Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

I am very confident that I will NOT have trouble with my children over one specific issue when I reach those really really golden years. It may be the one single issue over which we won’t disagree.  But, I really don’t think they’re going to think I’m driving worse – than I do right now.

One wonderful lady I knew quite well still insisted on driving when she was well into her 80s.  Her son, whose company just happened to carry the lady’s automobile insurance, put his foot down when the woman “almost hit” another elderly lady walking in front of the car.  Since it was a parking lot, there were differing opinions about who had the right of way.  My money still is on the pedestrian. The driver INSISTED the other woman jumped out in front of her, which was a bit of a stretch, since I’m thinking the old woman’s jumping days were only memories at best.  At any rate, no one was hurt.

But nonetheless, the son took his mom’s car keys away, which probably cost him quite a few points on the home front.  The woman was furious and threatened to have her garage torn down – on top of the car.  Telling a parent not to drive – or not to do anything – is a difficult task.

A story was just told to me last week about a grandmother, who, on her last birthday declared, “Next year, someone will have to pick me up and bring me to my birthday party.  After all, I’ll be 100, and probably will need to stop driving.”

The reason I don’t think my children will harass me about not driving is that they’re terrified to ride with me now, and I don’t think they’ll notice a change for the worse the older I get.

It certainly can’t be any worse than the gentleman someone told me about the other day.  Seems like he was out with some of his buddies on a bit of a drinking spree, and after a few hours “on the town,” he was the only one who hadn’t been drinking very much and was declared the designated driver.  His three friends helped him into the car and made certain his seeing eye dog was resting on the floor next to him.  Yes, you’re following this correctly.  The designated driver was legally blind.  But, they only had to go a couple of blocks. (That made it OK.)

His buddies coached him slowly and deliberately:  “Back up.  Just a little more.  Now a little more.  That’s good.  Stop.  Now, very slightly turn the steering wheel to the left.  That’s good.  Now go forward very slowly.”

Surprisingly, all was going well, and the foursome was within only a few hundred yards of the destination, when the inevitable happened.  The blue lights and the siren started, and the three drunk friends coached their driver to the side of the road. Why was he stopped?  He was driving too slowly.  The policeman came up to the driver’s window and said, “May I see your driver’s license, please?”

“I’m sorry, officer, but I don’t have one.”

“Why not?”

“I’m blind.”  There is some confusion now in the retelling of the story many hundreds of times precisely what the officer said at this point.  But, it boiled down to the fact that the man wasn’t going to drive another inch - ever.

When asked, “What on earth possessed you to think you could drive,” he gave the response that will forever be in the “Driver’s Hall of Fame.”  “Sir, I am sober, and my friends are in no condition to drive.”

You and I both know this is too strange to be made up.  It is true.  I share all this with you, and with my children, so that when they see me toddling along in my car at the ripe old age of 94, they won’t notice anything unusual.

Date of Blog Story: 
May 31, 2010

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