Church key (was: Set-ups (was "Boilermakers"))

Victoria Neufeldt vneufeldt at M-W.COM
Tue Apr 4 17:47:36 UTC 2000

I remember a cousin being adept at opening one bottle against the cap of
another, but can't remember exactly how it was done -- and I don't remember
if that meant that the last bottle couldn't be opened.  But I also remember
him and other guys (it definitely was a guy thing) successfully using Joe's
method number 3.  But it could be any hard edge, I believe, even of a table
top (didn't do much for the table top).

Merriam-Webster, Inc. P.O. Box 281
Springfield, MA 01102
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Joe Pickett
> Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2000 10:59 AM
> Subject: Re: Church key (was: Set-ups (was "Boilermakers"))
> I can second Larry Horn's testimonial--I also used and heard
> "church key" in
> upstate NY (specifically Albany) in the 1960s.
> A good follow-up question: what method did you use to open
> bottles when you
> lacked a church key?
> I recall three:
> 1. A screwdriver, working around the little indentations in the cap (which
> entailed some deft artistry).
> 2.  The metal end of a seat belt (another specialized skill),
> fixing the bottle
> cap in the square hole.
> 3.  The edge of a chrome fender (with a rapid blow by the heel of
> the hand onto
> the bottle cap--a dangerous maneuver).

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