I’ve recently taught myself how to pick locks.

I had to, really. There weren’t any classes available.

It’s really not that hard. In fact, I found it disturbingly easy. Once I had a good mental image of the inner workings of the standard lock mechanism it became just a matter of dexterity and patience.

Sometimes, it took a lot of patience. I have a Master padlock that I’ve never been able to pick. I have another that I got on my first try after about a minute.

That first pick was one of the most deeply satisfying clicks I have ever experienced. I felt the wave of satisfaction as I defeated the complex inner mechanism.

Then I felt something else.

I used to have this illusion of safety. Lock my stuff up at the YMCA, and it’s safe. Lock the doors of my house and nobody can break in. Right?

I have yet to attempt to pick my own house door locks. I’ll try it one of these days. I hope it’s not too easy. After all, if I can pick the locks on my house, how hard would it be for scary, evil criminals?

Most important, though, is the idea that I can now accurately describe lock picking in my writing. I also tend to notice bad descriptions of it when I read or watch the television. It actually amazes me how bad these representations get. After all, it cost $12 and about a half hour of my time to learn the skill. Surely Veronica Mars could be bothered to at least bring out some superficial representation of a tensioner.

I probably expect too much.

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