Friday, February 3, 2012

Crazy Driver, But A Damn Good Joe

Back in the day when I was but a lad of sixteen, I had an incredible adventure, the likes of which no one with any kind of brains had ever experienced before.

And get your mind out of the gutter.

Since we torpedoed the obvious, you're now left scratching your head wondering what exactly was that incredible adventure that I had.

Well, that adventure was....drum roll please.

Getting my driver's license!

If you've ever wondered why I'm such a flake and a perfectionist, then this story is a good starting point for understanding why I am what I am.

The beginning of the adventure started like any other normal day for a typical teenager who turns 16: I got my learner's permit.

I spent the next few months learning how to drive from my mother and studying my 35 page driver's manual. I drove everywhere and anywhere and I studied my driver's manual until I was blue in the face.

Finally that big day arrived and I eagerly drove down to DMV with my mom to take my driver's test.

The first inkling that the day may not go according to plan was when I almost ran over a crossing guard in front of the local middle school. Apparently I did not see the little kiddies in front of the school waiting to cross the street. After getting slapped my mother for not paying attention, I continued on my merry way to DMV.

The first exam that I took was the eye exam, which I'd easily passed. Next up was the written exam.

Back then, which was the early 80's, the written exam was taken on a very large machine that had slide show presentation of various scenarios that you had to choose A, B, C, or D for an answer. At the time, the minimum passing grade allowed was a 75, which was a maximum of 5 wrong out of 20. Also, the main way of guaranteeing yourself a passing grade was to never pick answer D, because answer D was always wrong.

Anyways, when the written exam was over, I rescheduled another appointment for my driver's exam, which was about a month away. In the meantime, I was forced to study and got quizzed on the manual in the worst possible way imagined.

During a family driving vacation from Connecticut to West Virginia.

Fast forward to the day of the appointment.

I drove down with my mother to DMV to take my driver's test.


Since I'd already passed the eye exam, I went right to the written exam.

And aced it.

Next up was the driving test. All I had to do was pass the fifteen minute driving thingy through suburbia and i was home free.

I failed.

I failed spectacularly.

I failed miserably.

I failed memorably.

If there is one concrete rule of thumb that you should always, always, always always do, it's this: Look both ways a minimum of two times.

Whenever you approach a stop sign, you should either look right, look left, then look right again. Or, look left, look right, and look left again. At the bare minimum. Never, repeat, never do it the way I did it that fateful day.

Come to a complete stop at the stop sign at the end of a side street that empties into the main drag with DMV directly across the street. Look left, look right, then pull out. Then slam on the brakes as a car whizzes past you at breakneck speed 'cause you didn't look left again. If you'd look left again, you would've seen that car approach and thus taken the appropriate action.

After successfully performing my parallel parking (using side mirrors, thank you very much) and getting a lecture from the examiner and later on by mother dearest, I scheduled another appointment to take my driver's test.

Suffice to say, the third time was a charm as I'd passed with flying colors and thus was introduced to the world as a driver who went through cars like some people go through underwear in a given week.

To whit, from the age of 16 until now, I was the proud owner of almost twenty cars. Foreign and domestic, standard and automatic. You name it, chances are that I either drove it or drove something similar to it.

But my friends, that is another story for another time.



  1. I took my driver's test in my father's Ford Maverick, standard shift, three-on-the-tree ... What a driving machine, I'm telling you ;)

  2. Twenty cars? Considering how much I hate to buy a car, I can't imagine having gone through it twenty times!

  3. I'm interested to hear about what kind of cars...

    "The first inkling that the day may not go according to plan was when I almost ran over a crossing guard in front of the local middle school."

    BWAHAHA! Thanks for the laugh! I needed it.

  4. Okay, I'm already curious about the rest of the story. You went through cars as in you liked to change up vehicles or you smashed and bashed your way through them?

    lol - my driver's test was soooo tame in comparison to yours, G!

    Have an awesome weekend!

  5. Had a perfect score. Then I went to the parking portion and it was raining and my rear window was fogged over. Needless to say I hit a cone and had to come back for another try.

  6. Joanne: That had to be painful. I was fortunate enough to do mine with an automatic. Don't remember the car, only that it was an automatic.

    Didn't get a standard until much, much later.

    Mama Z: It might have been a little less, but hopefully through the miracle that is DMV, I'll be able to come up with an exact count.

    R: So am I. I actually took some time today and started tripping down memory lane. Got up to 12 cars that covered me through the early 90's before I started blanking out.

    Hopefully DMV will help fill in the blanks and I'll have another fascinating post about the cars I've owned in my lifetime.

    Talon: Very few were smashed and bashed as the majority were blown engines and the like. Had lots of used cars in my life and as a matter of act, owned exactly one new car.

    Bearman: Sad part of mine was that the day was a bright and sunshiny summer day.

    The parallel parking apparently was the easiest part for me as I used nothing but side mirrors to do the job.

  7. I remember those slide shows...and they were pure awesomesauce of doom.

    Too bad you missed the crossing guard, that would have scored you the bonus points needed to pass on your first try

  8. Darth: Actually, I think I got close enough to the crossing guard that she actually was able to put her hands on the hood of the car.

  9. Should I be relieved that I'm not driving on the same roads as you are? :)

    I failed the written part of my motorcycle test at 16 when I first took it. A friend had told me not to bother studying and I stupidly listened.

  10. I nearly failed my first driving test, too. I knocked over a cone on the parallel parking part of the test. He gave it to me anyway. :)

  11. Lynn: With parallel parking, you're always given the benefit of the doubt, whether you do a good job or a bad job at it.

    Doing what I did, you definitely don't get the benefit of the doubt.

    You get rescheduled for another day to do it all over again.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

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So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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