After exchanging some pleasantries, retrieving an iced tea from the cashier, and settling in, Eric Michaud clicks a standard issue handcuff around my left wrist. We’re sitting at a two-top upstairs in a small café, and the table before us is blanketed with metal. Pin-tumbler locks, like key in knob cylinders, pad locks, Mortise locks as well as several lock picking sets (some of which he’s testing and some of which he owns) have been taken from a Michaud’s black backpack and placed before us. My hand, heavy with metal and social baggage, rests there as well.
I have no idea what our neighbors think of this display because I’m too distracted by the gasp-laughter escaping from my mouth. At least something is escaping; my hand is not.Although I didn’t anticipate this exact predicament, I did anticipate that we’d be toying around with locks. I was looking forward to it, even. Eric Michaud is many things—a physical security expert, a hacker-space founder, a runner—but today he’s here to talk to me about using the pick in place of the key. As the co-founder of the US branch of The Open Organisation of Lockpickers (TOOOL), Michaud’s not only an expert lock picker, but he was also on the front lines as a small collection of enthusiasts that turned their picking passion into a full blown movement.
Naturally, it’s embarrassing in such company and to be failing the first lesson.
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