I took up lock picking recently.
The idea came in a moment when I was cleaning out the kids’ toy room and came across a pick set I’d ordered a couple years ago but never really used. So I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials, read a manual, and started working on “bypassing pin tumblers.”
It was hard at first. Really, really hard. And because I’m a stubborn son of a bitch and won’t let something go until I get it, I kept a pick set and practice padlock with me all the time.
Now I go to restaurants and order carry-out food a couple times a week. Prior to my newfound picking passion, I might take a deck of cards and wait, fidgeting with the cards doing false shuffles and flourishes. No one cared.
Everyone gets interested in the guy at the bar with a pick set and a trainer lock. Guys, give it a shot. You’ll probably get at least one phone number for your effort, plus it’s a hell of an ice breaker at a bar.
Funny thing about picking is when you start you learn how many people share your interest. I know at least two magicians, one who consults for “Fool Us,” that are quite proficient lock pickers. A guy I know who does repo is amazing with a rake and just touch.
The SRO at my kids’ school is interested in my hobby, too. I think for different reasons. Serves her for being nosy, anyway. It’s not like we can use our phones in car line.
Every lock is kind of like a puzzle you have to manipulate solely by touch. That’s what makes the art of lockpicking so interesting to me and so banal for millennials who’ve developed few muscles in their hands beyond those required to text.
My wife is very supportive of my new hobby, which is nice because the woman hates magic with a passion. The kids are so/so; my son has a greater interest than my daughter. I suspect his analytical mind at work enjoys seeing how locks operate.
As far as my parents, they’ve not stopped asking why I didn’t pursue this as a trade. Hindsight being what it is, I could’ve made a lot money for less schooling if I did. Life’s funny like that.
One thing you learn really quickly is repeatedly picking a lock damages its integrity every time. It’s why people tell you as a beginner to never pick a lock on which you rely regularly. So if I ever lock myself out of my house, hopefully I’ll only have to do it once.
Hopefully that won’t be when other people are around because even though wearing face masks are a staple of life now, wearing one and trying to pick a front door lock might not be a good look when cops roll by.
You also can get a decent set for about $30 on Amazon. Honestly, you can get anything on Amazon, but a good set will run you in that range. Don’t even bother with the novelty stuff like the “jack knife” sets, either. Just get a basic SouthOrd or Bogota set and practice.
When you’re practicing, one helpful tip is to use half the pressure you’d think necessary on the tools. What you’re using right now? Halve it. Try THAT for a Zen riddle, motherfuckers.
I’ll see everyone next week. Right now my attention’s focused on a level 3 lock I’ve studied for a couple days now. Everyone have a great weekend, and try something new!