The Gambler and Locksmith Work

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By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Kenny Rogers had a hit tune many years ago, The Gambler, about a fellow on a train who gets some sage advice from an old man who borrowed a cigarette and a drink from his bottle.

…You’ve got to know when to hold em’
Know when to fold em’
Know when to walk away
And know when to run…

Over the years I’ve considered that information; once in a while putting the last two lines into practice. This morning was an opportunity to see if I was paying attention.

A call came in from a potential customer who’d broken the tip of his key off in the ignition switch. I asked what kind of vehicle and found it was a newer model Chevy with the ignition switch in the dash as opposed to the kind with the ignition switch in the steering column.

He said he tried getting the broken part out by putting sticky stuff on it, but it wouldn’t stick to the other half of the key. If you’re paying attention, you fill in the blanks without asking, “What kind of sticky stuff?,” because you already know the answer, Super Glue.

Going on to explain that he was able to get the other half of the key into the ignition and start the vehicle made it possible for him to continue driving his car. This is a transponder equipped type key which means the transmitting module which is located inside the plastic head of the key must be in close proximity to the reader antenna which encircles the ignition switch. Other than that, the key functions the same as a regular mechanical key, matching wafers inside the lock with the combination cut onto the key.

I told him that if he wanted to drive over I’d look at it. If I couldn’t fix it, there would be no charge; but if I could, I’d replace his broken key at a very reasonable price. That seemed like a good idea and he drove right over, parking his Malibu in the driveway.

Sure enough, the key was buried deep inside the ignition switch and there was dried Super Glue on the half of the key still on his key ring. It didn’t take much observation skills to figure out that the wafers which were supposed to bounce up and down had been glued into place, matching the exact cuts of the remaining portion of his key. In short and easy to understand English, the broken key was in for the duration and he needed a new ignition switch. To his luck, the cuts were in descending order ending at the place where the key had snapped in half on a 5 cut.

Know when to walk away
And know when to run…

If I were much younger or perhaps hungrier for a job… any job; but I’m not… Sometimes it’s better to let go of a job knowing the probability it can turn ugly in a heartbeat.

“You’re going to need to take this to the dealer and have their service department fix this one. I don’t want to get into a job that could end up being very expensive only to leave you stranded. While the car is still running I recommend you drive over to the closest Chevy dealer.”

As a courtesy, I called Munday Chevrolet as it’s one of the accounts I service and talked to the service writer to explain the circumstances in order for him to properly figure out what would be required. You could see the dollar signs adding up in his head; but that’s between Munday Chevrolet and their customer.

You never count your money
When you’re sitting at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.

Today, “the gambler he broke even,” didn’t make any money; but didn’t lose any either.

Being able to sense your proximity to a bottomless pit while walking, discern between the knock of close friend from that of a bill collector at your door or recognize a job that would be a real nightmare; all these are acquired skills and worth remembering when the cards are on the table. Thanks go out to Kenny Rogers for recording an important message. Now that’s an ace that you can keep.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

Special notice: The Moral Liberal will be taken off the internet at the end of March for an indefinite period. It’s been a great ride and a great read.

6 thoughts on “The Gambler and Locksmith Work

  1. Losing Car Keys is very annoying Situation. Locksmiths deal with car key replacements all the time. That way you can see for yourself if the locksmith is courteous, professional, and charges a fair price for their services.

  2. Bellevue Locksmith, this is a good question to pose about since most seem to think that a locksmith is all about operning car when in reality a locksmith has a lot more to deal with on a daily basis. With more awareness people will be able to draw from the skills of a locksmith which includes preventive work so that one does not have to stand outside the house or car in the cold or even worse, so that the break-in does not have to happen!

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