How to Find Your Car Keys

I have here an email written by John, from Marietta, Georgia. He writes:

“Sean, I lost my car keys and I’m late for work, I can’t find them and I’ve looked everywhere. I don’t really want to call my wife because she always knows where my keys are.”

John, this is by far the strangest letter I have ever received. But you were right to contact me. The best help I can give is this: Whatever you do, don’t call your wife.

Because if you do, she will find your keys, and she will win. And if your wife wins, she will hold it over your head for the next two million years.

And if you’re like me, this subject will be brought up when you least expect it, like when my wife introduces me at parties (“This is my husband, who couldn’t find his own keys if they were lodged in his throat.”).

Sometimes you will be in the middle of a disagreement with your wife and the subject will pop up. You’ll probably be arguing the same way all married men argue, humbly pointing out the many sacrifices you make for the family. While you are speaking, she will interrupt to remind you about the time you lost your car keys, whereupon (poof!) you will be instantly neutered.

So how can you find your keys without the help of a qualified female? This is a tough one. Because women know everything. They can also smell aromas that average humans can’t smell.

I base this statement on the fact that many times I’ve been trapped in confined spaces with myself and have failed to smell odors coming from my sweat glands, scents my wife claims can be detected from as far away as Quebec.

My wife has a nose like a pregnant bloodhound. She is always saying, “What is that SMELL?” Then her nose starts sniffing around, trying to locate the source. Most times her nose lands on my shirt. Then, she’ll gag and say, “OH MY GOD! IT’S YOU!” So I’ll remind her how much I sacrifice for our family again. Round and round it goes.

I think the reason women can find missing things is because they have what neuroscientists refer to as Total Recall. This means that your wife remembers every insignificant thing that has ever happened in history since the Birth of Christ.

Wives don’t forget anything. Even when wives pretend that they have forgotten, they are lying. (“Why no, Glenda, I can’t remember if my husband is allergic to shellfish anymore. I guess a little shrimp gumbo won’t kill him.”)

Last week, I was on my way to the grocery store. Right before I exited the door, my wife said, “Don’t forget the red quinoa, you forgot the red quinoa last time.”

Forgot the red quinoa? First of all, I don’t even know what red quinoa is, let alone how to spell it. Yet somehow my wife remembers a time, possibly after the Civil War, when I forgot to buy this.

So I told my wife that I didn’t remember forgetting any red quinoa.

She answered, “Well, I’m not surprised YOU don’t remember, you couldn’t find your own car keys if they were shoved up your earhole.”

Are you following me here, John?

I don’t know about you, but when I go to the grocery store, I scrutinize my grocery list because I know that, as a man, I am going to forget something. This is just a fact of manhood. No male has ever gone to the store and managed to get everything on his list.

I don’t know how this phenomenon works. It’s a scientific marvel that can’t be explained. Your wife could send you to Winn-Dixie with an ultra-short list that reads:

1. Salt.
2. More salt.

But when you get home, your wife will say, “You forgot the salt!”

Or sometimes she’ll mention something that wasn’t even on the list, such as dish soap. And you’ll be thinking, “AHA! I have her now! Her list never said dish soap!”

Then you’ll reach into your pocket for Exhibit A. But as soon as the list from your pocket is exposed to fresh oxygen, something miraculous will happen. Forty-two new items will materialize upon the list, written in your wife’s handwriting. Items including “Scotch tape,” “dish soap,” and “fat-free organic BPA-free free-range cottage cheese.”

You will then have to go back to the store and eat a big slice of BPA-free humble pie. In the checkout lane, you’ll end up with the same cashier as last time. She will be very amused by you when she scans your items because, as a woman, she is aware of what’s happening here. But she won’t say anything. She’ll just smile a lot.

In some cases this cashier will remind you to check your list one more time before you leave, and she’ll use the same tone kindergarten teachers use during Potty Time. You should definitely recheck your list because, as my wife would point out, you couldn’t find your own car keys if they were rammed straight up your Blessed Assurance.

