Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Locked Out and Loaded

Dear Lock People,

I can see why you are very proud of your product. I, too, would aspire to make the very best lock ever to nestle in throwaway packaging if I were in your place. Keeping things safe and secure is your business.

However, I am writing because I sense a flaw in your vision. Although it is essential for the very best of products to lock, I find it can be just as important for such an item to unlock, thereby instilling a sense of calm in the person standing outside the door with several bags of groceries, who wants to come in out of the rain and deposit the bags on the kitchen counter just inside the door.

From my vantage point on the steps I can see:

1. The kitchen counter, bare of grocery bags.

2. Two large dogs and a small salami-shaped dog, who sense my presence outside the door.

3. The garbage can in the act of performing a one and a half gainer, which is due to the fact that the dogs are very excited that I am outside the door. Labradors express great joy by flinging coffee grounds throughout the house in a sort of native doggie dance of abandon.

Looking down, I can also see that the gourmet ice cream, double chocolate Moose Tracks, that I bought as a reward for cleaning out the refrigerator and starting on a new exercise regime has begun to melt and is, even now, performing a kind of scientific experiment with the bottom of the paper bag.

I now regret choosing paper instead of plastic in an attempt to throw myself in with the ecologically-minded set who have actually already abandoned paper for recyclable bags made from reconstituted shower caps.

I also regret my new exercise regime, which consists of one sit-up, performed with the aid of two inquisitive Labradors striving to certify my identity as I became one with the dust bunnies and a small, insistent splinter on the floor. Because I accomplished the sit-up and passed the canine equivalent of a TSA patdown, I now have semi-soft Moose nuggets in my shoe.

In case you have questions of user error in mind, I have already checked the key in my hand to ascertain that it does not fit:

My car
My husband’s car
My diary

I am also pleased to announce that I discovered that the reason the door wouldn’t open when I pressed the button marked “unlock” on my key fob is that the unlock button only works on the doors to the car, which is presently flashing its lights and honking its horn in a psychotic attempt to alert passersby to the fact that I'm locked out of my house with overloaded bags of food, free for those who don't mind jacking a gallon of warm milk and six thawed Lean Cuisine dinners featuring limp pasta from a hysterical woman who resembles your mother on the day you decided to move back home.

In typical fashion all this serves to accomplish is to draw the attention of the cat, who skitters toward the door and finds, to her delight, the puddle of Moose Tracks that is oozing down my leg.

So just now I am trying to shake the cat off my leg, juggle the groceries, coerce the dogs to turn the deadbolt, and ram the key far enough into the lock to solve all our problems. If I had an extra limb, I would use it to do a Google Earth search on my iPhone to find your exact location.

And do you know what I’m thinking, Lock People? I’m thinking that if I had your Quality Control guy right here in front on me, I would whittle a key out of whichever part of him was most likely to conform to the crooked little slot that is barring me from tracking melted Moose Tracks, wet kitty, and a squishy thing stuck in the treads of my hiking boots into the kitchen and through the coffee grounds and orange peels to get to my dancing dogs.

Do you know what else I’m thinking? I’m thinking that the packaging for this handy doorknob/lock combination, which the Captain tossed nonchalantly in the garbage a year ago when he was installing this product, said “Lifetime Guarantee.” And I’m wishing I had read the fine print then to see which mayfly’s lifetime you used as a basis for this guarantee, because that's exactly how long yours is going to be once we meet to assign blame.

But for now, I am going to kick the door with my shoe until my son, who is downstairs engrossed in perfecting his score on the Let’s Sweat section of Just Dance, feels the vibration and experiences the tsunami it starts in the toilet in the guest bathroom.

When he finally opens the door, I am going to call you on the telephone and invite you over for ice cream.

And coffee grounds.

And you know what? You may keep this invitation to use at any time.

It has a lifetime guarantee.


Anne said...

I just might use a similar letter to the ^%#^&# company who made the handle and lock to our front door. People ring the doorbell, but I can't answer it. Have to go out the back door and around.

You had me laughing at the first sentence! As always. :)

Unknown said...

Moose nuggets, ROFL! You always keep me giggling!

gypsyscarlett said...

Your posts never fail to crack me up. :)

Deb Claxton said...

That is why I only buy vanilla icecream. When it melts it doesn't leave unsightly chunks in your shoes and vanilla goes with everything. And speaking of your husband's booty. Why do middleaged men always lose their booties while a woman's booty doubles in size. Life is so unfair!

Amy Mullis said...

Thanks for sharing my pain,ladies. Nothing makes moose nuggets better than sharing them with friends.

Deb--LOL. I think you've hit on a fact of life that's been left out of the books!

Lisa A. Vance said...

Hysterical! You're a great writer! Thanks for the laughs!

Amy Mullis said...

Lisa, thanks for stopping by! I can always use more scapegoats,I mean friends, to blame, I mean share, life's little difficulties. Drop in anytime.