Do Not Pass Six Cars in One Fell Swoop
January 17, 2010
When Random Granddaughter was a little tyke of three or so, she dreamed of being a train engineer, ferry captain, or a fire chief. Now that she is all grown up at five years old, she plans to be a teacher and an artist, though her behavior in kindergarten suggests she will likely be an outlaw.
At an early age, I thought I might be a humorous writer such as Dave Barry or Bill Bryson, or perhaps a comedian, such as Bob Newhart or Bill Cosby.
Although Dave Barry entertained millions of readers and Bob Newhart entertained millions of listeners and viewers, I entertained perhaps a few score readers of my blog and amused perhaps a few hundred captives to the computer classes I taught. Although I visited comedy clubs when I was in my 30s, I never had the courage to try the “open mike.” One reason was that I am not that funny. Another reason is that I don’t think that quickly on my feet. I knew if I were heckled (as comedians always are), I would not think of a comeback until 24 hours later.
Last week I taught my first AARP Senior Driver Safety Class, a course that spanned two 4.5 hours sessions, in a small city 30 miles away from my home. As I drove home after the first night, carefully scanning for dangers to the side and ahead, and carefully keeping a safe distance from the car ahead of me, as the safety course advises), a car pulled out to pass all the southbound traffic on the two lane highway. With fear and awe I watched as the vehicle passed—not one—not two—not three—not four—not five—but SIX cars. The driver then safely merged back into traffic without having a head on crash with oncoming traffic.
The next day, I described the experience to the class participants near the start of the second session. I then asked the participants (who had revealed on the first day that the main reason they take the Driver Safety Class is because they get a discount on their insurance from their automobile insurance company, as is true of almost everyone who signs up for these classes):
“Did you learn worthwhile in this class besides that you will get a discount on your insurance?”
One participant, named Janet, something of a smart-ass (as I am one I know one when I see one, being one myself), said, “I learned not to pass six cars on a two-lane highway.” The class cracked up. It was a perfect heckle.
Just long enough.
The participants settled down. When I had their attention again, I said,
“Jan, that is important safe driving advice. However, there is an important qualification I should add as your instructor.
“While it is not safe to pass six cars on a two-lane highway at night, it probably is OK to pass five cars under those conditions.”
I guess you had to be there.
I am not quitting my day job. Which is being a retired 65-year-old person, though I will be promoted to retired 66-year-old person in a couple of weeks.