I Am Afraid of Keychain Clutterers

I’m shivering right now, just thinking about it.

Shaken to the core, just thinking about how even though you don’t need more than that key to your house, that key to your office, that key to your car and that fourth rotating key that opens things like that lock on the front gate or that public storage deadbolt — that you load up your keychain with things like squishy toys and USB flash drives and pennies with heart-shapes cut in the middle of them and much much more…

You are a keychain clutterer, and you make me cringe more than people eating tin-foil.

The saga of keychain clutterers began simply, like any other huge problem in society. People all had keys and they all looked the same and so people set out to find a way to make people’s keychains appear different. It started with simple engraved plates or initials from your name — a simple P or a simple P.D. was all that was needed. It was simple back then, when all you had to do was turn that rotating keychain kiosk at the hardware store in circles to find the letter that would set your keys apart from everyone else’s.

And then things started to get scary.

People started adding flair to their keychains with an exponential ludicrousness that no one could stop. Simple metallic initial plates turned into charms. Charms turned into leather car logos. Leather car logos turned into mini flashlights. Mini flashlights turned into useless floatable indistinguishable squishy things with logos on them, which quickly allowed the floodgates to open and make it okay for people to add things like mini-flash USB drives, MP3 players, ribbons, plastic logos with ridiculous sayings, smushed pennies, tiny plastic games where all the tiny metallic balls have to be carefully ushered back to their starting holes…

People began to get “key crazy” – adding keys that had no use whatsoever. Leaving keys from jobs that had ended over three years ago on the key ring, “just in case.” Keychains went from simple rings with simple keys into an overblown exercise into a state of mind easily described by the phrase “this is me, hear me jingle!”

I am afraid of keychain clutterers who can’t fit their keys into their front jeans pocket.

And yet, society continues to embrace the act of attaching larger-than-life items onto small metallic rings. The workplace and physician’s offices now attach huge monolithic pieces of (what seems like) driftwood to the bathroom keychain in an attempt to, I can only imagine, give that one key on that one ring a large-ness they feel a keychain must have. Companies like Pottery Barn are now in the business of creating huge wooden wall-hangings with strong titanium keychain rods to hold at least 10 pounds of keychain clutter. Pants with extra large pockets have only been created by the fashion industry for one reason and one reason only…

You. And your load of lock-opening keys.

If you need more than twenty keys, you have a security issue or the inability to let go of previous locks and doors that no longer are a part of your life. If you need to attach a biorhythmic flashing flourescent music-box toy you got at Hot Topic to your keychain or a life-size stuffed version of Ozzy Osbourne to your keys, there’s something wrong. If you really, truly feel the need to attach two mini dogs, a magnet, a Swiss Army knife, a first aid kit, a bottle opener, a Mobile Suit Gundam mini-maquette, a metallic logo that reads Keep on Truckin’, a magic 8 ball, the flag of Iceland, a mini Pez dispenser, twelve lucky charms, three foreign coins and a mini Etch-a-Sketch to your already burgeoning ball of metal… there’s a bigger problem to deal with here.

If when I hug you I have to question whether you’re happy to see me or if you’ve got eighty pieces of metal and plastic attached to one tiny steel ring all shoved and packed into the spare corners of your denim darkness — well, I’m going to have to back up, carefully give you one of those polite smiles and stay as far away from you as I can.

If every single time we go out you are constantly asking someone to put your ball ‘o metal in their trunk… If every single time you go out on the town you complain that you don’t have a purse big enough to hold your keys… If your right bicep is bigger than your left bicep simply due to the fact that you use your right hand to carry your keychain on a daily basis…it’s time to re-think what should be on a keychain and what should stay, locked away, in that quarter-fed supermarket glass-encased crappy toy dispenser. And you’re going to have to do it on your own.

Because I can’t help you.

Because the fear envelops me.

Because you’ve got just too many things on that damn keychain.

30 comments on “I Am Afraid of Keychain Clutterers

  1. Kevin - March 28, 2006 at 6:49 am -

    My wife and I work second jobs at a gym and, on many occasions, people will just hand us their keychains as they check in because they’ve trimmed down their membership cards to just the photo and the bar code and made a key tag out of it.

    The mass and overall heft of these keychains astounds us both. Big flashy keychains, two or three key fobs, 7(ty million) keys, twenty key tags for various stores, pocket knifes (hope you’re not going to the airport anytime soon), flashlights… dear lord.

