Sunday, January 6, 2008

Let's go to Vegas! I have the key!

Published January 6, 2008
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

Writing my New Year's Resolutions last week put me into a goal-setting frame of mind. I've decided it's time for me to focus on a few long term goals. I've opened savings accounts for my kids with college educations in mind. I'm in the process of writing a 5 Year Plan. My most lofty goal, however is one that is very close to my heart. I want a key to the city by the time I'm 45.

I've wanted a key to the city ever since I saw Superman get one in Superman 3. I was young and impressionable and immediately intrigued. Cities had keys? Superman needed one? I mean, he could fly, burn things down with his eyes, and see through walls (and clothes...pervert). Why would he need a key? What lock could keep him out? A key to the city must be really, really special.

I know now that city keys are symbolic and ceremonial in nature. I actually did a little research last night and learned that the practice of bestowing a key to the city began back in feudal times when cities were surrounded by very high walls which were guarded by bureaucrats from the DMV. A key to the city granted its holder unfettered access to the city at any time.

Ceremonial or not, I still want a key. It just sounds really cool. "Hey, Jenn! Let's go to Lake Havasu! I have the key!" "What, Paul? You've never been to Denver? I'll have to take you. We can use my key." "Hold on, Mary. We'll get into Pittsburg as soon as I call the locksmith to the city."

As you can see, the city in question is not as important to me as the key itself. I would be just as happy with the key to Corpus Christi as I would be with the key to Boston. I may not ever need 24 hour access to Lincoln, Nebraska or Sacramento, California, but having the key on my wall would give me 24 hour bragging rights.

The largest obstacle in my quest for a key is the need for me to do something extraordinary to earn the recognition. I make a mean steak and I'm a fair hand at scrapbooking, but I'm not really the type to plunge into a burning building and do anything other than create one more person needing a rescue. This could be tricky.

A little more online research led me to a solution in the form of a company that makes ceremonial keys for cities all over the US. Who needs to make a name for herself when she can point, click, and pay her way into the ceremonial lock of the city of her choice? The only problem I found is that this company sells these keys in bulk. Apparently, cities everywhere have a ready supply of keys to give to any Joe Schmo. Don't believe me? Saddam Hussein was given the key to Detroit in 1980. Look it up!

I suppose if I decide to buy myself the key to a city, I'll just have to include close friends and family in my purchase. If I'm so excited by the prospect of a symbolic key, they will be too! Nothing says I love you like unfettered access to a beautiful, exciting, and exotic city 24 hours a day.

Mom, Dad, Richard, Becca, Cory, Diane...Welcome to Poughkeepsie!