A major hit song of the 1960s, in fact, now considered to be a classic, is Roger Miller’s 1966 rendition of “King of the Road,” lauding the freedom of being a drifter, working only when necessary, and constantly moving on. Everything leads the listener to believe the singer is an honest person with minimal wants and needs. However, at one point he informs us:
I know every engineer on every train All of the children and all of their names Every handout in every town Every lock that ain't locked when no one's around.
The last line appears quite ambiguous. I have never quite understood how to interpret it because it seems so out of character with the rest of the song. I would really like to know.
However, what is certainly not ambiguous or open to question is the important roles the lock has played in defining and shaping human society. Indeed, for some, it is virtually the quintessential dividing line between city folks, i.e. those who lock their doors, often with multiply locks, for fear of unwanted intrusions, and country folk, i.e. those who don’t lock their doors because they feel there is no need to. “Everyone knows everyone, so we are certain no one is going to do anyone any harm.”Continue reading The Lock—Extraordinary Ordinary Things