Just Remember that Somebody Had to Consider the Possibilities


My daughters now have scooters, and scooter to school. The school has helpfully provided a bike rack to lock their scooters to, and we’ve provided the locks.

Specifically, we purchased these interesting combination locks that unlock when you spell a particular word. The locks have four letter keys, and a number of different words are possible. It’s also easier to remember a word than it is a particular combination.

I find these locks fascinating and have spent some time looking up how many different words are possible. One afternoon, I made a discovery. My internal monologue was going something like this:

“Let’s see. We have an “F”. And a “U”. And a “K” in the last spot… but no “C” under spot number 3. Huh. And we have an “S” and an “H” and a “T” in the last spot… but no “I” under spot number 3 either. That’s amazing.

What’s amazing is that somebody clearly went through and checked all possible combinations for four letter words that parents would likely want removed, and made sure that said combinations weren’t possible. It’s an impressive piece of work, and I wonder how much they got paid for it.

I’m also reminded of the story about Samuel Johnson, the author of the Dictionary, who was approached by a young woman who praised him for not putting any “naughty words” in his book. “Ah!” says Samuel. “So, you looked for them, did you?”

I’m pleased to say that my father went home from the hospital this past Sunday. The heart bypass operation was a success. He had five bypasses in all, and while that number makes us draw breath, especially when we were initially told that surgeons expected to do only two, doctors assured us that the number five really isn’t much worse than, say, one or two. The remaining three cases may have been borderline, but the surgeons wisely said to themselves, “well, we have him open anyway, so…”

He is now home and recovering his strength. It’s still slow going, but every day he makes a little more progress and things should be back to normal in a few weeks. One thing we have really appreciated is the outpouring of support from friends and family. It was good to know that all of that positive thought and energy was behind us.

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