My Spare Keys

1433267487I don’t know whether I merely misplaced the spare set of camper keys or lost them entirely.

Now let’s be clear, there is a huge difference between misplacing something and losing it.

When you misplace something, you don’t know where you put it. When you lose something, your spouse doesn’t know where you put it.

So I had to ask.

“Do you know where I put my spare keys to the RV?”

“Why would I know that?”

“Because if I merely misplaced them, you would know where they are.”

“You lost the keys, didn’t you?”


“Then you better have another set made.”

So I did or at least I tried to. While at The Big Box Store, I visited the key kiosk.

“We can duplicate all your keys,” the key guy said, “except this one.”

Our RV requires an astonishing number of keys. There are two locks for the tow hitch. One to ensure that no one steals whatever it is you are towing and the other to make sure no one steals the hitch itself.

There are two keys to the door. One to turn the upper lock and the other for the lower lock.

Why the door requires two locks, I do not know.

There is an ignition key and a companion to open the engine compartment. Again, why is a mystery.

There is a key to open the panel for the outside TV and please don’t ask me why we have an outside TV. It was not our decision.

And then there is a single key that allows access all the outside storage compartments, which also operates the lower door lock.

Ironically, this vital key is the one The Big Box Store could not be reproduce.

So I went to a place called The Key Place.

“Can you copy this key?” I asked.

“Not that one,” the lady said.

“Why not?”

She just shrugged.

“Is it a special non-reproducible key?”

“Nope,” she said.

“Then what is it?”

She shrugged again. “It is just annoying and difficult.”

At that point, I did not know if she was talking about the key or me, but I had to ask, “Is there any hope?”

“Sure,” she said.

I perked up.

“You might have merely misplaced it.”

So after trying a couple of other Big Box Stores, two locksmiths and a guy from the Old Neighborhood who is extremely adept at replicating both keys and credit cards, I finally did what I should have done all along and visited to my local ACE Hardware store.

“Can you replicate this key?” I asked.

“Nope,” the key guy said.

I turned to go.

“But Roy can.”


“Yeah, though he won’t be in until Friday.”

I returned on Friday and sure enough, Roy did it.

Elated, I rushed home and tested every key. They worked perfectly which meant I had a functional spare set.

“Here is a spare key set,” I told my wife, “if you give me your keys, I will put them on your chain. That way you will always know where the spare keys are.”

She handed me her keys, and there dangling from her key-chain was the complete set of spare RV keys that I had been looking for all along.

“What the…?”


“I asked if you knew where the spare keys were.”

“No you didn’t.”

“Yes, I did.”

“You asked if I knew where YOUR spare keys were.”

So I guess I was wrong. There is misplacing things, there is losing things and then there is something else entirely.

Author: Almost Iowa

38 thoughts on “My Spare Keys”

  1. Thank you so much for making me laugh. This is an absolutely brilliant rendition of your adventures with your keys.
    I lost the pasta on Saturday. I took it out of the cupboard to put in the minestrone soup and then, suddenly, it was gone. We’ve looked everywhere. We haven’t found it.

  2. Ah nuance and nuance for nuance. I wonder what will ensue if I change the question from ‘seen’ to ‘heard’ ? Besides of course the fact that I will still be wrong.

  3. this reminds me, i need to go get copies made! I have been being so careful with my one and only set of trailer keys! they are (my house keys!) I know I have another set somewhere 🙂

  4. We have jars of keys for which we have no locks. Oddly I can find those jars in a second, but as for the key to the backdoor… it’s a struggle. Perhaps all things related to keys are meant to test us.

  5. And then, of course, there are keys that mysteriously turn up with no indication at all of where they’ve come from, what they fit, or if they ever were yours in the first place. I’m convinced those keys are the ones someone thought they’d lost or misplaced, when they’d only gone traveling, tired of always being put in the same slot.

  6. I shudder to think of what life would be like if not for the “Roys” in this world. As for your lost or misplaced key situation, yes…communication is everything! Great story, Greg.

    1. It works the other way around too.

      “Rather than hanging out with your buddies at The Pit, do you want to stay home and play Scrabble?”

      “Would you like to rephrase the question?”

      “Sure, rather than having me make your life a living hell….”

  7. Why do the places we put things seem perfect the moment we put them there but are the worst places ever the very next day? Great post, Greg. You had to know you were doomed. Did you check the drawer that has all the old keys? You know, like the ones to your 73 Chevy truck.

    There’s always a Roy. When I was the guy calling tech-support, I’d pretend to get disconnected so I could call back for a shot at getting Roy. For s brief time while consulting, I was Roy. I couldn’t take the pressure

    1. I was literally told by a tech-support guy to, “Read the f***ing manual.”

      “But that is why I am calling,” I told him, “on page 243 it says [this] then on the very next page, it says [that].”

      Stunned silence…followed by “I’ll get back to you.”

      They never did.

      1. RTFM, gotta love that response. I went through that last month with a tech at YouTube TV. His response, “you’re right, that should work. But, it doesn’t. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

  8. Don’t get the big head, but I always wait to read your posts until morning with a cup of good, hot coffee in hand but not in my mouth so I don’t spit it out laughing. No exception here. We had a travel trailer, and I didn’t lose or misplace my keys, but I can’t tell you how often I thought I was going to break one off in those side storage doors that get tight with changes in weather. Good chuckles to start my day off, but sorry it was at your expense. Say ‘hello’ to your wife from another wife, please. 🙂

    1. Don’t get the big head

      Oh, don’t worry about that. Of all my virtues, humility is by far my best. In fact, I would say, with all humility, that I am the most humble person who has ever lived. Better yet, I am more humble that all ten of the ten most humble people ever – put together. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. I remember putting things in a safe place. But I then forget which place that is. Usually if things are simply missing, I blame the pixies, and as one cat is called Pixel, it’s a version of blaming the cat.
    Naturally, the item Will always turn up once it’s been replaced.
    Finally, maybe next time try asking the same question in varying ways….although the result will be the same -you won’t win😀

  10. Hurray for the Roy’s of the world!
    Way to be persistent, seeking someone who could duplicate that one key. Even though it turns out you didn’t really need duplicates, you now have valuable – indeed, vital – intel.

    1. One must always take care with the word “ours”. It’s boundaries stretch too far into “mine” and only skirt the periphery of “yours”. :}

  11. LOL!! I had a feeling an ending like that was coming! Only because the same thing has happened to us too many times, we lose spare keys, we make new spare keys, old spare keys turn up, we know have eight copies of the same key….

    1. No kidding, that is precisely what happened. As I plodded from store to store, searching for a place to replicate the key, I kept telling myself that as soon as I got the new keys, I would find the old one… Uh huh, it had to be.

    1. I worked with an analyst who always said, “you have to understand the problem before you can find the solution.”

      Which never made sense to me, because we spent an inordinate amount of time talking to both consultants and salespeople who were selling solutions to problems we knew nothing about.

      1. I had the same experience but had the responsibility to negotiate the terms and conditions for the solutions that I knew nothing about. All worked out though.

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