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What I Learned in Driver Ed

      As you know if you've been following my weblog, I've been taking some driver ed classes. I wouldn't, but it's required by law. Mind you, driver ed does not involve actual driving, or education. It's just a way to ruin kids' summers by making them watch gory videos of people getting killed in drunk driving accidents. Oh, and you have to memorize what various traffic sign shapes mean. You have to identify them solely by shape, without any color or word hints. I for one think this is idiotic. I'm never going to be in a situation where I have to identify a sign solely on shape. I mean, "yield" signs have "YIELD" written on them, in big letters. And those yellow warning signs that have diagrams instead of words are all the same shape anyway.

      Anyway, a class of this calibre obviously requires a comprehensive accompanying text. My driving textbook is called "Drive Right!", and it is full of the most useless driving information known to man. Basically, they make up information that you don't really need in order, I suspect, to fill whatever the page requirement is for a textbook. You have to remember names for things like, "When you drive, you are part of the highway transportation system or HTS." Then for the rest of the book they keep talking about the goddamn HTS.

      The worst is the four Steps for reacting to, um, situations. They tell you to "IDPE" (or is it "IPDE"?), which stands Identify, Decide, um, something starting with P, and Execute. Let's take a for-example: A truck is coming at you. Using their system, I would have to

  1. Identify the potential hazards in a truck coming at me;
  2. Decide how to handle the situation;
  3. Ponder what the hell P stands for;
  4. Execute my decision.

      By the time I'm through with all of this, it's too late. I'm dead. So you see, this is the best Driving Tip as it is liable to actually take my life.

      Clearly, IPDE (or IDPE) is a brilliant system for driving Situations. But is that all? Maybe it could be equally useful in one's everyday life. As a trial, we'll apply it to another complicated life situation: Flirtation. Why? Because here at L&E have noticed that there's no tried-and-true step-by-step process for flirting, and we need all the help we can get. Even if IPDE sucks for driving, it could be good for this; it's at least worth a shot.

      Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that a sexy girl is smiling coquettishly at me, as sexy girls are wont to do. Finally she gets up and sits across from me and says "Hi, I'm Julie [for the sake of argument], what's your name?"

  1. Identify the pretty lady. Julie. She just said so. Oh. Okay. Wait. Are my palms sweating? Heh. Yeah. Uh. Okay. What next?
  2. Decide whether to flirt with her or not. Yeah, I better do that. She's looking at me kind of hard now, wondering why I'm not saying anything. Okay, I will. Yes!
  3. Panic cause I can't remember if I should have done the 'P' step first.
  4. Execute the girl.

      Great! Now's she dead! Fuck you, I(D/P)(P/D)E Process! I was gonna score tonight!

      Not only am I sexually frustrated, but I'm now on the run from the law. You see? It just took that one moment... well, those several moments of careful thought and decision-making... and my life changed, just like that. Just because I used poor judgment in applying what I learned in driver education, I will never be a normal teenager again. Everybody thinks it could never happen to them, but you know what? It could.



      So remember kids, flirtation isn't a right: it's a privilege. It comes with a great burden of responsibility. Always be alert and flirt safely. And remember to buckle up! Girls don't want to see your Rainbow Brite underwear on the first date.


- Laura