Teaching a Teen to Drive Eliminates Colonoscopy Prep

J.C. Chaplin By J.C. Chaplin, 24th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Off Beat

Labor and delivery is less frightening than teaching my daughter to drive.

Better Than a Horror Movie

If the epic fail of the 2012 Mayan prediction for our annihilation left you frustrated, know that an option remains, another chance to blow this lemonade stand, and with a flourish. Does watching your life zoom past your mind's eye as you scream a string of obscenities that would make Snoop Dogg blush sound like a fun way to use up your final moments? Spend some time in a vehicle teaching a teenager to drive. If nothing else, years will fall from your life expectancy, making that whole midlife crisis thing a non-issue.

Portable defibrillators and tranquilizers (pills, darts, whatever) should be provided in gift bags to every parent brave enough to ride in a car with an inexperienced teenage driver. The initial shock when the state hands your kid a learner's permit pales in comparison to the number of times your heart stops as you sit in the passenger seat, like a crash test dummy, watching that same child “learning” on the car you just paid off. You try to grasp what the state employees were thinking, or drinking, when they decided that passing a 25 question test over obscure driving factoids qualifies a teenager to operate anything more motorized than a lawnmower. Should a gift bag be offered, don't think twice.

At sixteen, I learned to drive on a Honda, the only car with a standard transmission I have ever driven without grinding the gears into painful, reluctant submission. I also took a driving education class in high school. My daughter is learning to drive my tank of an SUV, and without the benefit of a class. One day, after sending up a silent prayer for sphincter control as my daughter blew past yet another yield sign, I suggested she attend driving school. Silly me.

"I got this, Mom. I don't need a class. ALL of my friends drive and they didn't go to driving school. Oh, and that thing about it lowering your parents' car insurance isn't true." Ah. What about life insurance? Anyone mention that?

I realized my daughter held my fragile life in her hands on the afternoon she convinced me to let her drive on the interstate highway. She had only driven on the highway once before, and that little jaunt resulted in a dead skunk meeting the undercarriage of my truck. Forty miles of Eau de Pepé Le Pew blowing through the air vents during a summer in Deliveranceville is not an experience to repeat. Still, she needed to learn, so I sucked it up and relented.

“Okay, you can drive home. Are you sure you can handle it? I still have three kids to raise after you fly the coop, and they're already eyeballing your room.”

“Of course I can handle it, Mom. Geez, you act like I don’t know what I’m doing (eye roll).” Silly me.

I now know the purpose of the long handle on the passenger side of the dashboard. Drifting into a highway lane that is occupied by a big rig truck is much more terrifying than Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo made it look in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. However, the praying part definitely came into play for me. In fact, I've prayed more in the last several weeks than I have in the last twenty years. Things that only crossed your mind in the past, like exercise, a living will, or those hair plugs you considered, now stand in the forefront as passing motorists give you the finger for reasons that escape your child. I would have been down in the floorboard, breathing into a paper bag, if my survival instinct had not been so strong.

I wish I could say the terror is confined to the roads, but that would be cruel and misleading. A simple stop at a gas station can change lives. Let your kid try backing up a supersized vehicle to a gas pump. I often see people smoking around gas pumps and using cell phones. However, after watching the whole jerky back-up-then-pull-forward series that makes you think the transmission's about to fall out and several near brushes with highly combustible objects, folks recognize the potential danger of being blown to bits and start stomping out cigarettes and tossing phones like they mean it. Patrons inside the store head for the farthest corner of the building. On the other hand, you do get your pick of pumps.

If driving schools and doppelganger parents to take your place are out of reach, I offer a couple of suggestions. Keep directions brief. Terms such as "turn right" or "merge" create confusion and a general freak out. Rather, point and say "take a that-way" or "go where the blue car's going." For obvious reasons, do not ride with your teen following a heavy meal. Oh, and tossing back a couple of Benadryl capsules with a vodka chaser before getting in the car... but I wouldn't know anything about that.


Driving, Fear, Humor, Kids, License, Parents, Teach, Teenagers

Meet the author

author avatar J.C. Chaplin
I am a caffeine addict, living in the southern US. I am a mother of four, and I write humor to avoid becoming a tower sniper. Visit my website at http://www.jillreesewriter.net

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
24th Apr 2014 (#)

Good evening, J. C. My 42-year-old daughter learned on my stick shift Toyota many years ago. I chose a college campus – after hours but still light; falsely thinking it would offer enough roads to stall a few times and then hurtle forward. The only time that hurtle forward worked was when the Toyota jumped a curb and was stuck on the median; this was after my daughter decided to hang a left into the parking lot and over compensated. There is retribution however; her 17 year old learned to drive, but not before I reminded my daughter of her own driving lesson and she enrolled her daughter in a class. Crisis averted. ~Marilyn

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author avatar peachpurple
14th Jun 2014 (#)

my hubby taught my teen girl to drive and she told me its fun

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