Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Breakin' and ent'rin'

I could tell from his voice the moment the locksmith lost interest. The shed door was locked and the key was lost; worse, there was also a padlock and no key for that either. In the house the filing cabinet (locked) was also in want of a key. He quoted his rates, sure that the job was both too small and totally cost-ineffective.

I put the phone down; I was on my own.

I had however watched this forty second video.

How hard could it be?

Armed with my trusty nail-clippers and a motley collection of tools, I decided to start with the outside shed. The first thing to do was unscrew that metal thing the padlock connects (pictured below), a task within my limited competence. I now gazed helplessly at the freshly-exposed shed lock. I decided to ask the neighbour whether the key to their shed might by some miracle solve my problem.

J showed me into his back garden and demonstrated how the lock actually worked: just a small rectangular metal box in the frame of the door into which the lock-bolt slid. We returned to the scene where naturally, J's key didn't fit. I asked helplessly whether it would help to ... unscrew the barrel of the lock? ... or maybe I should drill it out?

"Boot it," he said.

I raised my eyebrows and looked confused.

"Though shoving it might work better," he continued, and seeing as how I just stood there he said,

"Shall I?"

J is a burley, sixteen stone man and when he shoves ...  two goes and the door burst open. J smiled in quiet satisfaction as I handed him a requested hammer. The lock was banged back into the door - tap tap - and the distorted doorframe box knocked back into shape.

J departed for a second and came back with a heavy duty grinder. "Stand back," he said as he applied the spinning edge to the hardened steel of the padlock. He stood like a warrior in a cloud of red hot sparks, one of which hit me as I stood well off to the side. It hurt.

Ninety seconds later, the padlock fell to the ground. "Don't touch it," he warned, "it's red hot."

"I am in the presence of the master," I said in awe.

The power of applied violence
"You should padlock that again, just to keep the local bad boys out," were his parting words.

Flushed by my success, albeit at second hand, I repaired upstairs to the filing cabinet where I mentally reviewed that YouTube video and for a good fifteen seconds poked and twirled the nail-file around in the lock. Naturally, nothing at all occurred.

Twenty seconds of whining, a spray of steel shards and the lock was drilled out. The filing cabinet was still locked, however. Finally, I took a large screwdriver and levered the frame up so that the drawer with its upward-protruding metal tab could be pulled out. Tap-tap and the tab was rotated anticlockwise to its unlocked position. The filing cabinet was open and would never lock again.

Just a bit bent .. maybe
This has taught me such a valuable lesson in life.

"Never waste time thinking when a judicious application of brute force will do the job?"

No, when it comes to the real world, try and get the help of someone who's good at it.

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