I have stared into the gaping, drooly maw of death.
I have teetered on the brink of imminent demise. Now every day is a
gift. I take time to smell the cappuccino. I live in the moment,
not worrying about tomorrow because yesterday, I tried to teach my
ADD daughter how to drive.
I prepared myself for this ordeal like any pragmatic
father of a girl who can't pay attention to an entire commercial: I
dialed 91- on my cell; I hugged my wife and told her where to send
a search team; I made an ice-cold dirty martini.
I didn't want her to drive. This is a girl who can get
distracted while tying her shoes. Letting her pilot a 5,000-pound
hurtling tank of flammable gas through our neighborhood strikes me
as unpragmatic. It makes me wish we were Amish.
For the sake of other parents in this predicament, some
pieces of advice:
We used a forest preserve lot. No one goes there except forest
preserve cops and the escaped convicts they're looking for.
Pro: No oncoming cars.
Con: Deer-and they're pretty, so brace yourself for
sudden screeching halts followed closely by a barrage of "oh my god
that deer is soooooo gorgeous" moments.
Like this kid sleeps. Might as well take advantage of the deserted,
well-lit streets and clock some time while everyone else is
watching the Late Show.
Con: The adrenaline making your heart spaz-out like a
highly caffeinated Chihuahua as your daughter drifts into the other
lane to see the couple in the next car will keep you awake till 3
Pro: If you get a flat, you can lift the car with one
Once she sees that one kid with the long hair and the nose pierced
slouching on a bus bench as you hurtle past, a lengthy explanation
about lane obedience will most likely be punctuated by death.
Better to have a short, punchy catch phrase. Ours was "color in the
lines," which works best when delivered in all caps, thusly: COLOR
IN THE LINES! COLOR IN THE LINES! OH MY GOD WE'RE GOING TO
Pro: Short, easy to scream.
The sheer bravado and élan in a good Sinatra song soothes nerves
and bolsters confidence. Might work on the kid, too.
Pro: Goes well with the martini.
Con: Goes well with the martini.
These are just a few ideas, of course. I'd give more but
my nerves are shot, and I'm still in the middle of calling close
relatives and letting them know I'm alive.
Christopher Garlington is a
Chicago dad and the author of the deathbychildren.com
Christopher lives in Chicago with his wife and kids and can also be found at deathbychildren.com.
See more of Christopher's stories here.