Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Ol’ Robbo took the Eldest Gel down to the County’s Juvenile Court this afternoon – and don’t think I didn’t milk that statement for all it was worth – in order to formally receive her driver’s license at the hands of one of the judges there. (She’s had a temporary license for about three months now since completing her driver’s ed course, but this is the real deal.)
It was a reasonably nice and apropos little ceremony designed to hammer into the little bastids’ collective (there were about fifty kids) braims the fact that driving is both a privilege and a responsibility and that, broadly speaking, they don’t know jack about it yet.
First, we got shown a musick video of some kid consumed in grief because he’d just killed another young driver through his own negligence. “Why did this happen to me?” he kept lamenting through the rain, to which the obvious answers were a) um, because you go drunk and got behind the wheel? and b) you just killed an innocent girl and all you can think of is yourself? The gel informed me that she’d already seen this video about a dozen times, so I’m thinking it had probably reached saturation point with most of the rest of the audience as well. As for myself, I kept half-expecting the singer to suddenly look up and ask, “What does the fox say?”
Next, we had a little lecture from a gruff old Sarge’, in which he imparted a lot of stern words of what amounted to basic common sense. There’s been a lot of ballyhoo recently about militarized thug cops, but this fellah was obviously one of the Good Guys. My impression was that his wisdom was well-received. (I learned a new term from him, by the way – “steaking”. It seems certain kids in our area like to skip school, drive to Philadelphia, eat a cheesesteak for lunch, scootch home before school’s out and show the receipt for the sammich to their little friends to prove their roguishness. The fact that they would voluntarily go anywhere within 100 miles of Philly to me shows their obvious immaturity.)
Then the judge gave us a little anecdote about the niece of a friend of hers who had been killed on the road the night before she was to go off to college. Her point to the Li’l Darlins was that their decisions on the road impacted not just their own precious snowflake selves, but also everyone around them – family, friends, community, etc. She also mentioned the fact that under Virginny law, Mom and Dad have the power to yank the youngling’s license at any point they feel it is necessary, and the Commonwealth will back them to the hilt. I liked that last part especially.
After this, there was a bit of an anticlimax. The judge said ‘bye and vanished, and the clerks started dealing out licenses and, well, that was pretty much it.
So here we are. One down, two to go. The Middle Gel can get her learner’s permit some time this summah, I believe, and seems hell-bent on doing so.