Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MacGyverism

An innocent paper clip, an old hair pin and a cable tie
It was a *secret that hung over me like a dark cloud. Knowledge of a missing key and locked drawer **haunted my obligatory 8.75+x hours at work almost every single working day. A few months back, I blogged about how some personal things were disappearing from my desk drawers, and how I thought I'd misplaced them, etc, but the inner Sherlock Holmes in me asked a very important question: "How (or why) would I misplace a Hard Rock Cafe coaster and not the bag it came in? (No, I have never had the need to use coasters on my desk, and even if I did, I'd probably not use one I received as a gift)

All problems need some form of preventive counter measure. In this case, I started carrying the drawer key with me wherever I went (before this, I'd just leave it in the office itself, hidden under an unused in/out tray) Now, as a person who misplaces stuff on a rather regular basis (I've been known to have lost things as tiny as hairpins to something as large as gym shoes. True story. I even lost my glasses in a bus once when I was 9 years old, because I left it in my pocket instead of wearing it) this act of carrying around the key was bound to result in a series of interesting disasters. True enough, I realised one fine day that my key had gone missing. It was then I scolded myself for procrastinating on my initial idea of adding it to the bunch of other keys on a keychain. Too late. I searched the place where I empty my pockets each night after work, I searched in the car, I searched in the office itself, and no key was spotted hiding itself whilst laughing at my silliness in misplacing it.

About a week ago, I decided to put an end to the misery of not being able to access said drawer, and I figured I might as well try doing something my childhood hero would have done. Enter MacGyver.

It all began with the theory that you could use a flat and somewhat flexible object to push the locked mechanism down (MacGyver wannabe has performed such an act on a crazy cabinet in the recent past)

Part 1
Trial #1: Flexible plastic ruler - failed
Trial #2: Random piece of flat metal from the unused (and disassembled) in/out tray - failed

Next, I figured that I might as well attack the lock with the end of an innocent paper clip. Other than being bent even more out of shape, the paper clip did nothing else. Also while searching frantically for the key in my car, I found an old hairpin stuck firmly on the carpet from the days of my disasterous haircut, and figured I'd give that a try as well. That failed too. In the end, in a rather half baked attempt (just to say that I tried doing something three times), I inserted the flat end of a cable tie into the hole. What can I say? Third time's a charm? Probably not.

Part 2
Trial 1: Innocent paper clip: Failed
Trial 2: Old hairpin: Failed
Trial 3: Cable tie: FAILED! (Otherwise known as what was I thinking??)

I gave up, cursing how everything looked so simple on TV, and resigned to the fact that I'd have to get one of the maintenance guys at work to help me out the next day although my sister did suggest I use a prong from any fork - I didn't have one at hand, though. It's with a huge sigh of relief to note here that even his attempts at MacGyverism failed (he used a test pen, a flat head screwdriver and maybe some other stuff which I didn't get to see as I had to run off for a short meeting) Upon returning, he told me that the locked drawer finally only relented after being (ahem) violated by a drill. So yeah, I have a brand new lock and set of keys now and have been reunited with my much loved paper clips and post-it notes.

* Drama
** I think the thing I missed most about not being able to have access to the drawer were paper clips and post -it notes. Of course all I needed to do was ask our steno for new supplies, but I have an affinity towards overdramatising rather mundane stuff, so I just waited to see how long I could last without new paper clips and post its. Turns out, life goes on with or without them!

22 comments:

  1. he does make it seem so easy

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    1. Way too easy, and he had style too!

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  2. Life goes on without paper clips and post-its? I don't know if I can believe that. I'm glad it was opened eventually. Even if it did take a drill and another lock and set of keys. Just don't lose these ones.

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    1. Things that need paper clips can be stapled, and post-its can be substituted with pieces of paper stapled onto the document, so life did go on, despite being slightly inconvenient.

      I do hope I don't lose these too. :D

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  3. hahaha always easier on TV. At least you gave it plenty of tries. Paper clips and post-its, without any things could get dire.

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    1. I suppose that's why they have shows like Mythbuster - to make you feel better about not being able to pull off stunts that you saw on the telly.

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  4. Good on you for giving it a go Terra

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    1. :)

      I certainly was trying to avoid that whole 'damsel in distress' scenario.

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  5. I recently found myself unable to get into my garage - the lock had broken. It cost me £75 to call out a "locksmith" who spent 30 mins trying to spring the lock. The damage he caused trying to break in (drills, hammers, wire cutters and various other unidentifiable weapons) caused so much damage the entire garage door had to be replaced. I still can't decide if I had (note past tense) an unusually secure garage door or he was just a lousy locksmith....I suspect the latter.

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    1. I suspect the latter, too. A locksmith should have been able to perform the task with minimal damage. Sorry about your damaged garage door, though. That surely would have sucked.

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  6. at least you tried :)
    McGyver was such huge influence on us, wasn't he ?
    miss him.

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    1. Oh yes. I loved watching that show back in the day. Come to think of it, I sort of miss him too.

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  7. At least you attempted to pick the lock creatively. Once I lost the key to my locker (that had a small padlock on the door) and I bought a small saw to cut it. Took me some hours but that did it :)

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    1. Oh, I suppose that was the best way to break open a padlock. Some guys at work recently told me there's a champion lock breaker at work whose hobby seems to be breaking into other people's lockers.

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  8. I've always wanted to make my own set of lockpicks actually so I could do something in this kind of a situation. :P

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    1. I may need something like that too, I guess. You can never go wrong with a lockpick!

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  9. I am always locking myself out of something. It is probably time I gets some breaking into things advice.

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    1. Oh yes. It will definitely come in handy :)

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  10. So do you have a new plan for keeping the stuff in your desk safe?

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    1. Well, I've removed all my personal stuff from the drawer, that's about it. Nothing much I can do at the moment (we'll be getting a new office sometime this year)

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    2. One more thing... I kinda lost your blog url when my old laptop died. Would totally appreciate it if you could mail me the link at terra.shield(at)yahoo.com

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    3. Sorry - I just have hardly been at my computer. But looks like you tracked me down anyway!

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