Anyway, I’m out of room here. But for now I’m telling you, from one man to another, do not—I repeat, DO NOT—call your wife and ask her where your keys are.

And whatever you do, don’t forget the red quinoa.


  1. Karen Greatrix - February 19, 2020 6:48 am

    When I was working my husband would sometimes phone me to ask where things were. 🙂

  2. Bobby Crew - February 19, 2020 9:47 am

    What is red quinoa anyhow? Don’t even try to explain what part of the store it’s in.

  3. Debbie Phillips Hughett - February 19, 2020 9:57 am

    Car keys and I have similar “issues” that date back to the 70’s. Now it seems glasses and I have developed the same “issues”. Wouldn’t you know it…I can’t drive without those either.

  4. Amy - February 19, 2020 11:59 am

    I have the same issue with car keys and my glasses. I am constantly misplacing both and my husband is constantly telling me that if I would put them in the same place every time I wouldn’t lose them.

  5. Sharon Brock - February 19, 2020 12:10 pm

    Laugh out loud funny Sean even after a nightmare at 5 a.m. Thank you.

  6. Naomi - February 19, 2020 12:57 pm

    I am the wife and I agree with everything your wife has said. In 40 years of marriage, I can’t even tell you how many times my husband has lost his wallet, which means that I have to cancel our credit card, get a new driver’s license, etc. The last time he locked his keys in the car, we were parked near the airport and I had gone ahead of him. When he caught up with me, I reminded him that our car, at that time, had numbers on the door that you could punch in your numbers to unlock the car and the trunk. Also, I have kept our house from exploding because I could smell gas. He always tells me that I’m just smelling things. Anyway, I had the gas man come out and he found the gas leak and fixed it. He literally can’t smell anything. He also does most of the grocery shopping. I won’t tell you everything except that he has left his wallet and car keys in the grocery store.

  7. Debbie - February 19, 2020 12:58 pm

    Hilarious … and true 🤣

  8. Shelton A. - February 19, 2020 1:20 pm

    Darn tootin’ if that ain’t the truth.

  9. Cynthia Wheeler - February 19, 2020 2:58 pm

    This happened to us early one morning, when my husband HAD to get going and couldn’t find his car keys. His “storming” around the house woke me out of a dead sleep and I asked him what was wrong. “I can’t find my #$%@ keys!” The thought came to me, “Well, God knows where they are”, so I paused and prayed in my sleepy mind, “God, would you show us where those keys are?” An idea came in my head of a place to look, and voila, there they were!

    Another incident happened one day after I’d been cleaning house for several hours. I looked down at a small diamond ring I had on, that was my mother’s when she was a young girl…. a ring that definitely had more sentimental value than monetary worth, and the tiny diamond that had been in the center of the ring was gone and only a black hole remained. Crestfallen, I prayed, (only half believing, cause I’d been vacuuming and moving cushions, etc), “Lord, I know it’s not worth much, but it means a lot to me. If it’s possible, would You help me find that diamond?” I went about finishing up my house cleaning, and as I swept the kitchen floor, something glimmered on the floor, and there it was….the tiny diamond.

    We haven’t always found everything we’ve prayed about…. my mother recently lost a hearing aid in the hospital where she was recovering from a broken hip. We prayed that God would help us find that, but we haven’t found it yet. But I’d say 80% of the time we’ve found our lost worldly treasures, so not only do we know Him as the God of the universe, but we also refer to Him as the God of the Lost and Found…. both of material things and human souls.

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

  10. Summer - February 19, 2020 3:09 pm

    So true! But you forgot to mention another gospel anomaly. If I tell my husband, “We need yogurt….” and he’s on it enough to ask, “What flavors?” and I say “Anything but peach”… you know what he’s coming home with? 😉

  11. Sheryll Ridgway - February 19, 2020 3:16 pm

    Ok, I have a vegan teenage granddaughter, so I can tell you look for the red quinoa in the rice aisle. Unless you live in my tiny little town of Fowler, CO, in which case, you will not be finding it on any shelf.
    Does anyone else have trouble keeping track of their cell phone?
    Sean, next time you’re driving your trailer through southern CO on your way to Pikes Peak again, please come stay at our RV park.

