Lessons from a locksmith, musings about lawyers’ fees

Another Tuesday, this one was on the Fourth of July, 2023 and the Old Men of the Mountain’s breakfast was at Hillbelly’s in Westerlo. Google finally changed the name of the restaurant to Hillbelly’s ─ before it kept referring to it as Hillbilly’s.

Many of the restaurants are some distances from where the folks who are members live. Hillbelly’s is one of these for those who live almost due north of Westerlo. Normal time for these OMOTM to make it to Hillbelly’s would be about an hour.

This was their first trip and this scribe does not know if they used GPS or not but they arrived just as some of the OFs were leaving. This carload said it took two hours to get there. They claimed they wound up in Greenville.

One of the OFs said someone there, or at least on the way, gave them directions that were pretty good so they could get to Hillbelly’s. At least once in Westerlo there is not too much there: a deli, some churches, a post office, bank, library, fire department, Hannay Hose Reel, and Hillbelly’s. That’s about it.


Wrong group

This is an after-the-fact communiqué. This happened during the breakfast, but this scribe did not know about it until afterwards.

A new member was invited to attend the breakfast to see if he liked the crowd. This new member arrived rather late and most of the OMOTM were already there. Apparently, arriving late, he noticed there was no place to sit in the back room where the OMOTM were.

Tuesday morning at Hillbelly’s there was another group of 12 meeting at the same time and in the front section, which is part restaurant and part store and there was space there. According to the fellow reporting the incident, the new guy-to-be thought they were the OMOTM and sat with them — until they started their Bible lesson.

The apparent new member told the OMOTM who invited him he knew now that was the wrong group. Well duh.


Stuck key

One of the OFs mentioned how he was having trouble turning a key in a lock and became rather irritated so he proceeded to go get a vise grip to give extra leverage on turning that key. No lock was going to outwit this OF, but it did. The key snapped off, leaving the OF with a piece of the key in the vise grip, and the other in the lock.

As luck would have it, this OF was sitting directly across from an OF who is a locksmith; the locksmith said this was one of the most common problems he runs into. He proceeded to explain how to handle this type of situation.

The locksmith OF said: Do not try and twist the key; instead spray WD-40 or an oil that the OF recommended (this scribe did not catch that), which was something like 3-in-One oil, in the lock and insert the key in and out several times, do not twist, just in and out; the key will become freer as this is done.

When the key is working in and out freely, try and twist, doing it very easy; the lock should then open. The OF said do not use graphite, or grease; all this does is collect grime and dust, which makes matters worse.

This OF began giving a lesson on locks and how they were made and worked. The OF also said most all locks are made the same: The top moves and the bottom is stationary.

Just like flush toilets, keyed locks, or a form thereof, go back to Roman times. My goodness, some things have not changed in thousands of years.

The way the OF explained it, the Roman locks were more like combination locks. As mentioned before with Roman engineering, using Roman numerals, and now combination locks, those lettered numbers somehow worked well.


Legal costs

The OFs then talked a bit about the attorney ads on TV. One OF thought attorneys charged about $200 to $400 an hour, more or less.

So, as one OG thought, the insurance company offers a grand, the lawyers say they can get more, they do, they get you $1,500 hundred dollars — big whoop! They charged $800 maybe, or more, to get it.

That is a quickie two hours of work — maybe. Whoops $1,500 minus 800 bucks; let’s see, now you get $700. Hmmm. This is just lay people talking; it might not work this way.

This is nothing against lawyers because, when the OFs are in trouble, or selling a home, or planning a will, who is the first person the OF will run to? A lawyer.

Who knows the ins and outs and makes things run smoothly in routine daily life? A lawyer. But just wait until one gets into politics, which is another story.


Mourning Bob Giebitz

The Old Men of the Mountain would like to send our condolences and prayers for the passing of an OMOTM, Bob Giebitz, known for his gardening abilities.

The Old Men of the Mountain that traveled to Hillbelly’s and solved all the world’s problems using the best lessons learned, passing the test with high marks in the lessons of common sense taught by the school of hard knocks were: Wally Guest, Marty Herzog, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Doug Marshall, Russ Pokorny, Frank Fuss, Ed Goff, Roland Tozer, Rick LaGrange, Pete Whitbeck, Paul Whitbeck, Pete Parisi, Jake Herzog, Gerry Chartier, Bob Donnelly, Dave Hodgetts, John Dab, Paul Guiton, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Dick Dexter, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Rev. Jay Francis, and me.