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A problem of pins and keys

THERE are a few problems I haven't solved yet. The most pressing one at present is what to do with pins I take out of a new shirt.

Something in my upbringing forbids me to throw pins away; besides, where can you throw them? They are like old razor blades.

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Our wastebaskets are wicker, or other woven material, so pins that might go into one would never come out again but would lurk there forever waiting to stick somebody.

Usually I take the pins out and put them carefully in a shallow china dish on the dresser.

This tray already has pins from previous shirts going back 10 or 12 years. It also has some hairpins, bobby pins, small buttons, a broken chain to attach to glasses, three rubber bands, and 2 cents. These items will remain for future generations to throw away. No one in the family knows what to do with them.

The inability to throw away pins may date back to that awful saying: ``See a pin, pick it up....'' And while no one throws pins away, I've seen people pick them up.

I suppose they are added to other piles of pins in other houses. Eventually it will be like the garbage surplus. We will have floating scows full of used pins with nowhere to dump them.

Another great problem I have is suitcase keys.

You can't tie a key to the suitcase handle, because then the key would make no sense. The key can't be put inside the suitcase, because after the suitcase is locked you can't get it out.

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In the top drawer of my desk I have a large envelope full of keys that don't fit anything. I keep them because there is always that eternal hope that a key and a lock will take to each other.

Someone is sure to write in and advise me to buy a case with a combination lock, which doesn't need a key.

I have two of these at present which I can't open. I suppose I will remember the numbers one day, which I am sure are written down inside, put there before I locked it.

Meanwhile, what does one do with a locked, empty suitcase?

Lately we have been reduced to traveling with just a shopping bag. It always fits under an airplane seat and everything is instantly available.

We haven't lost all pride, however, since we always try to have a shopping bag from Neiman-Marcus or Saks. Once we did have to make do with a bag from J.C. Penney, but it was just a short trip.

Problems may always be with us, but I haven't given up.

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