Kirby: Trust but verify (and get a good alibi)

Truth waits to be found.


- Suzy Kassem

This is a cautionary tale that began with good intentions, ended with a mission accomplished and included a lesson in the middle. Basically, Shakespeare without the literature part.

Our son began employment last week in the Upstate of South Carolina, ready to see if all that high-priced book-learning was worth it. His new task, applying a 4-year- turf sciences degree to the pampered grass of a resort golf course, seemed to be just the thing.

His mother, excited at his prospects, cheerfully offered to help him move his stuff and see if there was anything he needed in the housing his employer was providing.

I went, too, because somewhere in her conversation I heard the phrase “resort golf.” So we set out, a two-car caravan of bedsheets, spare shirts and parental anticipation.

We were somewhere north of Greenville and south of West Virginia with Lady Earnhardt at the wheel, occasionally checking to make sure our son was behind us. My job was to sit in the passenger seat and hold the GPS device as it “talked us” through a region in which the road signage was — shall we say — scarce.

Maybe that’s why we missed it when the female voice on the GPS seemed to suddenly advise we turn left. There was some hasty debate on whether this was correct, but we quickly voted to continue to follow technology. Our son, meanwhile, had gone barreling past us, heading in a different direction.

“Call him,” I was told. Call him I did.

“Why’d you turn?” he asked before I could.

“That’s what my GPS lady says,” I said.

“Well, mine says keep going this direction,” he said.

“OK,” I said cheerfully. “Sometimes these things offer different routes. You take your road, we’ll take ours, and we’ll see you at the hotel.”

Ten minutes later he called, “I’m at the hotel.”

Sit tight,” I said. “We’ll be there in a few minutes. We’re checking out the local sights.”

Actually we were checking out what my wife called a “goat farm” in a neighborhood that sort of looked like a landfill with trees. We had gotten there by following the detailed directions provided by the GPS, which then proudly informed us: “Arrive at destination.”

“That’s not the hotel. That’s a mobile home,” my driver said irritably.

“When it was new … ” I suggested.

She snatched the GPS from my hand, looked at it fiercely for a moment, then said, “This isn’t the right address! You put in the wrong address.”

“I don’t remember that,” I protested honestly.

And that’s the lesson in this adventure. Technology is handy, but you need to check your settings, or you can end up like me, where you don’t want to be.

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