Tuesday, March 4, 2008

El Pico key ring

Reading Design Observer's occasional excerpts from Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance prompts me to write about this now-broken key ring. My friend Aldo Carrasco gave it to me in the 1980s in recognition of my taste for Cuban coffee. My guess is that the key ring was a giveaway for bodega and supermarket customers. I would like to think that the unintended Warholian overtones were not lost on us, but they were. El Pico was just a joke between friends.

Over many years, I kept this key ring in a box with various objects — foreign coins, pencils, a miniature Mona Lisa from an old professor's office. At some point in the late 20th century (how I love saying that), I decided that I would stop saving the key ring and simply use it, in memory of Aldo, who had died in 1986.

Yesterday, when I reached to open the front door and leave the house, my keys fell to the floor and I found myself holding nothing more than a coffee can: the plastic that tethered ring to can had split. I can't imagine a repair that would be more than temporary, and I can imagine keys falling in less forgiving circumstances. So my keys are still on the key ring my friend gave me, but El Pico now sits on my desk.

Related post
Letters from Aldo

comments: 3

Diana said...

Lovely post.

Anonymous said...

I've seen this keychain many times on Mildred, but I never knew its background until now.

Ben

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Diana. Hi, Benman!

For anyone who isn't a family member, I should explain that we have a name for a shelf near the front door.