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If I Had The Key To The City

Today,  New York City is celebrating the New York Giants with a parade. According to ESPN, the team will receive the key to the city at the end of the parade.

The idea of the key to the city has interested me since I was a kid. How much fun could you unlock with that key?

I’d have to let myself in to so many places.

Attention Mayors: Your city could have a key on this key chain. Have your people call my people.

Imagine being able to let yourself in to a museum after closing time. No crowds, no need to stay quiet. You could laugh and make fun of the cavemen in the wooly mammoth exhibit. Going right to the front for all the cool stuff would be no problem…because there would be no back!

I would let myself in to watch all my favorite sports teams practice. Sure, the coach might object. Practice isn’t usually open to fans. Not all fans would have the key to the city. I’d dismiss the coach with a wave of my key chain. What’s he going to say, that I am not allowed?

Clearly, I would be allowed. Not just allowed, encouraged.

Yes, encouraged. Encouraged to take advantage of my ability to walk in on concert rehearsals and sound checks. Step aside security guy, I’ve got the key and I’m going to watch Bruce.

I thought a little about how I might use the key to let myself in to restaurants. I decided that it doesn’t make sense for me to do that. The art of good food doesn’t lie in the place, it is more in the skill of the chefs. I don’t suppose that the key to a city would allow me to wake a chef to make some chicken for me, would it?

Waking a chef does bring the ethical portion of the city key idea to mind. I’d be certain to assure any city who gave me a key that I would not go into any residences. A lot of crazy stuff goes on in other people’s houses that I don’t want to see.

People likely don’t want to see me just walking into their houses either. For most folks it really isn’t about me, but uninvited people in general, so I’m not going to let it upset me.

I have so many ideas about how the key to a city could be used. I could write a book about the adventure. I would make a few bucks and the city that gave me the key would get a bump in their tourism numbers from all six people who would read my book.

If any mayors are reading this (I’m looking at you Mayor Bloomberg) please get in touch. I’ve got space on my key ring and I can help your city. I’m assuming these keys come with alarm codes, right?

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25 Comments on “If I Had The Key To The City”

  1. That would make a perfect key for Key West. Good call on not waking the chef or letting yourself into his/her residence. No matter how important you are, the person who prepares your food is not someone you want in a grumpy mood.

  2. Jane says:

    I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never questioned the actual doors that the “key to the city” unlocks. I’ve always accepted the metaphor without analysis.

    Now, it is not an exaggeration to say that I am astir with the implications: Is this an underhanded insult that assumes the recipient is unable to think past the bright shininess of the key? Does the generous mayor choose not to give the key to those who might question it’s power? Should the Supreme Court study the practice as discriminatory / insulting / hate-filled?

    Oh, Oma, now you’ve done it!

  3. If I had a giant key to the city I would carry it with me all the time and hopefully people would buy me drinks. And when bars asked me to leave at closing time, I’d hold up my key and say, “Don’t worry, I’ll lock up.”

  4. Lenore Diane says:

    I want the key to the city of Orlando. I’d use the key for access to Disney World after hours. Of course, I’d have to bring friends – as someone is needed to turn the rides on and off.

  5. linlah says:

    I imagine that the key to a city is a giant gold skeleton key so I really don’t want that on my key ring.

    The balance of the fields to post a comment aren’t autofilling when I enter my email so maybe it’s not me but WP.

  6. Laura says:

    When I was a kid, the “key to the city” metaphor confused me, because it sounded like a key that you’d need to use to get into a city, but none of the cities I’d ever been to were locked.

  7. I want to know how many keys there are. I mean some places have deadbolts with a separate key. Exactly how many keys are we talking? And what if there’s a chain, too?

  8. Jennifer says:

    I don’t know if I could handle the “key to the city”. I have lost my keys before and that would not be something I would want to confess..

    “I am sorry but I can’t open the city today, I can’t find the key.. and how much would that cost to copy or replace?

  9. Todd says:

    Oma, if you really want a key to the city, there’s a key to the city of Charleston, S.C., right now going for 99 cents and a key to Atlantic City for $14.99. THE DREAM IS WITHIN YOUR GRASP!

  10. Amy says:

    Having the key is great, but do they also give you the alarm codes?

  11. planetross says:

    Unless a city has a canal system … or bagels, where are the locks to the city?

    note: do the Florida Keys give out locks to special people?

  12. jennygoth says:

    id love a key to carry around that could open all the goth shops in london also to number ten so i could leave mr cameron a big bag of poo on his breakfast table xxjen

  13. Pie says:

    I’m just happy to know I still have the key to my front door after a heavy night out…


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