Dad, Alex and Malcolm Gladwell Trump Mom

After my son and I listened to Malcolm Gladwell's "Blame Game," I decided it was time to take logical and necessary action-- the podcast dissects the Toyota "uncontrollable acceleration" scandal of 2009 and Gladwell places the blame squarely on the humans operating the vehicles, not the vehicles themselves-- and so I told my thirteen year old son it was time he got some practice behind the wheel of an automobile, so he could familiarize himself with the controls as soon as possible and avoid the tragic situations described in the podcast . . . Alex was very excited about this, but my wife did not think it was a good idea-- but she also knew there was no persuading us-- the podcast is a very powerful piece of journalism-- and so she simply requested that we not tell her about our plans (and not use her car) and we tried to honor that request as best we could, and yesterday morning at 6 AM (my son set his alarm!) I drove to the large parking lot behind the Sears on Route 1 and Alex pulled the seat all the way forward, turned the ignition key, and navigated his way around several parked cars, between two parking lot islands, and avoided all the light poles-- I didn't realize there were so many obstacles in an empty lot . . . flashes of Tina learning to drive ran through my head-- but he was a good listener and did a great job on his first time around, then parked the car by a big tarp with a bunch of junk heaped under it, and learned to reverse, use his mirrors, and turn the car around from the reversed position, did one more lap without incident, and then I drove home . . . my wife did hear us come in and we told her the news and while she didn't want to hear the details, she was happy that we didn't use her car.


Lecky said...

I've done it with mine and it's a blast for all involved. Kids love it and the minor fear of something going wrong is a rush. So I'm calling out the intellectual justification - just admit you're a dumb dad like the rest of us and still trying to have some fun in the waning days of summer!

Dave said...

it's true, it was fun to let him take over, but the sears parking lot is a far cry from the narrow streets of highland park.

zman said...

I had a similar experience in the Fairleigb Dickinson parking lot when I was 14. It's a good idea to get kids acclimated to driving a car in a safe place like a parking lot instead of learning in the street.

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