Cidu Bill on Apr 6th 2016


Filed in Bill Bickel, CIDU, Dave Blazek, Loose Parts, comic strips, comics, humor | 30 responses so far

30 Responses to “Key”

  1. Bob in Nashville Apr 6th 2016 at 01:42 am 1

    Riffing on how a lot of gas stations used to have restroom keys attached to anything from a license plate to half a baseball bat. The apparent theory being that nobody’s gonna walk off with the key if it’s on something they can’t hold without being obvious.

  2. D McKeon Apr 6th 2016 at 01:49 am 2

    > A vomitorium is a passage situated below or behind a tier of seats in an amphitheatre or a stadium, through which big crowds can exit rapidly at the end of a performance.

    So, why would anyway want to bring back the key to the egress?
    If they did, they would be right back where they started.

  3. Meryl A Apr 6th 2016 at 02:15 am 3

    Not just gas stations. Our local Joann’s (fabric and craft chain store) has taken a grid which used to go along the front edge of a shelf to keep stuff from falling off, over a foot long and 4 inches wide, and covered it completely in fancy decorative making tape and attached a key to the public bathroom to it. (The had a men’s room and women’s room - each a single - and changed it to a customers’ room and an employees’ room.) We tend to go there after lunch and I generally need to make a stop - Robert never saw the key before this past week and was laughing like crazy when he saw it - he could not believe that they were that afraid of it disappearing!

    I did have a client downtown Manhattan in an older building. I have a feeling that the last time he saw the key to the ladies room was when he moved into the place some decades earlier and his wife stopped in to see the place. If I needed the ladies room I would go to another client who was coincidentally in the same building and borrow their key. Maybe if it was attached to something large he would not have lost it.

  4. Cidu Bill Apr 6th 2016 at 02:23 am 4

    But why what looks like a chunk out of a Greek temple?

    The men’s room key at the Exxon station isn’t attached to a piece of a gas pump.

  5. feuerstein Apr 6th 2016 at 02:54 am 5

    The key isn’t attached to something in order to keep anyone from stealing it.

    The purpose is to keep it from being misplaced or forgotten, and easy to recognise. For example, if someone leaves it in the lock without returning it, it’s easy to find again. When you give it to someone, the “keychain” leaves no doubt which lock it opens.

    Using a 250lb chunk out of a roman column serves that purpose very nicely.

    From the setting, I think this is a bar. The key seems to be for the unisex room in back of ancient bars and restaurants and hay-stations, for customers with acute stomach problems. The restroom, after all, is behind the next bush.

  6. Kilby Apr 6th 2016 at 03:33 am 6

    D McKeon is absolutely correct @2 with the definition, but this comic is playing on the commonly held (but false) assumption that a vomitorium is where bulimic Romans went right after the orgy.

    @ feuerstein (5) - The “not stealing” is absolutely an intentional side-benefit. It makes it impossible to put the key in your pocket. Many customers then forget to give the key back. That may not be intentional “stealing”, but the result is the same.

  7. feuerstein Apr 6th 2016 at 03:50 am 7

    Kilby, so you’re telling me that, “put the key in your pocket”, isn’t a form of “misplaced or forgotten”, but rather a crime. Interesting.

  8. Kilby Apr 6th 2016 at 04:30 am 8

    @ feuerstein (7) - No, I am telling you that from the gas station’s point of view, it is irrelevant whether the person intended to steal the key, or merely forgot it in his pocket. It leaves the attendant with a locked bathroom, and frequently (because of previous miscreants) no remaining copy of the key to open it.

  9. feuerstein Apr 6th 2016 at 04:43 am 9

    Kilby, so you’re disagreeing with my use of “misplaced or forgotten” on the basis that the formulation doesn’t carry enough prejudice? Interesting.

  10. Kilby Apr 6th 2016 at 05:31 am 10

    @ feuerstein (9) - No, I am disagreeing with your nitpicking about irrelevant details.

  11. The Bad Seed Apr 6th 2016 at 06:12 am 11

    Years ago, I used a restroom at a gas station, and the key was attached to a hubcap. No putting that in your pocket.

  12. tom D Apr 6th 2016 at 07:27 am 12

    In the movie, “The Jerk”, the gas station restroom key was attached to a 15″ tire rim. It’s an old exaggeration gag.

  13. feuerstein Apr 6th 2016 at 07:42 am 13

    Kilby, nope. Just trying to understand what you’re trying to say.

  14. Mitch4 Apr 6th 2016 at 08:54 am 14

    While this cartoon is not a CIDU-repeat, we did not too long ago have a discussion of “vomitorium” in its traditional (in fact ancient) definition and modern misunderstanding. I think the picture was a crowd at a sports event in a stadium.

  15. Powers Apr 6th 2016 at 09:02 am 15

    feuerstein, you seem to me to be trolling. Where did Kilby say that “put the key in your pocket”, even accidentally, is a crime?

  16. Olivier Apr 6th 2016 at 09:14 am 16

    Indeed, I’ve seen those a lot in hotels : even if it’s not that cumbersome, it’s heavy enough one will not forget it in a pocket (and sometimes, people will steal them just because they can). Now, it’s more and more plastic cards but they’re probably easier to replace than keys.

    Here :

    And the former CIDU about a vomitorium was about some TV star singing the national anthem in a stadium, I believe.

  17. feuerstein Apr 6th 2016 at 09:51 am 17

    Powers, Kilby said, “feuerstein (5) - The ‘not stealing’ is absolutely an intentional side-benefit.” This is an insistence for me to personally accept his opinion of what goes on in someones mind when they attach an object to a key.