    My keychain has five keys (all necessary), three keyring items (very small), and one key tag. When all items are clustered together, I can fit the whole thing in the palm of my hand and enclose it completely and it cannot be seen.

    That should be the method by which people determine the max amount of stuff for their keyrings… can you close your hand around it without a problem. Obviously, Andre the Giant (RIP) would have been able to keep a far greater amount of frilly crap on his keyring than, say, Warwick Davis. But…

  2. jimi - March 28, 2006 at 7:38 am -

    Unfortunately i am up to sometthing like 9 necessary keys, and a car remote on my keychain. Then, when you have that many on there and like 4 of them look identical, you need some way to distinguish them so that you don’t have to stand outside your office door looking like someone trying to break in…which means more crap cluttering the keyrings to help figure out which is which. Who else is ready for a scanable microchip? Would that help your fears Pauly? Or does that open a different can of fear altogether. (Holy mixed metaphor, Batman!)

  3. Pauly D - March 28, 2006 at 7:40 am -

    Jimi – If everyone just got these thumb-print scanners to work, we wouldn’t need a single, solitary key!

  4. susan - March 28, 2006 at 7:46 am -

    Your blog entries always make me think: When I hug someone who “is happy to see me” it feels completely UNLIKE “eighty pieces of metal and plastic attached to one tiny steel ring”. But that could be interesting too. Um, no, too scary.

  5. […] Words For My Enjoyment » Blog Archive » I Am Afraid of Keychain Clutterers The saga of keychain clutterers began simply, like any other huge problem in society. People all had keys and they all looked the same and so people set out to find a way to make people’s keychains appear different. It started with simple engraved plates or initials from your name — a simple P or a simple P.D. was all that was needed. It was simple back then, when all you had to do was turn that rotating keychain kiosk at the hardware store in circles to find the letter that would set your keys apart from everyone else’s. […]

  6. Bre - March 28, 2006 at 7:56 am -

    I’m not a “keys in the pocket” kind of girl (thats what purses are for!), but I’m decidedly against those plastic rectangles with clever sayings like “There’s too much blood in my alcohol system!”

  7. Dave2 - March 28, 2006 at 8:06 am -

    I am not a keychain clutterer, but I’ve always aspired to be. This past weekend I added one of those little LED lights from Brookstone, so I am on my way.

  8. Rabbit - March 28, 2006 at 8:11 am -

    I used to be one of those people with dozens of toys, flashlights, etc. attached to my keychain. I was in college at the time. When my parents picked me up for the long drive home, my keychain was the only thing that could keep the baby sister quiet for the entire hour ride.

    Now I have four keys on a tiny keychain that can actually fit in the palm of my freakishly small hand.

    . . . And I don’t go for long rides with children.

  9. Apryl - March 28, 2006 at 8:28 am -

    oh my goodness! those last 3 paragraphs had me laughing uncontrollably! hilarious, Pauly!

  10. annabel lee - March 28, 2006 at 8:30 am -

    It’s all about the magic 8 ball.

    But I don’t have one on my keychain.

  11. Adri - March 28, 2006 at 8:39 am -

    I accidentally threw out my cluttered keychain at lunch one day and didn’t notice til much later… had to have the bf drive 40 miles to bring me my spare. Now I just have my 6 keys, a mink tail, and a mini snaffle bit and it all fits neatly into a pocket. The mink gets a LOT of weird looks, tho, and nobody knows what a snaffle is unless they are horse people too.

  12. Wendi - March 28, 2006 at 8:53 am -

    you don’t know me at all, do you pauly. 5 keys and a remote around a little metal circle…geesh…and i thought you knew me

  13. Danielle - March 28, 2006 at 9:00 am -

    Oh, amen to the keychain hatred. And let’s not forget the curly telephone-cord bracelets that some people use to hold the precious keychain tchotchkes. So they don’t lose them.

    As if.

  14. Pauly D - March 28, 2006 at 9:57 am -

    Danielle – Thank you for putting wordfs to the “curly telephone cord bracelet.” I was trying to think of what those were called, and you gave it the perfect name.

    I hate those things.

  15. Eve - March 28, 2006 at 10:03 am -

    I must admit, in the past I’ve committed excessive keychain adornment sins, but I’ve realized in the end, I’m only hurting myself. I only have 2 keys: front door & mailbox. No need to load up with multi-keychains.

