The "Outta Leftfield" Weblog

Monday, June 20, 2011

The key was not under my brother

I didn’t know this beforehand, but it turns out Billy Gardell’s mom and my mom have something in common: They both seem to not quite grasp the intricacies of hiding a house key under the front door mat.
Gardell, star of the hit television series “Mike and Molly,” is also a successful stand-up comic, and like most comics, his ability to observe human nature and then turn it into compelling storytelling can be quite entertaining.
So there were plenty of laughs to go around Friday night at the Keswick Theater in Glenside. And the key for comedians is to tell stories that the rest of us can relate to.
I didn’t get all the details because I was giggling too much, but one of Gardell’s bits included something about his mom leaving a house key under the front door mat for him, then leaving a note on the front door telling him the key was under the mat.
During the summer of 1978, I had completed my first year of college, which for me meant that I had completed my first year of college partying. By the time that summer rolled around, I wasn’t exactly interested in ending the college party season.
One night I was out with my buddies, doing what 19-year-old guys do, and I didn’t get home until around 2 a.m. I’m not sure why, but my parents had not given me a house key.
I opened the screen door to see a note, in my mother’s handwriting, on the front door, barely illuminated by the street light. It read: “The key is under your brother.”
In my state of heightened unawareness, my first thought was: “Why is my brother on the front porch and why is he sitting on the house key?” Six years my junior, he would have been around 12 or 13 years old and it would have been well past his bedtime.
It took me a few moments of controlled confusion to deduce that I did indeed know where the key was.
My brother’s name is . . . Matt.
I often wonder if a burglar who hadn’t been out with his buddies all night would have been able to figure it out. Apparently, my mom didn’t think sober burglars would know my brother’s name.

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Location: Fort Washington, Pennsylvania

Mike Morsch has been executive editor of Montgomery Newspapers since 2003. His award-winning humor column "Outta Leftfield" has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, the Suburban Newspapers of America and the Philadelphia Press Association.

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