Tag Archive: Indiana

A Key Question

(Submitted by reader John Meuser)

I grew up on a farm in a rural community in Indiana.

The high school I went to had been consolidated from several small town schools in the area, so almost all students were bused in being picked up from houses which were widespread. Even though our house was only about 15 miles from the school, it took about an hour for the daily commute. Pretty much all students get their driver’s license as soon as possible so that they don’t have to go through this lengthy process every day.

My younger brother is mentally handicapped so was unable to get his license at the same time all of his friends did, but my parents didn’t want him to miss out, so they allowed him to drive an off-road utility vehicle, best described as a large golf-cart, to school every day. The brand was Cushman, but I have no idea of the model. He probably had a longer commute than if he rode the bus, but my brother loved the independence.

He also had problems with the combination padlocks on the lockers, so the school allowed him to use a padlock which takes a key. This is a very rural area where no one locks their doors, so the only two keys that my brother ever carried were the key to his locker and the key to his Cushman. He was unlocking his locker one morning, and realized that he had accidentally gotten the two keys mixed up, but was surprised to find that both keys were completely interchangeable. His Cushman key could unlock his locker and vice versa. What are the odds that the only two locks in the world that my brother needed to use took the exact same key?

Below would be the extended notes provided by Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 204. But as you may know from the podcast, the most Barbara could share is that she’s had a similar experience. This one’s just too tricky, and requires too much specialized knowledge, for her to assist.

So that’s where you, our faithful, generous, and brilliant readers/listeners come in. Do you know anything about the elements of this story that could help us solve this question? Are you, perhaps, a Cushman enthusiast? A locksmith? A trivia know-it-all who found a Cushman manual in a library and read it front to back in hopes that one day a Jeopardy answer would hang in the balance? Whatever the case, if you’ve got info, we want it. Please comment below the story and let us know what you think we need to know. There will be fame and fortune in it for you. Also, probably neither of those things.

Uncommon Roots

(Submitted by friend of the blog, Jerry Buchanan)

Many years ago, I started a new job in a small company in Hollywood with only eight employees. One of the other employees had the same last name (not a particularly common one) as mine.

Since we had this bond, we spent several lunches together. We eventually learned that we were both from Indianapolis, Indiana!

Interestingly, we had both had our family trees researched, and there were no common ancestors between us.

[EDITOR: Before you say anything, I know this is a rather simple story compared to most. And some might not even find it that big of a coincidence. I personally have known several Buchanans (including Jerry), which made me not even initially accept that it’s an uncommon last name.

But the reason we chose to share this story anyway is because it highlights a thought process that a lot of people go through. What’s mundane or simple to you might be startling to me. What I shrug off as irrelevant or barely a blip on the radar is startling and telling to someone else. And it’s often these little events that mean the most to people. And for someone who’s already on the edge of superstitious, these events add up.

Do you have any friends who claim these things ALWAYS happen to them? That they’re constantly surrounded by strange events, coincidences, numbers that follow them, etc.? Odds are you know or have met SOMEONE with this mind set, and to them a little event like this isn’t something to be shrugged off. They plug it into the greater tapestry of what they believe to be a pattern, and signs, and it informs their life views.

So recognizing and tracking even these small events and realizing what they can mean to people is an important part of understanding the overall phenomena. If it’s important to someone, it should be important to us, too, even if it’s not for the same reasons. – Jarrett]