Opinion: Key to getting started


My Elantra does not require a key. Instead, it has a fob and a push button on the dash. Once, I accidentally left the little doohickey on the kitchen counter, but when I got in the car and pushed the ignition button, the car roared into action.

As my auto technician later explained, my extra fob had to be somewhere in the car. And sure enough, I did find the little rascal hiding in the corner of the seat, lodged in a nest of cookie crumbs, pretzel pieces and pen caps.

Last month, a new issue arose. I was late for an appointment, but my car was in the shop, so I had to borrow my wife Mary Ellen’s Prius. She came home late, so I waited for her in the driveway. We quickly switched places when she arrived while the car was still idling. And off I went. On the way to my destination, the dashboard flashed a little advisory note: There is no key fob in the vehicle.

Apparently, Mary Ellen still had the key fob in her purse. That meant when I turned off the car, I wouldn’t be able to start it again. Of course, I could call Mary Ellen to come get me, but remember, she didn’t have a car. I had it. OK, I could leave the car running while I went to my appointment, but we’d probably be short another car when it was stolen. I turned around and drove back home. I then unfairly blamed Mary Ellen for this predicament, but she had a good explanation: Oops!

There were more key issues. Last week, I lost my duplicate fob again. I looked everywhere. This time, I knew it wasn’t in the car because the Hyundai would not start. But how can you lose a car key? If I had left the key fob somewhere, I wouldn’t have been able to drive home, but here I was. So, that meant it had to be in the house. Are you following?

My artificial intelligence app suggested that I look in my drawers. I wasn’t sure what that meant. Did it mean my pants or next to my underwear?

I called my friend who helped me last time I had car issues …

“Hi, Bob.”

“Hey, Dick, what’s the prob?”

“I need help with a fob.

“I’ll take the job.”

He was busy, so I called him back again later that day. He had all afternoon to think of a funny opening line…

“Fobs are for us.”

“Ha, Ha. Any suggestions?”

“Yes, return to the dealership and buy a new fob, but don’t get robbed.”

“That will cost me a lot of money, Bob.”

“Better call Schwab.”