Drivers Ed Memories

Below, I’m pleased to present the final installment of the series of posts centering on my ten-year high school reunion

Drivers Ed was essentially about memorizing procedures, which were a series of meticulous steps addressing every possible aspect of driving. Even ludicrous situations like driving down the freeway and having the hood fly up like in the movie “Tommie Boy” had detailed instructions we memorized to avoid disaster. And naturally, none of these steps was to panic and steer blindly into a crowd of innocent civilians. Now aside from a Chris Farley movie, when would this ever happen? Of course, Drivers Ed instructors would have you believe this occurs nearly every day on their commute to work.

And when we did our driving tests, not only did all of these various procedures have to be performed, but also performed in order. Check parking brake. Fasten Seat belt. Double-check parking brake. Adjust seat. Check mirrors. Release the parking brake. Check cleanliness of ashtray… Seriously, space shuttles can launch faster than this.

But all of these procedures had to be memorized and done perfectly in order before we could depart. They basically forced us to develop obsessive-compulsive personality disorders just to drive a car. Honestly, you pretty much had to be Rain Man to get your license.

Of course, the best part was when you missed a step. You always knew it too, because the instructor would just shake his head in utter disgust. Futilely, I would set and release the parking break a few times and perform pronounced checks of my blind spot, hoping I’d get lucky and randomly execute whatever step I missed.

The funny thing was, every missed procedure somehow resulted in the horrific death of an imaginary pedestrian. Keep in mind; we weren’t even on the road yet. Usually, we were the only car in an empty parking lot. But the instructor would turn to you, and point out how you failed to check the litterbag in the vehicle, and how this oversight just killed an innocent civilian.

And as far as imaginary pedestrians go, it was never an ordinary jogger or something. It was always a mother of nine, in a wheelchair on her way to getting a bone marrow transplant. And you killed her. How do you live with yourself?

When we weren’t on the road we were stuck with the simulators. Of course, the only thing being simulated was our attention span for this BS. Now, the simulators were just that, a fake car interior, with a projector showing imaginary road conditions in front of us. Since it was pretend driving, we usually practiced something totally ridiculous like driving across an oil slick during a monsoon.

As you might expect, the simulators replicated the interior of a 72 Oldsmobile. That was the most ironic thing… It’s a simulator. Why couldn’t they simulate us driving a nice car? It’s all for pretend anyway. Nope, they wanted us to get lots of practice simulating the experience of driving a total piece of crap. Honestly, I think they even had simulated pedestrians laughing at us as we drove by.

In the end it was worth it. Even though I endured lots of public humiliation and developed an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, at least I had the freedom to drive myself to get psychiatric therapy once I had my license. All thanks to Drivers Ed.

Reunion Speech:

Finally, if you would like to download the full-length video clip of the reunion speech (rated PG-13) I delivered to my classmates, you can access it here. Simply right click on the “Download Now” button and save the file to your computer.

I think it’s enjoyable regardless of whether you went to my high school or if you are drunk while viewing it. My audience was both of these things, so that certainly aided my performance.

Note, it’s a big file (50 MB) so be sure you’re Comcasting (new corporate verb!) some high-speed Internet. Also, this link expires in seven days, so if you find that this link is broken, shoot me an email and I’ll repost it.

Finally, thanks for humoring me on my Al Bundy-like fixation on high school memories of late. As of last night, I stopped sleeping in my letterman’s jacket, so this site should be returning to normal shortly.

11 thoughts on “Drivers Ed Memories”

  1. the speech was funny. a little long, but i managed to only nod off twice. other than that, good job, mission accomplished. i especially liked dane williams reference to vince vaughn when he said your speech was, “phenomenal.” i swear i was watching wedding crashers for 1 second.

  2. Sorry I missed it…

    See I lucked out with Driver’s Ed. Simply because Mr. Mann had a connection to swimming (his kids swam, he was an official, etc.) so he and I would just cruise around and talk swimming. And he didn’t really even watch what I was doing. I was doing like 80 on I-82 one day and he just sat there BSing with me…

    So I know nothing about this difficulty with procedures and what not.

  3. Anytime you can relate anything to the equivalent of West Valley High, I am all for. Nice work, you had a captive audience. There were no speeches at my reunion that anyone listened to for longer than 2 minutes more or less sat down for. You are a tame crown there at EHS!

  4. You probably gathered this from the context of the speech, but in Saved by the Bell terminology, West Valley was the “Valley High” to EHS’s “Bayside High”.

    I think that sums it up perfectly.

  5. Well done my man. It was funny and accurate. Excellent inside jokes and refrences. I will say the best part was you chastising the peanut gallery like a seasoned pro. Excellent use of just the right amount of profanity. Start working on the twenty year while this debaucle of a weekend is still fresh in your memory.

  6. I agree with Krusty on taking care of the hecklers. The speech was definately the highlight of the night for me. Even with all the inside jokes my husband enjoyed it and it definately perked up his otherwise boring escort duties. Thanks for the info on this site, I just made it through marital relations. Pretty funny stuff. Since Jeanette had a C-Section you can now say that you know her inside and out (that is my husbands favorite after being there for my two C-sections).

  7. I second everything. Great speech! I’m sure Dustin Diamond would be very proud of the way you handled that heckler.

  8. And so the legend lives on….Great speech! This weekend was proof that we do get better with age. Some of us are funnier (MR), some are taller (Booth!), some are less meat-y (Krusty) and some are just wider (me- but I prefer curvy). We also got better at laughing at ourselves and we’re better friends to eachother. Imagine how fantastic we’ll be in 10 more years! I’m looking forward to the speech already – minus the hecklers.

  9. Yeah, great speech man. I’m sure that you heard Dan and I out there heckling and commenting, but we were mostly rooting you on. I think that Dan downed about 4 beers during your speech, so by the end he was basically shouting obscenities. Nicely done buddy.

  10. Well done!! definitely the highlight of the evening. Your speech brought back so many memories. I especially like the commentary on Driver’s Ed. One of my more embarrassing moments was as a result of running over one of those silly pedestrians. Mr Mann actually made me get out of the car and apologize to the old woman and her grandchildren that saw me run her over. This terrible act of ruthless driving happened to occur in the school parking lot near lunch time. Good Times.

    Thanks again for pulling through with a great speech. Expect another phone call for the twenty.

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