much time talking to experts like the LockPickingLawyer or guys like me.

That begs the question what are we to do?

Most you likely have an answer to that question.  I suppose I could launch into a great long thing about not having too many things or how we shouldn’t value things so much.  We should focus on the important parts of life, our health, our relationships and family.

But, I’ll let you write that ending.

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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27 Responses to Keys

  1. Vivi says:

    Really 😳


  2. Gargi Mehra says:

    This made me worried, and nowadays I am as concerned about online security as the physical. Trying my best with the passwords but I’m not sure if there are data leaks and breaches whether that helps much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I often chuckle ruefully to myself as I lock my doors at night. Just like our myriad online passwords, it’s only ‘feel-good’ security. But hey, if it makes me feel good… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Omg! Brilliant observation. I just moved into a new house and my interior designer asked about a security door multiple times and was shocked to know that I didn’t want one. There is plenty of security in the building and my fears and insecurity are somehow under control! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are companies who want to profit off our fear and are surprised that some of us don’t have unreasonable fears. The doors and windows in my house have good locks – not perfect, but enough that I feel safe.


  5. Baydreamer says:

    Great post, Andrew! We actually live in an area where we don’t worry about locking the doors, but we do anyway. But it is pretty safe. And we have the big dog with a bark that even scares us sometimes! We’re not worried about our possessions, either, but more about the safety of our family and staying healthy. I’m sure perspective changes just by growing older. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I like the doberman idea. Gotta look into that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dave says:

    You hit on the ultimate solution as you wrapped your post, Andrew. Very few of my possessions (the ones thieves would want) would compromise my lifestyle if I lost them. My wife and I are more concerned for our personal safety than for our possessions. Accordingly, we have a big dog with a big bark. We leave lights on and a car in the driveway whenever we go out. And we monitor activity in our neighborhood (as the one comment says about Nextdoor). Our only concern is our mail (our box is quite a ways from our front door), but most of what we get is junk anyway. Amazon packages can always be rerouted to their public boxes. It’s kind of a game, trying to stay one step ahead of those who want to take advantage.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As I age I find that I don’t value things as much as I value friends, family and the time I spend with them. Last year one of my step children called me for ideas on what gift to give their mother. Honest I couldn’t think of a physical and replied, “Your time. Take her out for a long lunch or a nice dinner.” Turned out to be the perfect gift.

      I do follow Nextdoor crime reports and take all the basic precautions – lights, locks – and our area has the community mailboxes where each has a key to open. If I’m getting a delivery of something very expensive, I always have those held for me to pick up.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My partner is always showing me excerpts from the Lock Picking Lawyers. They make it pretty clear that adding locks to our possessions many times only giving us a false sense of security. Working from home and not going out much, I no longer have a need for most of my keys. Especially with the pandemic. Your post brings to mind that humans are probably the only creatures that take what isn’t theirs out of a sense of pure greed. I am sure there are exceptions to this, but in the animal world, it seems that food and shelter are ‘stolen’ by others out of need rather than want. I grew up on the south side of Chicago and we never locked our doors. (Yes – I am that old! 😉 ) The only time I feel old(er) is when I look back and think that things were somehow better back then. In some ways they were. Living in a society where we have to barricade ourselves inside our confines with our ‘stuff’ exemplifies the sad state of the world. Sorry to say, but that is how I feel.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I remember when I was a child, we didn’t lock our door – I doubt we knew where the key was. Since I started working from home and now that I’m retired, I don’t have as many keys. Don’t need them as I’m here 90% of the time. I guess it’s just the dark side of human nature to take things that aren’t yours.


  9. jfwknifton says:

    How about a motion activated tape of a doberman barking? That ought to work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting suggestion. Checking on Amazon, I found a handful of electronic devices that use a selection of different barking dogs when a motion sensor is tripped. There were even a few doorbells with barking dog sounds when you press the button. I just might order one or two.


  10. I would love to live in a society where people are so relaxed they forget to lock their doors. We live in a fearful society where armed criminals break into people’s homes and injure them, often very badly. We have thick steel bars on our windows and security gates with special locks that are difficult to pick. They have double locks. We have security cameras, electric fences, high walls, and security beams in our garden. We were planning to move somewhere safer, but with crime hugely on the increase elsewhere in the world now, I’m not sure we can escape it and it may be better to stay where we have the defenses in place already.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pied Type says:

    I read daily on NextDoor about car thefts, porch pirates, etc. in this area. And I’ll bet most are crimes of opportunity. People don’t lock their cars, the doors and windows in their home, pet doors, etc. They leave garage doors open. They don’t leave outdoor lights on at night. They don’t bring packages in soon after delivery. There are a lot of people hurting these days. No wonder crime rates are up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I read those reports too. These days when I have packages arriving I watch the on-line tracking for the package and get it off the porch as soon as it shows up. When I ordered my new computer, I had it held at the local USP facility and went to pick it up myself. It’s sad we have to do that, lots of people are getting desperate these days.


    • lifelessons says:

      I ordered a magnetic cat door from the states and they sent me a dog door instead..big enough for a child to climb through. I never did install it.. just donated it to the animal shelter.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. lifelessons says:

    I discovered after my first burglary from a ring that was slowly making its way up from the bottom of the mtn, block-by-block, that the key was to have better security than your neighbor. I put bars at every window and sliding door and replaced all exterior wooden doors with metal doors with two locks–one of them a deadlock. I have never had a burglary since. But, I did have someone climb over my wall, go across my property and over the wall to my neighbors and go into their second-story unlocked kitchen window. My kitchen window? yep. Bars. That and two dogs who warn of any interloper, friend or foe, have served me in good stead. Crossed fingers. There have been houses who have been hit 8 times over the years because they’ve neglected to change any security features. Some people never learn.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In my old neighborhood the houses were built in the 1950’s with windows that just didn’t lock very well. During the 2000’s many of us upgraded windows to double pane and more secure windows. The burglars started targeting the homes with the old single pane windows. At one community meeting with the police, the community information officer told everyone they should just upgrade their windows and that there was an energy tax credit to pay for it. The bad guys go after the soft targets.


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