Saturday, April 22, 2006

Still on the subject of losing and finding but replacing grimace with grin, here are a few hundred words devoted to tears of laughter. The "Lost and found" column is not always a sad place …
IF master of the laugh John Cleese had twigged onto the black comedy of the keyless in the marvellous community of classified advertising there may never been a need for a dead parrot skit.
And society could have been spared an attack with fresh fruit. The keyless couldn’t get their car door open to get to the greengrocer.
The keyless certainly would make a better skit than the Minister for Silly Walks.
It would be a mime act because the keyless, those poor unfortunates who resort to "lost keys" classified advertising, are too terrified to talk.
They don’t know who has their keys so their lives are ruled by fear.
They’d certainly be no good in a singles bar because the conversation falls flat pretty quickly.
They don’t know who has their keys so they are suspicious even of their mums.
They can’t tell you where they live because they might be robbed.
They can’t tell you the type of car they drive because it might be the vital clue that lets the key finder track down the right door and ignition.
They can’t tell you what any of the keys on the ring were for because the crooks could get more information to misuse.
They can’t tell you what they do for a living, or what they do for recreation.
They can’t tell you their names or who they are.
No, this isn’t funny at all.
The keyless need some pretty intensive counselling. Which reminds me of the time I had the privilege of interviewing Cleese in the early 80s when he came on an Australian tour backing a mental health group’s national campaign.
One of the world’s funniest men played it dead straight when he faced the media, and reporter after reporter left the press conference to return jokeless to their editors.
Somehow I managed to touch his funnybone and as a closing gesture he reached out and tweaked my nose on national TV as his parting gesture.
The "presser" erupted in hilarity for the last 10 seconds.
Now I have my place in history as the bloke with the Cleese-tweaked nose but from my calls this week it would take a lot more than that to cheer up those who have lost keys.
I sympathise particularly with the woman whose husband parked their car in Ray McCarthy Drive on a recent Friday for her to drive it home after work.
She used her keys, not knowing that hubbie had stashed his keys in a special hiding spot on their car.
Understandably she wouldn’t tell me where he hides the keys. The big fat bunch has all the originals for the family’s locks.
There are door keys but she won’t tell me to what; vehicle keys, of course, but she won’t reveal the model; padlock keys, but she won’t say what’s padlocked …
On the bright side, hubbie took it all in his stride but he’ll be laughing when she gets them back and we can all start communicating again and telling dead parrot jokes and all that lively stuff.

The column above appeared in the Coffs Harbour, NSW, Advocate in September 2001. A few months later, Classie Corner presented another case study in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin:
Calliope truck driver Tim Howe’s wife Julie says hubby took off for work early one morning with his keys on the truck’s petrol tank.
Julie says there’s nothing funny about losing keys. Tim did not realise the loss until the evening. The fat bunch even had the keys to the doghouse.
"The funniest bit was us driving around at night trying to spot them," she says.
It must have been hilarious when a woman answered their Checkout Classified "lost" notice but had found another set at a railway station, far from the roads Tim had used.
The couple reckons the keys must have fallen off the truck between Calliope and Rockhampton.

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