Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Back in the day, when beer came crimp-capped in bottles or steel cans, opening these vessels was not as easy as twisting off a cap or pulling a tab. There were special tools designed for these chores, and it wasn't long before they came to be called "church keys." Ostensibly, this was because the bottle-opener versions had the look of the big ole spring-lock ornate keys used to open church doors.
I've never bought into that one. It seems more reasonable to me that serious beer drinkers were entering into communion with their beverages, and opening a brew was like, well, going to church.
The first novel I ever sold, The Tularemia Gambit, was sparked by a picture in National Geographic Magazine, of a bar in Birdsville, Queensland, Australia.
In the middle of nowhere, Birdsville is a loooong way from town. For years, they'd just toss the steel cans out back of the pub, and there was quite the pile after forty or fifty years. I knew I had to set some kind of story there, and did.
Twist-off caps and aluminum cans worth recycling have made church keys relics.
Something lost, something gained, but things never stay the same.