Monday, April 07, 2014

Be mindful of the expiration date ~ My column from Sunday's Paper

Jilda and I went out of town recently and one establishment needed to check our identification.

She dug through her purse (I call it a duffle bag) and then handed the woman her driver’s license. The woman rubbed her thumb over the date to make sure she read it right and then said, “You don’t look

Jilda beamed and blushed a little. As she handed the license back she said, “You realize they expire at the end of the month.” That was on the 27th.

When Jilda took the license back, she looked at it to make sure the woman hadn’t made a mistake. She hadn’t.

Had the lady not caught the impending expiration, Jilda would probably have had to take the driver and road test again.

I immediately pulled my license out of my pocket to check the date. I don’t cherish the thought of retaking the test until I absolutely have to.

I think the test was easier back in the ‘60s when I took it. I went on January 16, 1967. My birthday is on January 15, but that was Super Bowl Sunday and the Green Bay Packers were playing the Kansas City Chiefs, so I had to go the next day.

I breezed through both the written and the road test.

Back then if you got the state trooper back to the courthouse without running down pedestrians, clipping any cars or forcing him to take a slug of the vodka from the flask in his back pocket, you passed.

I had a friend that was as blind as a bat and he still passed the driving test even though the trooper did spend the following weeks twitching involuntarily and muttering to himself.

The Alabama Driver’s manual has changed over the years as well, but I’ve always viewed the manual as suggestions and not hard and fast rules.

For example, when it comes to yielding, page 61 of the manual says that when two vehicles enter an intersection not controlled by signs or signals at approximately the same time, the vehicle on the left yields to the vehicle on the right. While that probably holds true to city folk, living in the country has taught us that the truck with the largest tires has the right of way no matter when it arrives.

There is also language in the manual now about texting and using cell phones. While the law doesn’t forbid talking on the phone, it lists several precautions you should take.

It is against the law to text, chat, or send emails while driving. Should you get caught texting, the fine for the first offense is $25. I snorted when I read this.

Twenty-five dollars is a few Starbucks lattes. The second offense is $50 and the third is $75.

With all the accidents caused by texting, I was thinking more on the lines of having a finger lashed off with a set of tree pruners. The second and third offenses should cost a hand and an arm respectively.

I know my justice sounds a bit harsh, but I think it would serve the greater good.

Anyhow, we arose early the next morning, had hasty coffee and got ready to head out to the courthouse.

Jilda dolled up because she wanted to make sure she looked good on the license photo.

I also put a reminder on my iPhone so I would know well in advance when my license expires.


  1. Oh my goodness Rick... this was hilarious, I will be sharing this on my media ;-)

  2. There's a big fine if you miss your license renewal around here....well, maybe not "big" but I hate handing over 20 bucks to the state if I don't have too! That lady was right on...Jilda doesn't look 62! I laughed about the big tires getting the right of way...sort of the same around here. We also have to watch out for those Amish buggies, especially at night. Every place has it's quirks! My oldest son was in Alabama last week and really had a great time. I think he said he was in Huntington...farther north anyway. Have a good week!

  3. Your story about getting a license when you were young is very humorous! I'm afraid in the city of Chicago, they are very serious about all of this, so we laughed very little when it came to the fact, we were lucky of we didn't collapse from stress by the time it was over. I like your way better!

  4. Jilda always has that beautiful smile lighting her face.

  5. Jilda definitely doesn't look 62!

    I agree with you about the penalty for texting not being strong enough. Not sure I'd cut off limbs but they should certainly hit the wallet harder ;)

  6. Dear Rick, fortunately, here in Missouri, the state sends out a notification a month ahead of when our driver's license needs renewal. LIke you, I can remember my first test--in Dayton, Ohio. I was 35 and had just learned to drive and I was a nervous wreck because parallel parking was so difficult for me. I passed however and the little three-year-old girl, daughter of the friend who's taught me to drive, stood cheering as I came into the building to sign the papers!!!! Peace.

  7. No WAY Jilda is 62.
    That has to be a typo.
    Beautiful lady, she is....


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