Mike says the eas­i­est way to drive Dad crazy is to give him a brake


Teach­ing teenagers to drive is go­ing to take years off my life, I swear.

Here’s the deal: By de­fault, I seem to be Vice Pres­i­dent in Charge of Teach­ing Teenagers in My Fam­ily How to Drive My Car. No­body else ( trans­lated: The Blonde Ac­coun­tant) seems to want to do­nate a ve­hi­cle for prac­tice, ac­tu­ally get into the car with the young driv­ers and im­part any wis­dom or be within a three- mile ra­dius of of­fer­ing any driv­ing in­struc­tion.

It’s not like I’m the great­est driver or that I’ve got any par­tic­u­lar pearls of great wis­dom to im­part. My teach­ing method is pretty sim­ple: Get in, put on the seat­belt, start the car and for the rest of the time you’re be­hind the wheel, try not to kill me while I’m scream­ing at the top of my lungs. Not ex­actly the text­book ver­sion of driver’s ed­u­ca­tion — it’s more along the lines of teach­ing some­one how to ride a roller coaster — but I’m still breath­ing, so it’s worked up to this point.

Ac­cord­ing to The Blonde Ac­coun­tant, my own driv­ing habits rest some­where in be­tween The Old Guy Out for A Sun­day Drive Gawk­ing at Ev­ery Cow to Mario An­dretti at the In­di­anapo­lis 500. I do not agree with ei­ther of th­ese po­lar op­po­site de­scrip­tions of my driv­ing. I have to ride with me, so I know. I haven’t had a speed­ing ticket in more than 10 years and ev­ery ac­ci­dent that I’ve been in since I started to drive 37 years ago has been the other driver’s fault.

Now I don’t par­tic­u­larly think those are the cre­den­tials that qual­ify me to be the only fam­ily driv­ing in­struc­tor, but ap­par­ently I am wrong about that. And no, there is no ex­tra pay for this duty ei­ther, thank you very lit­tle.

I got off easy with my girls. Older Daugh­ter didn’t get her driver’s li­cense un­til just a few years ago, af­ter col­lege. Oh, we did some prac­tice early on when she turned 16 way back when, but No. 1 Son- in- Law did all the heavy lift­ing on teach­ing his wife to drive. Bet­ter him than me.

And I dodged an­other se­ries of driv­ing lessons with vounger Daugh­ter, who wasn’t par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in learn­ing how to drive when she turned 16 and still doesn’t have a li­cense now. Con­sid­er­ing that she goes to col­lege in Iowa, there is a pos­si­bil­ity that she will learn how to drive a trac­tor be­fore she learns how to drive a car, al­though if she thinks I’m go­ing to run right out and buy her a new trac­tor once she gets her li­cense, she’s sadly mis­taken.

This run of good luck at not hav­ing to teach teenagers how to drive has changed now that Daugh­ter of Blonde Ac­coun­tant is of driv­ing age. And let me tell you, the floor­board on the pas­sen­ger side of my car is bear­ing the brunt of this turn of events as ev­i­denced by the fact that I’ve nearly stomped a hole in it while try­ing to step on the non- ex­is­tent brake on that side of the ve­hi­cle.

Hon­est to Pete, it’s dif­fi­cult on the nerves. Of course, we have to prac­tice driv­ing in my car be­cause it’s al­ready paid for. And it also hap­pens to be the car that Daugh­ter of Blonde Ac­coun­tant thinks she’s go­ing to be driv­ing once she gets her li­cense next month.

What she doesn’t seem to re­al­ize is that the Rules For Get­ting The Keys To My Car are very sim­i­lar to the Rules For Dat­ing Daugh­ters in that nei­ther of those things is go­ing to hap­pen un­til she’s 39 years old.

For­tu­nately, we have got­ten me some help — some pro­fes­sional help — in the form of pri­vate driv­ing lessons for Daugh­ter of Blonde Ac­coun­tant. We’re ac­tu­ally pay­ing some guy to stomp on the pas­sen­ger- side floor­board of his own car and give my nerves a lit­tle breather now and then. It’s pricey, but we look at it as an in­vest­ment in my men­tal health, which is good.

So now my du­ties sup­ple­ment that of the pro­fes­sional driv­ing in­struc­tor, al­though even that wouldn’t have helped what hap­pened last week­end.

We were out prac­tic­ing our par­al­lel park­ing in a res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood in Lans­dale — which was kind of a waste of time be­cause I’m still not very good at par­al­lel park­ing my­self, so there isn’t much I can teach in that re­gard — when the weather started be­ing un­co­op­er­a­tive.

Now it’s prob­a­bly good for young driv­ers to prac­tice in all weather con­di­tions, but it is a bit dis­con­cert­ing to have the skies open up and dump im­me­di­ate flash floods onto a stu­dent driver.

But that’s what hap­pened. For­tu­nately, Daugh­ter of Blonde Ac­coun­tant main­tained her com­po­sure and nav­i­gated the route while it was rain­ing side­ways. We got prac­tice in wet con­di­tions, op­er­a­tion of wipers and lights and clinch­ing up our hind ends.

In fact, she did such a com­mend­able job han­dling the ele­ments that she might have ac­tu­ally cut some time off the 39- year rule on me turn­ing over the keys to her.

She can now have them when she’s 29 years old. See, I can be rea­son­able.

Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive edi­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia and author of the book, “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215- 542- 0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ ya­hoo. com. This col­umn can also be found at www. mont­gomerynews. com.

Ro­tary’s head chef and Jenk­in­town Manor res­i­dent Bob Lloyd works the grill at the Jenk­in­town Ro­tary Club pan­cake break­fast as Buzz Wil­son, left, and Jim Mar­shall as­sist him.

Mike Morsch

Outta Leftfield

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