We interrupt our regularly scheduled ProfHacker programming to talk about keys and locks. Yesterday, I had an entertaining adventure: While walking out the door to go pick up the 7-yr-old at school*, a burst of exuberance from the puppy left us locked out. Couldn’t get in the house, couldn’t get in the car. My phone was in Miami, visiting the Philip Roth Society panel at the Jewish-American and Holocaust Literature symposium. So, no keys–and thus no way to pick up the kid–and no way to call anyone for help or to alert his school to the problem.
We started walking around looking for neighbors, knocking on 15 doors–the only person at home was a very sick shut-in who’s not capable of answering the door. At that point, we walked to campus, I snuck the dog into a building, where I found a friend who was able to hook me up with a phone (to call the school), a ride (to get the kid), and a computer (to find a locksmith). Then, it was just a waiting game. A three-hour one, with a $200 entry fee. The least fun game ever. (Except for Parcheesi. I hate that.)
So, as a public service–and, as always, inspired by my own clumsy blundering–here are some strategies for securing an outside key, and for working your way around a lock in a pinch:
- Any advice for hiding a key that includes the phrase “velcro on steroids” is automatically worth a link.
- The good people at Metafilter have recommendations for using common office items to make your own DIY lockpick kit.
- Lifehacker has an excellent roundup of guides to lockpicking, including several videos.
- Finally, some strategies for dealing with your car’s lock.
Obviously, we endorse lockpicking only for educational purposes or for picking your *own* locks. And, to avoid being locked out of your virtual accounts, ProfHacker continues to like password managers.
Do you have a pro tip for preventing lock-outs? Let us know in comments.
Image by Flickr user Bohman / Creative Commons licensed