A Life I Never Wanted


Written by celebrated locksmith John Locke-Smith 

I was born. I lived in the ghettos of Luxembourg, with my parents Gretta Smith and Philip Locke Sr. I was an only child (I made sure of that), and was eventually named. The naming process, however, was a long and painful one, and one I would rather not share. Given the abysmal attendance rate of this blog, I feel at ease posting my life story here, for no one to see.

For the first two years of my life my parents were unable to come with a proper name for me, so decided to just call me, over the phone, rather than talk to me in person. This way they would avoid any awkward encounters with me like not knowing my name or trying to feed me food using the famous airplane technique. After 9/11 they were taking no chances. I had to eat, bathe, and survive entirely on my own. I was fend zoned.

As such I used my phone to order halal from our local place, Palatte Stein, and have them mash up the food for me with a masher (a European style mash job of course,  given we are in Europe). For those of you Yankees out there who think a mash job refers to the more common eating of M*A*S*H 35mm footage, think again, and then again (I know you yanks may need to think a bit before understanding this). Ultimately, as I fed myself and grew I had my sights set on being an optometrist. This, along with my back up plan (being a chiropractor), were soon supplanted when my parents came up a name for me: John Locke-Smith.

They reached this name by combining their two last names and then taking a hyphen from family friend Sid Euler Black (he frequently wrote using hyphens, except in his short mystery piece “The Case of the Missing Hyphens.” The twist was their was a literal case full of the world’s hyphens, which is opened at the end, releasing them back to our stories and names. It was written as an intended sequel to Pandora’s Box, though he couldn’t track down its author to get the rights. Hence why the character in Sid’s work is a PA named Andor.)

But back to my name. First off, I finally got to live with my parents again. Being accepted back into the fray was not unwelcome (even with my inexperience on drums and the Lars Ulrich type scrunity I endured, we wrote a few good songs. Fun fact: How to Save a Life was originally entitled Why’d You Go Off And Kill  Yourself? ). The problem with finally having a name was that I had to deal with all the baggage that came with it. I never wanted to be a locksmith. But the name was too powerful. Everyday a man on the street would come up to me. He would then rob and beat me in chess  (remember this is the ghetto of Luxembourg). Then they would see my Bourger King reward card and say “Locke-Smith? What are you? A locksmith?”.  They’d kick me if I said no. Also non-robber people seeing my name would have a similar reaction (minus the robbing and kicking. Chess was still very much in the equation).

After the relentless questioning, I begrudgingly picked a lock college to go to. On the merits of my name I got into the world renowned Locksford University (also on account of them leaving the back door open) . After graduating I quickly found unemployment at a store right outside Vienna. Eventually I traveled worldwide in seek of employment. These were trying times, as I wasn’t sure if it was Central, Eastern, or Pacific (Mountain was ruled out fast).  Eventually I made it big designing the world’s largest lock . Millions tried but none could pick it, except me.

Yet despite all this success I still felt empty inside . I hated being a locksmith even more than I did being a Locke-Smith. But such is life.


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