You remember last week I told you that I "had the keys."
The keys, as in the keys to petroleum conglomerate where I work as an unpaid and vastly under appreciated member of the Board of Directors.
Keys, as being in charge.
I often told my students that education is like a key.
"Kids," I’d start, holding my ample key ring high above the desk, "you see all these keys. They open a bunch of doors. A bunch of locks. They are like education.
"Education puts keys on your educational key ring. The better you do in school, the more keys. The more keys, the more doors you can open.
"Sadly, a lot of kids will be walking across the stage on Graduation Night with just one or two keys on their key ring. Grades, yes. Diploma, yeah. But not much more.
"The grades were kinda weak, so the keys are pretty small. They open only small doors. Fast food doors. Hard labor doors. You get my drift.
"The kids with the good grades, get big keys. They open big doors. Lots of them.
"They’ll open the front door to any college they want. In fact, those colleges will pay them to use their key to open the door to their admissions office. Others want to enter, but their key is too small ... if they have one at all.
"So, educational keys are important in life and it is up to you to put them on your key ring ... if you want to open doors in life."
But I digress.
So, about 10 days ago I was "given the keys to the business" because the owners were going to be out of town and the son told me I could "open up."
And I did what any self-respecting temporary "owner" would do — I "lowered the gas prices" over the weekend.
The customers were ecstatic and the bald-headed employee incredulous..
"Hey, dude," I responded, "you said you were going to give me the keys and told me to 'open up.' And I did what you so often do — got your grownup ladder, lugged it over to the signage and flipped the numbers. Except this time, I flipped them lower, of course. And your customers love me and — indirectly — you."
Well, it worked but not for long.
You undoubtedly noticed that the gas prices have bounced back up again.
A couple Board of Directors members were present yesterday, dining on the delicious Krispy Kreme donuts supplied by the office along with genuine Maxwell House coffee, when we heard a lot of banging in the adjacent storage area.
Out he came, almost dwarfed by the ladder, as he snuck across the concrete in the direction of the signage.
"Hmmmmm," said one member, "I wonder what he’s up to?"
"Well, it looks like he wants to show everyone he’s in charge," I responded. "I was afraid it was too good to last."
Up the ladder he went, looking secretively over his should to see if anyone was watching.
We were. (Never did understand why he thought he was invisible.)
After nervously fumbling around with the numbers — math is such a challenge — he slowly started to change the numbers.
First the second number after the dollar amount.
Up and down.
We held our breath.
Finally, he figured out the combination and flipped the numbers.
It came out "3".
Now for the number next to the decimal.
Time seemed to stand still as we held our collective breaths and stopped eating the donuts.
Up went one flap, down went another, then back again.
The suspense was maddening.
Finally, he figured out the number his daddy had told him — "9."
And there it was.
Eight cents above what I had set not so long ago.
The man with the keys rules.
I had make believe keys.
He had the real ones.