What is the “Key to the City”, anyway?

KeytotheCityThis is one of those dangerously ponderous blog entry-like blog entries, but . . .  just what the hell is the “Key to the City”, anyway?

We’ve seen it on television and in film, this award that is bestowed by a mayor to someone to honor their heroism or service to the community.  Usually it looks like some giant old-fashioned key, with some sort of pointless engraving on it.  If you’re deemed worthy, you are hereby awarded with the Key to the City.

I have questions.

First: Why a key?  What makes a key a symbolic object?  I mean, is it merely a coincidence that it’s about the same size as — and works roughly like — a big dick?  There’s a prestigious prize, if I do say so myself:  “Here, Mr. Perkins.  In honor of your tireless dedication to the service of our community and its citizens, I hereby drop a big, stiff dick in your hand.  Congratulations!”  Wouldn’t a big iron dildo communicate that sentiment just as suitably?  But why a key as opposed, say, a plaque or a medal?  How about an engraved fountain pen?  You can at least use the pen to sign the foreclosure sheet on your house when you drink yourself into bankruptcy.  How about a cannonball?  How about two cannonballs, as a matching set to go with the big key?  Think that one over.

Second: Does the key actually unlock something?  And if so, who in the hell makes a lock that big?  I’ve seen a couple of bank vaults up close in my time, and I’ve never seen anything on it that would make a key like that useful.  Maybe the Key to the City is supposed to work in the jail system, and it’s supposed be some sort of “get out of jail free” card.

Third: So what kind of privileges go along with having the Key to The City?  Do you get a free breakfast every so often at Aunt Millie’s House of Potato Pancakes?  Do you get to take a shit in the Town Gazebo every so often without worrying about getting arrested?  Do you get to push someone off the water tower or off the courthouse clock tower to his death every once in a while?  Or are you the person people point to and say, “There goes an uppity doucehbag with The Key to The City!”  If that’s all there is, then I’d tell them to save the key for someone else.

Fourth: Is there just the one key?  After all, the call it “The Key to The City”.  So it it the only one, or are there others?  And if there are others, then how special are you for running around town with a key that other people have exact copies of?  Why do they call it The Key to The City if there’s more than one?  Maybe that key unlocks the liquor cabinet on the police chief’s office.  Terrific!  But look who you’re standing in line to drink screw-top wine with: The guy who won the State Fair hard-boiled egg-eating contest four straight years, and the dumb bastard who survived getting struck by lightning twice in the same afternoon.

If that’s the kind of social circle you end up with once you’re bestowed with the Key to the City, then maybe I’ll pass on this “honor”.

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