When I was a kid, my dad once told me that a set of car keys would fit more than one car. That may not have been such a good piece of information for him to impart. I was instantly intrigued. Being me, I had to see if it was true. Not that I really doubted him, my dad is usually right. This was back before keys were encoded with computer chips and, in fact, a single key could fit several cars. Though they usually sent them to different parts of the country, I planned to find two of them.
I tried hard too. I used to take my dad’s keys and try them in all the cars around the neighborhood. When that didn’t work, I started collecting keys. Old keys that people didn’t need any longer, spare keys, and keys that I found, made up quite an assortment. And anytime we had people over, or we went some place, I would sneak off and see if my keys would fit any of the vehicles. Sadly, it never worked.
Eventually, I figured out that while it may be possible to find two cars keyed alike, the odds were overwhelmingly against it happening. I didn’t really give up because I can remember even as an older teenager, trying a few here and there. It still didn’t work.
A few years later, my wife and I, along with some of her family, were spending the day at Valley Fair Amusement Park. Along about mid-afternoon, it started raining - raining so much that they shut down the park. Amid a torrential downpour that would have made Noah proud, we decided to make a run for it.
The rain was so hard we could hardly see where we were going but that didn’t matter. The Park coded their parking lot into zones, which were clearly marked on the light poles. Remembering exactly which pole we had parked beside, we made a beeline for our car. I guess we were trying to avoid getting wet - a rather pointless endeavor considering the way it was raining - and rushing up to the car, I quickly unlocked the doors as we all scrambled inside.
In our hurry, and in trying to find some way to get dry, at first we didn’t notice all the subtle little things that were not right. Not until I had the car running did my wife start pointing out the differences. It took a few more seconds for us to figure out our mistake - it wasn’t our car!
Well, we made our exit from vehicle even faster than we had gotten in! Two parking spots down we located our car, and crawled inside. We were driving away, shaking our heads and laughing at our mistake, before it hit me that I’d finally done it. I’d found two cars keyed alike! And I hadn’t even been trying. It wasn’t exactly the way I’d envisioned it happening, and I’m sure the others with me weren’t impressed, but I was happy.
The poor people whose car we’d soaked probably weren’t nearly as happy as me. Although, by the time they made it to their vehicle they were no doubt just as drenched as we had been so, maybe they didn’t notice. If they did, I suppose I should thank them for their contribution in helping me prove, once again, that my dad was right.