We live in a world of less and less time. Modern communications and travel have shrunk the world. The Internet has given us access to all kinds of information. We can consume foods from around the world at the press of a button. All our pleasures are - apparently - just a few clicks away. Gratification is instant. No one waits for anything. We do not get the chance to anticipate something. We are not given the opportunity to look forward to something. It is an instant and largely disposable culture.
I think it's because of all of this, when I'm picking locks, when I am indulging in my favourite thing, I will always return to lock picking proper - Single Pin Picking.
Sure, you can use a pick gun, you can bump, you can rake, you can use all sorts of techniques. But without doubt, the one technique that outright beats all others is Single Pin Picking (SPP). SPP will open more locks than all the other techniques. Don't get me wrong, I adore Bumping, and I have described Rakes as 'The Magic Wands of Lock Picking' on many occasions. But if I had to pick ONE technique, it would be SPP. It works, but it also provides more...
Lock Picking with SPP gives us many of the things our culture seems to be eradicating. You cannot rush it - a patient mind is required. You cannot get instant gratification - far from it - SPP requires time. It might take 5 minutes, it could take 30 minutes. It might take several 30 minute attempts over a period of weeks. I have one lock that I couldn't pick for 4 years. FOUR YEARS! My skills were just not up to par, and it wasn't until I'd developed more skills, more knowledge, more understanding of picks, and the confidence, that I finally managed to pick that damn lock! The pleasure, the sense of achievement, was immeasurable!
And none of this is frustrating. None of this puts me off lock picking. On the contrary, it's what makes us LOVE IT! And I really mean love!
Do you remember the first time you successfully opened a lock without the key? Mine was the little device on one of the old type telephones with a dial. It prevented the dial from moving all the way round, which then prevented me from telephoning all manner of people to deliver skips, pizzas, even hairdressers to the family across the road. Come on! I was eight!
I managed it with the little gunk-scraper from a set of nail-clippers. It fitted, it took a wiggle and a jiggle and BOOM, the lock opened. And WOW, what a feeling. I can remember it clear as day. And I write with absolute confidence that anyone reading this who has picked locks will also know that feeling. It's marvelous, it's an achievement, it took time, it was uncertain... it was special!
But what makes it so special? More special than say solving a crossword, a Rubik Cube, or a Sudoko, when let's be honest, lock picking is really just another puzzle - so why does it stand out, what gives it the extra buzz?
Locks are not made to be a puzzle. Someone hasn't contrived a pin arrangement to baffle us, or written some clues to distract us while commuting. Far from it; Locks symbolize something, locks were not made to be 'solved'. Locks are a moment of security, they are the thing that separate the outside world from our property, our family, our cars. Locks protect government reserves, they protect weapons, money, gold, and diamonds. Criminals are 'locked up'. When you take all that into account you realize why picking a lock is not just another puzzle, it is a moment of power, a moment of transgression. When you start picking locks you become part of a special group of people who have risen above the security of a society. Lock pickers walk through walls.
So that's a heady mixture: The patience, time, application, concentration, trust, belief, and more. Many of the things that we see our culture slowly removing from our lives. It's not instant, it's not disposable, it's the product of growth, persistence, time, skill, knowledge and ability. Combine all of that with the power, combine all of that with a more thorough understanding of security, combine all of that with a new sense of freedom, a sense of magic, and you have something truly amazing.
Many of you will have seen the faces of people who watch you pick locks, the amazement, the shock, the appreciation, the bemusement. It really isn't far from that of a conjurer, for they too know you have transgressed security. They also know you can move through all of their locks. You are respected!
And that's why it feels so good. You know it from the first lock you opened, you know it from the last one you opened, and you know it from all of those in between. It's why you started doing it. It's why you still do it, and it's why you'll do it again.
Lock picking is a powerful pleasure, well done to you for getting busy and making it happen, and long may it last. Powerful pleasures are few and far between, so get out your picks and sharpen your skills, you are part of an elite group of people. Congratulations.