Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Key chain button is best Christmas invention

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The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure very much.

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– William Hazlitt

The most useful Christmas invention of the past 50 years is not gas logs or modern tree lights or bubble wrap packing kits.

No, in my humble opinion, it’s that button on your key chain you can push a few times (OK, several times) when you’re in a big parking lot and can’t find your car.

I know I am not alone in this appreciation. On Saturday I was heading from the store to my car and saw a man about my age walking slowly up and down the rows of vehicles, holding his key chain above his head and obviously pushing its button.

Eventually, I heard a car horn go off, and he lowered his arm and walked quickly toward the sound.

The reason men do this is simple, the experts tell us.

Men need such aids because we rely on visual clues to enhance our sense of direction. It’s the same reason we don’t stop and ask strangers where to go.

Given this mental wiring, the problem in a big parking lot is that the car or truck or SUVs you might have parked next to, have driven away to be replaced by different “landmarks” with which we are not familiar. So into our pocket goes a hand and out comes a key chain, and soon we hear the result.

My own car has a particulary obnoxious “honk” that I find much too loud if it happens to go off in the driveway. But in a big parking lot outside the discount store in late December in the dark, it’s the sound of angels, trumpeting the location of my ride back home.

When I get there, I’ll relax by turning on the gas logs in the fireplace and watching the lights upon my tree.

YOUR MAIL: Sandra and Shirley Johnson, of Augusta say hello with two post cards from Georgia. One from the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville and the other from Chateau E’lan, northeast of Atlanta. Tommy and Janice Williams, of Augusta, are also enjoying north Georgia with a card from Amicalola Falls State Park.

“We’re enjoying the beautiful falls and Christmas decorations in the lodge,” they write. “We attended a lovely wedding and enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets over the mountains from our room.”

Corky and Debbie Holloway send a card from the Carolina coast where they are “having a wonderful time in Conway and Myrtle Beach ... even in December.”

TODAY’S CHRISTMAS JOKE: Jim asked his friend, Tony, whether he had bought his wife anything for Christmas.

“Of course,” said Tony proudly. “I bought her a belt and a bag.”

“That was very kind of you,” Jim added. “I hope she appreciates the thought.”

“So do I,” Tony answered, “and hopefully the vacuum cleaner will work better now.”


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