    The fact is, a key, even if it has a ring and a two inch tag that says “restroom” is ridiculously easy to misplace or forget. And the misplacement and forgetten can happen to employees as easily as to customers.

    With a 250lb stone, even if the customers does absentmindedly put it in the pocket of his toga, he still isn’t likely to forget having done that.

    I don’t see any reason for an insistence to assign “intention” (his word). It just isn’t necessary to assign criminal intent, or express prejudice, or assign blame. It simply helps both employees and customers.

    And Powers, I’ll further point out that Kilby seems to resent me responding to his comment addressed to me, and his comment “@ feuerstein (9) - No, I am disagreeing with your nitpicking about irrelevant details.” is a clear st
    ement that my opinion isn’t valid.

    And I’ll point out, that Kilby has an apparent affinity for prejudice and insults. Shall I post a list of quotes?

    I guess I could suggest that an “insistence to assign blame” is not exactly productive.

  18. Keera Apr 6th 2016 at 11:21 am 18

    Back when a regular key was used to unlock hotel room doors, many hotels had the key attached to a heavy, largish clump in the hopes that something that unwieldy would deter guests from forgetting to hand the key back in. And that may really be what they are trying to do in the comic: Helping the customer to remember to give the key back.

  19. James Pollock Apr 6th 2016 at 11:44 am 19

    “And I’ll point out, that Kilby has an apparent affinity for prejudice and insults. Shall I post a list of quotes?

    I guess I could suggest that an “insistence to assign blame” is not exactly productive.”


  20. Judge Mental Apr 6th 2016 at 12:01 pm 20

    // tangentially related

    I have noticed when renting a car, recently they have started giving me both “keys” (actually huge unwieldy electronic keyless remotes) tethered together with armored cable and locked.

    What is supposed to be accomplished by this? The main advantage of having two keys is in case you lose one of them. In this case, it is impossible to lose one and not the other. On top of that, you have this huge, bulky mass that you have to keep on your person. Additionally, in the event you *do* lose the keys, you now owe upwards of $400 for replacing two fobs instead of one.

    I suppose one of the remotes could “die” on you, but that is unlikely, given that your typical rental car isn’t used for rental purposes long enough for that to happen. One might argue that there is multiple keys for multiple drivers, as lots of modern autos have the feature where it “remembers” the seat position, radio presets, etc. for each discrete driver (key) . But this seems a negligible advantage in view of all the disadvantages, especially because the two keys don’t have any way of distinguishing them. In addition, the rental agreement specifically asks if there are any additional drivers, and my answer has always been no.

  21. feuerstein Apr 6th 2016 at 12:22 pm 21

    James, oops, yep, thanks for tagging it for me. : )

  22. mitch4 Apr 6th 2016 at 12:41 pm 22

    Olivier #16, thanks for the reminder about the previous discussion of “vomitorium”. With your clue to help, I tracked it down as

  23. Cidu Bill Apr 6th 2016 at 04:32 pm 23

    Yes, they would have made for a great Synchronicity post.

  24. Robert Apr 6th 2016 at 04:40 pm 24

    There was a KitH sketch about a bank clerk who reluctantly lends his pen to a customer, and the lengths to which he goes to retrieve it after the customer walks off with it.

  25. Dave in Boston Apr 7th 2016 at 01:47 am 25

    My understanding at the time about gas station keys was that the primary purpose was to keep people from accidentally leaving the key in the bathroom, where the door would lock behind it and require the owner or upper-level manager or whatever to show up with another to be able to get it out.

    As far as rental car key fobs: I think the reason is that the keys need to stay with the car to avoid logistical nightmares; if they kept one of them at the office they’d need a whole system for filing them… and coping if you return the car to a different office, which sometimes happens without having been planned for in advance.

    (I also have had one of the two die on me, or I suspect more accurately it was already dead when I got it. Don’t ask me how/why.)

  26. Bob in Nashville Apr 8th 2016 at 03:58 am 26

    I thought that a vomitorium was a side room off of a Roman feast where diners would empty their stomachs so that they could go back and eat even more without having to stop when full.

  27. Bob Apr 8th 2016 at 12:52 pm 27

    Judge @20 - I agree with Dave in Boston @25 - the rental car agencies are simply making it easier on themselves. When they want to sell the car, they’ll have both keys without any problems regarding where the car has travelled.

  28. Blazek Apr 9th 2016 at 12:33 pm 28

    Okay, this is indeed a play on the old gas station habit of attaching the restroom key to a large object so it’s not pocketed by users. And yes, I was aware of the meaning of vomitorium but played on its common misinterpretation. But what this cartoon, or should I say the public’s reaction to it, did, was remind me that we’re a generation or two past the point where the old non-chain filling stations existed and study like this happened. Now your gas station is also a Quik-Mart with a relatively clean bathroom inside. So I’m more angry at myself for being old and forgetting that so many others aren’t.

  29. Robert Apr 9th 2016 at 02:44 pm 29

    Bob in Nashville - that’s a good example of a thing everybody ‘knows’ that isn’t so. Like George Washington’s wooden teeth, or Napoleon being short.

  30. Meryl A Apr 12th 2016 at 03:03 am 30

    Washington’s teeth - are on display in one of the newer museums at Mt. Vernon. It is one set of them. I think this set was animal teeth - it was also common to use human teeth. It also is set in lead - nice and healthy.

    As to hotels - you meant I can’t get away saying that I forgot the key was in my pocket just because it was a large apple when a girlfriend and I went to the Marriott in Acapulco 40 years or so ago? It’s still around here someplace and the do not disturb from same is still on our downstairs bathroom door.

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