The Wide Angle: The mind is a funny and often dumb thing

Published 5:31 am Saturday, February 1, 2020

Think about it. How many times have we walked into a kitchen, ready and intent on getting something to eat, only to forget why you were there in the first place?

Now, could it be that I’m getting older? Could it be alien abduction? It could be any number of things, but on the surface I prefer to thing that inherently, our brain is stupid. It’s the only logical explanation, provided you don’t go and ask somebody who knows what they are talking about.

I had plenty of time to think about this and just how dumb I could be Tuesday night as I walked over to the Hormel shareholders meeting.

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The walking, just so we’re clear, wasn’t the dumb part. It was perfect and very purposeful as walking is meant to be. Rather, it was that thing I had only just done as the door to the Herald shut behind me. At that moment I realized that the sound of the door thudding against the frame was the key indicator that I was no longer in possession of my keys.

They were, of course, sitting snug on my desk.

This has been a thing I have been paranoid about for years, not because I don’t have people to let me back in, but because of the time of day this happens. It’s at night of course, which severely limits my options of re-entering the Herald to do the work I had to accomplish this night.

This is by no means strictly related to the Herald. I’ve worried about locking myself out of a lot of things: the house, my car, so on and so forth.

To my knowledge, in my gently lengthening life, I can’t remember too many times that I’ve locked myself out of anything. One of the most memorable times was during my internship at the Pipestone Star in Pipestone, Minnesota.

At the time I was still living in Brookings, South Dakota and commuting each day to work. Gas at that time wasn’t so crippling as it is now.

I had a baseball game to cover that night and so I trekked from Brookings along with my girlfriend at the time and enjoyed a pleasant late afternoon ball game. Of course, that ended when I observed my car keys dangling in the ignition with all doors locked.

It was an especially harrowing moment because nobody wants to look like an idiot in front of a significant other, but more to the point, I really had no idea who I was going to get to help.

So I stood there with that familiar feeling we all have in times like this, “now what do I do?” By now, you probably know me well enough to know that naturally, I swore. It’s one of the top five things I do really, really well.

Then I began examining the ways we get out of the situation. Right off the top there is taking a rock to the window, which would have satisfied my ire but left me with the thought of driving home with a broken window and an expense I really couldn’t afford at the time. Not to mention it was a really stupid idea.

Coat hanger was the next thing I could have tried, but who travels around with a coat hanger on the off chance that you lock the keys in the car? Plus, there is the added risk of further embarrassment, and we didn’t need that. The embarrassment meter was pretty high at that moment. Plus, we were at a baseball complex where there probably weren’t a lot of hangers to bend.

As luck would have it, a police officer came driving through and very legally broke into my own vehicle solving my conundrum.

The other time I can remember locking myself out of something was actually at the Herald and again I was lucky because somebody was readily available to let me back in again.

This time was different. I would spend much of the evening at the shareholders meeting, but because I wasn’t sure how late things would go, there was a very real chance that I would have to wait for Rocky to get back from the basketball game, which was in Grand Meadow and naturally started late.

There was a very real chance I would have to skulk outside of the Herald for 30 minutes. That idea appealed to me less than the other idea to let me in, which was to call somebody from work at a little before 9 p.m. to come let me in. That person was Heather Ryks, and I’m not entirely sure I chose wisely on this one.

I really like Heather. I’ve known her for years now, we have the same personalities and have no problem with some good-natured chiding at work. This therein lies the problem. She was gracious enough to not rub it in when she drove up to unlock the door, but it’s hard to guarantee that this won’t come up again in the future. However, this is only right because I got myself into this, so good luck to me.

And there, inside still mocking me from the desk, lay my keys reminding me of my now growing paranoia in such matters.

No doubt I will check and recheck and check once again my pockets to make sure I have my keys from now on because that’s what I do. I’m now a fully created creature of habit …

What was I writing about again?