The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 30, 2012

Mike Pound: She’s driving Mr. Dad crazy

I’ve been trying to teach our 14-year-old daughter Emma a few things about driving.

I’m not ready to teach her how to actually drive, but I figure it won’t hurt to give her some pointers in advance of her actually learning to  drive.

Emma’s friends Katie and Kelsey are a year older than Emma and are both in the driving part of learning how to drive, so naturally Emma is getting anxious to join them. A few years ago, the idea that Emma was getting close to driving age would have scared me to death. A few years ago, the thought of Emma hopping in a car and driving away would have sent me into a panic. But, as Emma has gotten older and involved in more and more activities, I can’t wait for her to learn to drive. In the past few years I believe I have spent close to 8,959 hours and $593,000 in gas ferrying Emma from one activity to another.

So I’ve begun giving Emma little pointers as I drive her from dance class, to her youth group, to her school activity, to her friends’ houses and back again. Emma usually listens to me when I pass out driving tips, but, after a while, she begins to lose interest. And by “after a while” I mean 30 seconds. I know some of you out there just read that and thought “30 seconds? That’s all?” But I also know that those of you who are currently the parents of a 14-year-old person just read that and thought “Wow, how did you get her pay attention for 30 seconds?”.

Mainly what Emma does when I pass along a driving tip is pretend to listen and then, when I’m finished talking, she asks me what kind of car my wife and I are going to buy her.

“Who says we are?” I say  back.

“Daaaaaaaaad!!,” Emma  says back to me.

“No seriously, who told you that we are going to buy you a car?” I say.

Emma doesn’t answer my question. Instead she starts listing the sorts of cars she might be interested in driving. After Emma is through running down her list of cars, I tell her that my parents didn’t buy me a car when I was in high school.

“What did you drive?” Emma asks in a horrified voice.

“Our family station wagon,” I say.

“Gross,” Emma says.

I tell Emma that driving the family station wagon wasn’t as gross as she thinks it  was. I wasn’t cool; don’t’ get me wrong, but at least I got to drive.

“If I had to drive your car I would die of embarrassment,” Emma tells me.

I tell Emma that I’m sorry to hear that she feels that way.

“So what kind of car are you guys going to buy me?” Emma asks again.

I told Emma that I didn’t get a car until my freshman year in college and that I had to buy it myself.

“What kind of car was it?” Emma asked.

“A 1967 Chevy Impala,” I said.

“Was that a cool car?” Emma asked.

I told Emma that I’m pretty sure that at one time my Chevy Impala was a cool car, but by the time that I bought the car its cool days were long gone. I told Emma that about a month after I bought the car I was driving it back to college when the left front tire fell off.

“That’s awful,” Emma said.

“You’re telling me,” I said.

Emma asked me what happened to my Chevy Impala.

“I think I abandoned it on a country road,” I told Emma.

Emma was quiet for a few minutes as we continued our drive. Then she looked at me and told me she had a question for me. I told Emma to ask away.

“What’s a station wagon?” she asked.

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

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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