  12. Ala Red Clay Girl - February 19, 2020 3:57 pm

    Although I don’t normally have a problem with losing my keys or locking them in the car, I used to tape an extra key under the bumper just in case. The car I have now doesn’t use a key, but a key fob that is too expensive to tape under the bumper. Luckily, the car doors won’t lock if I leave the fob in it, and I am pretty consistent about hanging my key fob on a hook the minute I come into the house. As for my cell phone…that’s another story. The main reason I still have a land line is so I can call my cell phone to find out where it is in the house.

  13. Lita - February 19, 2020 4:57 pm

    Still laughing at the truth of this, Sean.

  14. Connie Havard Ryland - February 19, 2020 5:51 pm

    Oh my. Made me laugh out loud. So much truth in this!!

  15. Janet Mary Lee - February 19, 2020 7:50 pm

    So funny..still chuckling !! If I do find my key fob, I am always knocking it against something and opening my trunk by mistake!! I cannot tell you the number of times I am trying to drive out, and there is my trunk, flapping in the breeze!! Be glad you only LOSE your keys! Quinoa is really good with lots of onion and other veggies mixed in!!

  16. Linda Moon - February 19, 2020 8:05 pm

    I’m late in commenting today, but not because of lost car keys to get me to my destination this morning. It’s because of Angels. Did you ever think, Sean, that husbands might win at this lost-car-key dilemma? And if they do win, they might remind wives for …say, 53 years. Women might MISPLACE keys and other items, but in all fairness, we do KNOW everything and will soon find those keys without help. We wives love you guys, with or without the red quinoa!!

  17. oldlibrariansshelf - February 20, 2020 1:53 pm

    My daughter was a single mom when her two-year-old son “hid” her keys in her VCR. I cannot remember the details of how she found them, but she was pretty frantic for a while.

  18. Roger A Burrell - February 20, 2020 3:32 pm

    My wife and I have the best time reading your stories. To us, you are the next “Lewis Grizzard”. This was without a doubt one of your best EVER!!!

  19. BillT - February 20, 2020 5:46 pm

    Love this column, except she is the car key loser, along with her hearing aids, teeth and cell phone. I put her a check list by the door so she doesn’t have to come back in after getting in the car, Now my son, put a dongle on her key ring so she can find her keys, or hearing aid from her iPhone, which can be located from iPad.
    I am the grocery store loser. She lists things that she gets from HGTV or Food Network that do not nor ever will exist in the Air Force commissary system, but yet I spend hours walking up and down the aisles looking for non-existent food which if found, I would not eat anyway.
    What did we do before iPhones?

  20. Hank - February 21, 2020 2:31 am

    With me it’s one of my hearing aids if I sleep in the den, fire place glowing, next AM I realize at 5-6 AM I’ve gotta get to work, and I forgot to take them out before sacktime. Dang, one is missing.

    Polly always finds it, ALWAYS. Thank God she doesn’t lord that over me!

    Great article…my sister Betsy Jennings Powell put me on to this/you…she knows you and your wife.. .

    Love it!!

    Hank Jennings in NashVegas

  21. Nancy - February 22, 2020 3:17 pm

    I am a Fancy Girl who has a good memory like the man on Dr. Oz who eats 10,000 blueberries a day…and…does a 5 minute/day exercise to improve it!!! LOL! However…when I misplace something a quick prayer to St. Anthony helps!!!!
    Happiness Always🎀

  22. Becca Allison - February 24, 2020 7:24 pm

    “….rammed straight up your Blessed Assurance .” I’m still laughing.

  23. Mary Hicks - March 23, 2021 1:38 am

    I am 74 and my husband is 75!! We ask each other all the time where something is!!!!
    The Blessed Assurance, though!!! Gave me a laugh!!


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