The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 27, 2013

Mike Pound: Dad puzzled over daughter’s test rationale

By Mike Pound
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — I think our 15-year-old daughter Emma wants to flunk a test.

The reason I think that is because so far she has refused to study for it. Fortunately, the test isn’t school-related. It’s driving-related.

Emma recently turned 15, and veteran parents out there know what that means. It means that instead of yelling at each other every other minute, Emma and her mother will yell at each other constantly.

At least that’s what I’ve been told.

The other thing turning 15 means is that Emma is now old enough to get a learner’s permit, which will allow her to — follow me here — learn to drive.

But before Emma can get her learner’s permit, she has to take a test to determine whether she knows enough about driving to be allowed to learn how to drive.

Too bad there isn’t a Congress creature learner’s permit test.

Several months ago, my wife picked up a book at the driver’s license place for Emma to study for the test. So far, to my knowledge, she hasn’t opened the book.

I suppose I should be happy that Emma is determined to flunk her learner’s permit test because the longer it takes her to pass the exam, the longer it will be before I will have to let her get behind the wheel.

I’m not looking forward to helping Emma learn to drive. Something tells me she will be more concerned with how she looks behind the wheel than how the wheel actually works.

Call it a hunch.

By the way, Emma has already picked out the car she wants to get once she is able to drive by herself. That’s right, she hasn’t studied for her learner’s permit test but has picked out her car.

I told Emma that when I was her age I didn’t have to worry about picking out my car. My parents did that for me, which explains why I was the coolest guy in town tooling around in a Dodge station wagon.

Two words about that station wagon: chick magnet.

Last week, when I reminded Emma that she will have to take her learner’s permit test once she turned 15, Emma said she knew that.

“But you haven’t studied for it yet,” I said.

“That’s OK,” Emma said.

“You’ll flunk it,” I said.

“I know,” Emma said.

“You do?” I said.

“Sure. Everybody flunks it the first time. Katie flunked it twice,” Emma said.

“I see,” I said, although, as usual, I didn’t see.

Emma told me that her friends take the test without studying for it knowing that they will flunk. “That way you know what to study for,” Emma said.

I asked Emma why she just didn’t study for the test so she passes it the first time.

“What if I study too much?” she said.

I have to admit her test-taking plan made sense in a 15-year-old sort of way. Life is too short to waste time studying too much. Why study about turning on the car’s headlights if it’s not going to be on the test?

Of course, it’s possible that they don’t even talk about what time you should turn you car’s headlights on anymore, since most car headlights come on automatically now.

When I took my driver’s permit test, I think the answer to the headlight question was 30 minutes before something. I’m not what that something was; I just remember the lights should come on 30 minutes before that something.

I pointed out to Emma that flunking the learner’s permit test will require me to go to the trouble of driving her to the license place at least twice.

“That’s OK,” Emma said.

Well, as long as she’s OK with it, I guess I am, too.

It does make me wonder, though: How many times do you think our Congress creatures would have to take their learner’s permit test?

I’m guessing several, at least.

Do you have an idea for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.