The $2.38 Miracle

What is a miracle? It could be something as wondrous as the parting of the Red Sea, allowing my ancestors to cross and leave the land of Egypt. There have been more earthly events such as the 1980 Miracle on Ice as the U.S. beat the heavily favored Soviet team. There is the wonder of an African-American being elected President of the United States. And let’s not forget the fact that Paris Hilton, a woman of modest talents is famous for being famous.

According to, a miracle is:


–noun 1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

2. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of G-d.

3. a wonder; marvel.

4. a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality

My miracle today falls somewhere between the parting of the Red Sea and Paris Hilton. While not up to the first or second definitions, certainly not a work of G-d, clearly for me anyway a wonder, a marvel and a surpassing example of quality.

The beginning was very un-miracle like. I was off to see Brian Dennehy in two short plays at the Goodman Theatre. He is typically excellent on stage and these shows received great reviews. I had some work to do and left the house with just enough time to get to the theatre.

I walked out the back door to our garage (detached), put my key in the lock and…and nothing. The key would not turn. Something similar had happened due to the cold and wet season. The lock would freeze. Typically a shot of powdered graphite and I would be on my way. I rush into the house, find the tube, out the door, shoot the black powder and put in the key. Nothing. Again.

No way I was making the play. Sure I could have taken a second mortgage out on the house and called a locksmith on a Sunday afternoon but I hoped to leave that as a last resort.

I was additionally frustrated because we had been leaving the door unlocked just to avoid such a situation but force of habit must have made me unconsciously lock the door the last time I left the garage.

I tend to obsess. So that is what I did. I spent the next 2.5 hours being angry at the world, calling the few people in the neighborhood who might help–no one was home. I worried how I was to get to work in the morning. I did call a locksmith just to make sure I could get in if need–I could. (They even had a mortgage broker on staff so that a second mortgage could be completed in time to pay their fee.)

I did everything except get to a hardware store to see if they had anything that would help.At 4:30 I finally began to trudge to the store. It is about a mile or so away. It was cold but not frigid, damp but not snowing.

Home Depot was all that was open at that hour. I asked for someone to meet me in the locks aisle, aisle 16. The woman who met me there listened to my plight. She suggested some form of extreme graphite but did not seem confident it would do what I needed. Then she said something odd. “They have stuff at a hardware store to take care of this.” How odd I thought. I was under the impression that I WAS IN A HARDWARE STORE!!!

I grabbed the extreme graphite and headed to the front. i went looking for an extra tube of regular graphite as a back-up. There were two ladies with Home Depot aprons chatting. They at first seem miffed that I interrupted them to ask for help. Fortunately another clerk knew where things were. He also asked me what the problem was. He suggested I try a lock de-icer. A small tube costing $2.38. He told me how to use it and wished me well. Since the temperature had been above freezing, a de-icer had not been what I was seeking.

If you read the title you have probably guessed that the de-icer worked. Within seconds. I saved myself a small fortune and, if I had done this two hours earlier I would have saved myself some grief and some calories. (I eat when stressed and I managed to down 10 ginger cookies topped with peanut butter. Tasty but hugely fattening–and I do mean hugely.)

As my wife often says, THANK G-D.

A miracle. And it came for only $2.38.

About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

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