It’s time for a good old fashion rant. Ready? OK, here we go. I’m sick of this f*&#ing Maryland driving test. We’re not trying kids out for NASCAR (though I’m sure some of them may think they are). We’re trying to make sure they have reasonable proficiency to drive to school and to the mall. But, this test is a goddam joke. I’ve heard the first time failure rate is 85%. When I was in graduate school and TA’ed a course, the professor made me write a few of the exams. He said, “by they way, if more than half the students fail, it’s your test that failed.” This test has failed. When I took my driving test in the late 70s in Virginia, I had to make 4 right turns and done. Here, kid, here’s your driver’s license – good luck. I’ve done just fine since then.
Why the sudden rant? Well, maybe because I just stood out in 90 degree humid weather for 2 hours giving parallel parking lessons. And, yeah, my kid failed his first attempt at the test. And, not to brag, but we’re talking about a ridonkulously gifted kid when it comes to physical talent and hand-eye coordination. He’s the captain of his high school baseball team and all that. But, dropping a car into a parallel parking spot is hard. I still miss occasionally and I’m a Parallel Parking Hall of Fame inductee. My son has buddies who failed 3 times before finally passing. Maybe this is just (yet another) tax Maryland levies on us.
Here’s my suggestion – let’s give this test to all the women in my neighborhood and the ones who can’t parallel park in 3 minutes lose their license. I’m betting we’d see a lot of taxis pulling into the cul-de-sac on Monday. Oh, and spare me the whining about the women driver stereotype. In case you can’t tell, I’m in a bad mood and don’t want to hear it. I’m sure there are some women out there who can parallel park with the guys (my wife is one of them), but it’s the exception so drop it.
This test is just friggin’ stupid. The first time my boy took it, he parallel parked perfectly. I was watching from 50 feet away and did a little fist pump when he put the car into the spot perfectly on the first try. Then the douchebag instructor got out and measured how far the wheels were from the curb. 13 inches, one more inch than allowed. Bzzzzzz – you fail. You’re shitting me, right (or as the teen texters would say, YGBFSM)? 13 inches from the curb is a failure? Are we really testing the right things with these kids? Is it really that important that they be able to parallel park 12.0000000 inches from the curb? What about testing whether they can drive and text at the same time or something practical like that?
OK, end of rant. I’m home and cooling off in the A/C with a tall glass of ice tea. He’s taking the test again tomorrow. Hopefully, he’ll find the magic 12 inch mark that demonstrates he’s a safe driver. Ugh.