At a previous job, the company-issued filing cabinets had extremely basic and easily-pickable locks. Occasionally when I was bored or thinking through a problem, I would try to pick the lock on one of my filing cabinets with a paperclip and a screwdriver. With enough patience and luck I could get the lock open, though it usually required at least ten minutes of fiddling. Sometimes I couldn’t open it at all.
One day, some people wanted to play a game on the Wii, but the guy who had the Wii in his filing cabinet wasn’t there and the cabinet was locked. While they were just hanging around, I thought I’d give the lock a go with my paperclip. So I walked over to his cubicle and started picking the lock.
I must have rolled a twenty that particular day, or perhaps the ghost of Richard Feynman was playing a prank, because I sprung the lock nigh-instantaneously. My co-workers were all duly impressed and probably assumed that when I said I just got lucky it was false modesty (which just goes to show how little they know me, as I am not generally accused of being overmodest).
A few months later, one of my co-workers who lived near me locked himself out of his house. He called me (more accurately, since he didn’t have my number, he called someone else who then called me) and asked if I could pick the lock of his house.
Even the doorknob lock on a house is more difficult to pick than those filing cabinet locks, not that it would be super difficult to someone who actually knows how to pick a lock (which I must again reiterate that I do not). I had to give my regrets that I would not be able to help him break into his own house.
I have never since been asked to pick a lock, and I stopped picking the cabinet locks (when I needed distraction I instead did some fairly creative things with neodymium magnets and ball bearings, but that’s a story for another time). I still suspect that some of my former co-workers believe to this day that I have a much more…eclectic…skill set than first meets the eye.
(I have since been locked out of various residences myself twice, so perhaps I should actually learn how to pick a lock. But those are both stories for another time).