Keys are valuable and malleable.
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getty corkscrew correct
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When I’m hungry, I will do whatever it takes to satiate those pangs. That’s not always for the best. Such was the case earlier this week, when I warped my house key trying to uncork a bottle of wine.

I promise that my intentions were noble. I wanted Chicken Piccata, specifically this recipe because thighs are the superior cut of a chicken. I’d made plans and defrosted. Hell, the chicken was already cooking. There would be wine, because you can’t have Piccata without wine and I wasn’t about to improvise.

My first mistake was not buying a bottle opener, but I did just move, so that lends me a little bit of slack. My second mistake was assuming that a $4 bottle of wine would have a screw-top. (It appears that I’m not great at buying alcohol and usually stick to canned beer because I can open it with my own appendages. I didn't take notice of the top of this bottle upon purchase; sorry.) Not only was it a cork, but it was one of those god-awful plastic corks that won’t affix itself to whatever sharp object you decide to stick inside. (Interestingly enough, it looks like more expensive bottles are going with the screw-tops these days.) I definitely did not have a corkscrew, but screw-top wine is supposed to eliminate such problems.

So I did what anyone would do. I consulted Google.

The article I clicked on suggested using a screw (Didn’t have one! Tried a nail and that didn’t work), twisting in a serrated knife (didn’t work), slapping the bottle with a shoe (I didn’t trust myself because I’m a complete butterfingers), and banging the bottle against the wall (I really didn’t trust myself in that case). So for whatever reason, I went with the most valuable thing I had on hand: my keyring. And for what it’s worth, I did try a different, less important key first. It just dug out fragments of the cork you can’t even call crumbles being that the consistency is so spongy. And once that key started bending, I switched it out for a thicker one. Please note that I didn’t stick either key in at an angle like this guide suggests (also, not the guide I used). And then I gave up and shoved the cork down the bottle neck with a mixing scraper, added the half cup of wine to the skillet, took a big swig, and went about my business.

That business didn’t entail using my apartment key to try and lock my front door on the way out the nexy morning. The key would go, but then it stopped. It would not turn. It was bent, because metal is malleable, and also because I am stupid. And that is how I ended up as the hardware store’s first customer of the day. The bent key got hammered flat and copied, averting my crisis for $5.

After all that anxiety, it’s safe to say I’ll soon invest in a real corkscrew. Oh, and maybe a bottle stopper, since that $4 wine didn’t come with a screw-top.