Need a tighter lock on my brain |

Need a tighter lock on my brain

Janet Urquhart

I’m losing my mind. Unless it’s already gone. That’s the tricky part – recognizing that it’s missing, if in fact it is. At any rate, I can’t tax my apparently diminished mental capacity with

such musings right now. I’ve got more important things to think about – namely remembering the combination to my bike lock.

I bought it a year ago and I’ll be really peeved if I have to throw it out because the secret, four-digit combo has escaped my addled gray matter without leaving a forwarding address.

It’s one of those tightly coiled jobs – you know, the kind that would take a thief with a bolt cutter about five seconds to render useless. My bike could still disappear faster than a phone number stored in my short-term memory.

The locking mechanism is outfitted with

four tumblers, each numbered zero to nine. Here’s the best part – I got to select the combination, you know, so I could pick a number I wouldn’t forget.

I’m pretty sure I wrote it down, too, I just can’t remember where.

My annoyance at having forgotten the combination is difficult to explain, given that I’ve hated that lock ever since I plunked down the cash to buy it.

That coiled-up cable has proven embarrassingly difficult to use. Trying to lock up my bike with it is like wrestling with some spring-loaded contraption they sell on late-night TV to develop upper-body physique. Other people endure moments of humiliation on a challenging stretch of rocky trail; I look like a putz trying to lock up my bike on a city sidewalk.

You’d think I’d be happy to have an excuse to chuck it.

Instead, it has been sitting on my coffee table, coiled, locked and taunting me. It’s like picking up a Rubik’s Cube every night in front the TV, turning the little dials to every conceivable combination of numbers that have some meaning to me, from my Social Security number to my height.

I’ve tried my ATM pin number; post office box number; the last four digits of various phone numbers; and the dates and years of significant birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and breakups. (Please, don’t let me be so pathetic that I’d memorialize a heartbreak with my bike lock combination.)

Then I tried them all backward – right to left instead of left to right. No luck.

That’s when I remembered, I have another bike lock – the kind that opens with a key. And, I actually know where the key is – it’s in the lock, which is in my basement storage unit, which is secured with a padlock. Now if I could just remember the combination.

Janet Urquhart has noticed plenty of locals leave their bikes unlocked. She’ll just park hers next to a better one. Her e-mail address is

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