A doorknob, it’s such a little thing. I never really gave it much thought. It just sits there hanging out. Maybe it’s brass, maybe wood. It’s almost ornamental. You turn it around when you want to get in or out. It’s an automatic thing. It’s like blinking. Basically, a doorknob is a nothing.

But just the other day my daughter figured out how to open one.  I was in the office, pecking away at my computer, trying to find the exact right words to describe the way a turtle looks when he’s thinking really hard, when all of a sudden I saw the doorknob slowly start to turn. I jumped from my seat. Was it a ghost? Surely it couldn’t be my daughter, not my two-and-a-half year old, she doesn’t have the fine motor goods to pull that off!  But much to my surprise, like a gust of autumn wind, who should push the door wide open but Sage.  My mouth dropped.

“I did it!” she shrieked in delight. “You did it!” I clapped echoing her enthusiasm. And I was genuinely happy for this milestone moment.

But then… it hit me.

This changes everything! For starters I can now forget about working at home and occasionally peeing in privacy. That will now be completely out of the question. And beyond that I expect that I will now wake most nights to a toddler who has snuck out of her room, crawled into my bed, and planted herself conveniently on my face. So, sleep is out too. And discipline… well that is going to shift forever. Now when I send my daughter to her room the only reason she’ll agree to stay in there is if she respects me or fears me… I lose on both counts. And what happens when she gets a sudden craving for an ice-cream cone? She won’t even bother asking me to take her. She knows where I keep my wallet. She’ll just take out my credit card and head out for a chocolate Sunday. The cashier won’t know what’s going on when out of nowhere a tiny hand appears over the counter holding a visa and a little voice whispers, “chocolate please.”  And soon I expect she’ll be sneaking out in the middle of the night too. She’ll have little meet-ups. She’ll start a club with other local toddlers who can open doorknobs and they’ll rent out a warehouse and have raves where they rock out to Dan Zanes, eat candy necklaces, throw off their diapers, and pee willy-nilly on the floor. The neighbors will complain of the noise, the toddlers will rebel. They’ll go around town opening every door they can. They’ll break into law offices and gobble up important documents. They’ll break into the police station and let out all the prisoners, they’ll break into the motorcycle shop and go for a joy ride. They’ll go around turning doorknobs for no reason at all… just because they can!  They’ll travel from house to house opening and closing door after door! Folks will think there’s a poltergeist on the loose. The city council will meet; they’ll declare an emergency. The FBI will get involved. The door opening toddlers won’t pay them any mind because they don’t know who the hell the FBI is. They’ll just continue wrecking havoc. The town will have no choice but to remove all doorknobs from all doors. And with no doorknobs, none of us will have a way in or out of our homes.

We’ll just be stuck, right where we are, forever and ever and ever.

Suddenly I start to feel bad for all those years I just walked around opening and closing doors and not paying any mind to those little doorknobs. I’m sorry, doorknobs! I’m sorry. You really do make the world a better place. You are important. You make me happy. You give me the boundaries and the freedom that keeps me sane. I need you doorknobs… I need you!!

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