We were driving down the road, and we had one of the typical conversations for my family.

ME: Parker, when we get home, I need you to crawl through my trunk and unlock my car.


MY WIFE: What!?!?!

It made perfect sense to me. To Parker, he didn't particularly care, as it sounded like an adventure, so go for it.

I told my wife it was too complicated to explain. She begged to differ and would like to know why I was going to be sending our son scurrying through the back of my car.

ME: My key is in your purse. And it's in my car. And it's locked.

HER: What about your spare set?

ME: The remote door thingee doesn't work because I dropped it in the dog's water bowl.

HER: You have a lock on the door you can open.

ME: Can't. Remember? A stick was broken off in it.

HER: Sigh.

I've only had one functioning key set for a while because (a) my other set did in fact fall in the dog's water bowl and no longer works and (b) there is a stick broken off in my lock. This happened a while back. I came out and saw a small stick protruding from my lock. I went to pull it out, and it snapped off, leaving enough inside to make my car lock worthless if I don't have the remote door thingee, of which, as you recall, I have only one. I am not sure who stuck the stick in there, but I am fairly sure my kids are not the culprits. I asked both of them, and they both had very curious looks on their faces. I know my kids well enough to know that, had they had any knowledge of the stick, they would have given me some tells. They were truly confused over the question, “What do you know about a stick being put in my car lock?” I have done roughly 2,000 interrogations over their lives, and I can tell when they are, for example, feigning knowledge of who stacked all of the coffee mugs in the den.

My wife also had questions as to why her purse was locked in my car. I explained to her that it was on top of my car, and I thought it was better locked up. Her immediate response was, “Why was it on top of your car!?!?!”

Clearly, this conversation was going south. I had to take charge of the situation. I told her that it did not matter why her purse was on top of my car for several hours … wait, did I say several hours? Scratch that. It did not matter why I left … wait … it did not matter why it was left there, the important thing is that we send our son through the trunk to solve the crisis.

My wife, resigned as usual, just decided to go with the plan. When we got home, we put our plan into action. The spare set of keys can open the trunk, so we would simply open the trunk, pull the lever that folds the seats down and send our little tunnel rat in to save the day.

And of course there was a slight problem. In the backseat of my car was a box of books and my daughter's guitar. That was going to slightly impede the progress of folding the seat down. But that's why I enlisted my son. He has the build that I had as a child – more or less a skeleton with a thin layer of skin on top. If I could get just a little bit of daylight, he could shimmy through.

We popped the trunk and pulled the lever to release the back seat. It barely gave. The books were standing strong, and the guitar had no plans on moving. My first thought was a simple brute strength approach – hey, the guitar is in a case after all. I then saw my wife standing there, giving me the look that said, “If you break her guitar, you will be grounded.”

I opted for a different approach, which was to gently rock the seat back and forth, nudging the books and the guitar far enough away to open up about a foot-wide passage, enough for my son to climb in the trunk, over the seats and unlock the door.

At that point, I learned that, if you enter my car's trunk and unlock a door, a car alarm goes off. That was quickly remedied when we retrieved my wife's purse, got my key from it and clicked the remote door thingee.

So I have my key back, and I will make sure it is left in a safe place so that I can continue to get into my car without climbing through the trunk. At some point, I will either get my lock fixed or get the other remote door thingee fixed so that I can avoid this problem in the future. I suppose a more immediate plan of action is not to leave my wife's purse on top of the car.

Mike Gibbons is born and raised in Aiken and is a graduate of the University of Alabama.