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My Lifelong Dream Of Spydom: Lock Picking Isn’t As Easy As You’d Think

Lock picking. One day, years ago, my roommate and I decided that we needed to become spies. When you’re in your early 20s, broke, living in LA, both hopelessly single, and neither of you are much of a partier, it’s going to happen. You’re both going to realize your lifelong dream of spydom.

When coming to such a conclusion, you naturally put picking locks into the rotation of weekly roommate bonding activities. As everyone knows, spies pick locks. They also do a wide variety of other things, such as shoot guns, run really fast, jump onto moving objects, spin, kick, if female they tend to wear revealing articles of clothing (for professional distraction purposes of course) and speak different languages.

Shopping for our materials proved easier than originally anticipated. We went to a local hardware store and grabbed a 10-dollar door knob. Done. Set. Ready to commence Spy Training 2007.

We took our spy gear back to our apartment and set it out while our third roommate looked on disapprovingly. We had all our classroom necessities in front of us. Our brains, check…our door knob complete with lock, check…Google, check.

It’s amazing the information you can find online. I don’t know if the two of us will forever be on a government list somewhere as a duo to watch out for now that we have googled “How to Pick a Lock,” but if so our dreams of spy heroics are closer than we thought. It’s a well-known fact that if you’re a criminal, the odds are better that the government will want you to work for them.

As it turns out, it’s very difficult to pick a lock when it’s not actually attached to something. We hadn’t purchased any wood to attach the locked knob to, but that didn’t stop us. After minutes of agonizing toil we emerged from that night better women, better lock pickers, better spies. I now know all the inner workings of different kinds of locks, which ones are the hardest to open, and which are easier. I can take a safety pin and a bobby pin and fashion them into a successful door-unlocking device.

It was a very good thing we had engaged in this roommate activity. Not only was I one step closer to being the spy I needed to be, but I was also someone who frequently forgot to take my apartment key with me. I locked myself out of my home countless times that summer. There was a problem though… I never had my safety pin and bobby pin on hand, and neither did my neighbors, Matt and Jeff.

What did Matt and Jeff have? A ladder. What did I have? An open window. Up the ladder I went, safely landing back into my abode. This only worked for a season, as the ladder eventually was locked away. I suppose I could have picked that lock to get the ladder out and break into my home for the umpteenth time, but that seemed…too ironic.

Same story, I was stranded outside my apartment, no pins in hand, no ladders around, no open windows, no roommates to rescue me. What did I have? A Jeff, and that Jeff had a credit card. We looked down on that piece of plastic, both thinking “this would be so cool if credit cards could actually open doors.” I was also thinking “I wonder when my roommate will be home to actually let me in?”

Turns out a credit card does open your Los Angeles apartment door. This requires absolutely no knowledge of what you are doing either. Just shove that sucker somewhere near the door knob and she’ll come on open, easy. This newfound knowledge made me … absolutely freaking insanely scared out of my mind to live in my apartment.

New rule roommates … NO ONE IS TO LEAVE THE DEADBOLT UNLOCKED BECAUSE SOMEONE COULD GET IN HERE WITH A PIECE OF PLASTIC IF WE DON’T AND WE’LL ALL BE MURDERED IN OUR SLEEP AND CHOPPED UP AND SCATTERED THROUGH THE GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA AND I DON’T WANT TO DIE YET.

Spies get scared too, you know.

Spies also lend a helping hand, so if you find yourself locked out of a building and have about three hours to wait for someone to remedy the situation, just give me a call. I’ll be happy to bring my pins and credit cards with me to help out my fellow humans.

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