    For the most part, my keys live in my handbag, which luckily has an attachment for keys (so as to not lose them at the bottom of the bag). For this, you really need to have a little something besides your keys for some added weight. For that, I’ve added one of those tiny tiny pill holders (a necessity, NOT an accessory), and 1 Superman dog tag (the husband has the matching one).

  16. H.F. Peterman - March 28, 2006 at 10:44 am -

    I went on succesful pocket diet years ago and have been key-clutter-free for 2 years now.

  17. jodi - March 28, 2006 at 10:58 am -

    i know women who add a lot of stuff to their keychains, simply so they can find them quickly in their ginormous handbags.

  18. monkeyinabox - March 28, 2006 at 11:26 am -

    Hey, it’s my damn keychain. Back off!

  19. Nicole - March 28, 2006 at 12:55 pm -

    I like a keychain that’s unique, but not cluttered. I have 4 sets of essential keys, but only 2 (small) decorative keychains.

    My Grandmother used to have a huge circular key ring with something like 40 keys on it (although time may have exaggerated the number a bit) but I remember once I was reaching up on the counter for something and they fell on me and practically knocked me out. I have had a fear of large, cluttered keychains ever since.

  20. sandra - March 28, 2006 at 1:33 pm -

    Hmm. You know what I hate? Giant carabeaner (I know I’m spelling it wrong — and I don’t care…well, maybe I do, since I’m pointing it out…) keychain people. In all likelihood, you’re never going to need your keys while climbing a mountain — so why on earth would you add one of those to your friggin’ keychain? It’s madness.

  21. Hope - March 28, 2006 at 1:46 pm -

    My mother made me put a “rape whistle” on my key chain when I went to college. I still have it on there, although I forget it’s there. It’s saved me many times… Just kidding, but it would be kind of cool if it had.

  22. dgm - March 28, 2006 at 1:56 pm -

    swiss army knife carrier here, loud and proud. i can clip spare threads off of clothes, open bottles of beer or wine, punch a new hole in a too-big belt, trim and file my fingernails, and slice open my thumb to get the splinter out. and what can you do? open a door.

    tha’s what i’m talkin’ about.

  23. better safe than sorry - March 28, 2006 at 2:14 pm -

    maybe we should all just be microchipped and eliminate the need for all those keys.

  24. Glen - March 28, 2006 at 5:02 pm -

    What about the sheer applications of such a useful ball of metal? Not only does it double as a life saving weapon, but it opens your car, your work office, your home, that lockbox under the sink, your friend’s houses, that cabinet with all the dvds, a secret usb flash drive, all the doors in your house, and a nuclear reactor that only one other key matches to turn on the explosive powers of the atom.

    Oh wait, that’s a bad thing. I hate the jingle, too. It’s like having 25 pennies in your pocket.

  25. meme - March 28, 2006 at 5:27 pm -

    ever since i made copies of the keys to your house/car/office my keychain has been weighing me down something bad

  26. Jennifer Lankenau - March 28, 2006 at 6:42 pm -

    Hey, I just have a carabiner on mine, and that’s just to clip it to my backpack when i go hiking.

  27. Elizabeth - March 29, 2006 at 5:31 am -

    It seems like every store with a “Rewards card” program gives you a teeny plastic card bearing the store’s name and a barcode to put on your keychain. I always throw them away, but my Dad must have half a dozen mixed in with his keys.

  28. belle - March 29, 2006 at 7:02 am -

    i fell into the ‘jailkeeper ring’ fad a few years ago – a huge ring to carry a few keys and an unlimited number of charms and bangles. essentially, a yuppie clutter method. fortunately, that season passed, and i am back to five necessary keys on one ring, with one identifying charm. freedom…

  29. Jennifer - March 29, 2006 at 3:16 pm -

    I had a teacher who had a keychain that was bigger than a beachball.

    I am so not making this up. I didn’t even know they MADE loops of metal that big.

  30. Belinda - March 31, 2006 at 11:19 am -

    I was oblivious to this phenomenon. Alex and I both have our keys on the same thing: a ring. About the size of a quarter, the ring is. The only non-key item we have on our rings is the remote door-lock thing for our respective vehicles, which is small.

    Dang. Now I’m totally going to be staring at people’s keychains at the grocery store.

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