AddThis Feed Button

Sunday, May 23, 2010

License and Peppermints

This post originally appeared on my blog at Please go over there and read some of the other funny things me and my friends have been writing about.


My name is James. I am 26 years old and I cannot drive a car.

What do you want me to say?

Some people never learned how to swim, some people never learned to read, some people never learned how to spell. I never learned how to dryve.

I grew up in a house which was in close proximity to two regular bus lines (not counting the school bus) and an even more regular train line – I had plentiful public transport available to me, there was never a need to get the license. I think there’s a window in your late teens/early 20’s where you have the time and less commitment to work on it. I missed that window, so I now try and get in practice when I can. To take the tagline from The 40-Year-Old Virgin and make a sex-car analogy The Fast Show’s Swiss Toni might be proud of, “the longer you wait, the harder it gets”.

The sight of a blue-bordered, laminated license in which the person in the photo has a well receded hairline and a birthyear earlier than the debut of Home And Away might seem odd to some nowadays. Some who know me feel the need to question me week after week after week, with the compulsive repetition of an internet gambler continually clicking ‘refresh’ on a sports results website, expecting the scores to change.

“Have you got your license yet?”
No. I’m working on it.
“Have you got your license yet?”
No. I’m working on it. I’ve been busy.
“Have you got you lic-“
“… ah you go’ you lysin yeh?”
No, Kevin.
“Oh ay.”
How’s the chin, Kevin?
“ Behher.”

It’s my Groundhog Day. I sympathize with movie stars on press junkets who have to continually answer the same boring questions over and over. Yes, Clooney is amazing to work with. Yes, he’s a prankster. No, I don’t have my license yet, Kevin.

I’m just not a natural driver, it’s just hard work for me. You know the bumper cars? You know there was always one kid who could never get it to go even though it was a simple case of pressing down a pedal? See my thumbs pointin’ this-a-way? Yes? Get away from my window, it’s alarmed.

Though it is something I am working on when I can, I take solace in the fact that I’m not the only late driving bloomer. For example…

  • Oscar-nominated perpetual hottie / ranga Julianne Moore didn’t get her driving license till she was 27.
  • John Lennon didn’t learn to drive until he was 29, had an accident then never drove again – an actual car accident I mean; not the gunshot-to-the-back accident. Although it certainly prevented him from driving again.
  • Apparently, Ricky Gervais can’t drive, and he doesn’t need to as he drifts from location to location on a cloud of self-satisfaction, looking a bit like Lakitu from the Super Mario Brothers games, dropping spiny creatures upon the rest of us from a fishing line.

(L-R) Julianne Moore, John Lennon, Lakitu Gervais

I wish getting my driving license was as easy as it was to get my pen license in grade 4. Oh, the pen license. Why can’t my calligraphy skill level then be my car-ligraphy skill level now? Or my pun skill level. (Punmanship? Booya. Ready for my pun license now, Miss Mac.)

Then again, getting your pen license wasn’t exactly the same.

  • You didn’t have to take overpriced writing lessons.
  • You didn’t have to get practice writing at night.
  • You didn’t have to get practice writing in the wet.
  • You didn’t have to always hold your pen at 10 and 2.
  • If you were under 25, you didn’t have to rack up 100 hours of writing before going for the license.
  • You didn’t have to practice the manoeuvre of “parallel reverse punctuation”.
  • If you accidentally wrote in red pen too quickly, you wouldn’t get caught by a “red write camera”.
  • You didn’t have a middle-aged writing instructor named Geoff with golden-capped false front teeth, who would be standing by with their own pen poised at the ready, just in case you put too much of a curl on the lower case q and they had to take over with some “evasive writing” tactics.

Although, I guess, if you hit the margins at the side of the page, that did warrant an automatic failure.

So yes – I am working on it. It will happen. It will happen soon.

Then – and only then – will I start thinking about taking swimming lessons.


Dan Beeston said...

I didn't get a license until I was 28. It's amazing how big a change it makes to your lifestyle. Suddenly you don't have to plan, with military precision, how you're going to arrive just on time to an event.

On the flip side there is no rage greater than that of not being able to find a parking spot when you're late.

Anonymous said...

I'm just about 21and I still haven't learned how to ride a bike, much to the shame of my parents..