Thursday, January 26, 2006

Illinois threatens to disrupt life's seasons

To everything, turn turn turn, there is a season, blah blah blah, we've heard the song and we love it because it's true. Because in life there is a time for everything.

Remember being a kid? How far back can you remember? Some claim they can go back as far as age 2 or 3, some even as far back as the womb (these would be called "pro-lifers"), but I can't really remember much until kindergarten. Maybe it was all the drugs I took back in preschool. But if you were anything like me, as you were growing up, you couldn't wait to turn a certain age. I call the following the I-Can't-Wait-For Years:

Age 5: Some people claim they couldn't wait to turn 5. They heard about this school thing, and they couldn't wait to get there. Like I said, my brain wasn't functioning yet, not until I started thinking about turning ...

Age 10: There is something very grown-up about hitting the double digits. So few of us hit the triple digits, so this is actually an important milestone.

Age 13: Ah, becoming a teenager is the next step in becoming a real human being. I once heard a comedian suggest that parents should be given the option to abort until the child becomes a real human being. I agree. Imagine if you could tell your bratty 12 year old, "I'm sorry, but you're just not turning out. I'm gonna have to hit the old abort button."

Age 16: Probably everyone can remember saying, "I can't wait to turn 16, that's when I'll get my driver's license and hit the road like Kerouac."

Age 18: Adulthood, sort of. You can vote, you can join the military and die for your country, but you still can't drink.

Age 21: Drinking age, the age when many of my friends said, "That's enough already, I think I'm ready to quit drinking." Of course they didn't.

And that wraps up the major I-Can't-Wait-For Years. Afterwards, I guess, are Age 30, Age 40, Age 50, and Age 65, with some milestones mixed in, like College Graduation, First Job, First Layoff, First Marriage, First Child, First Time Blowing Off Jury Duty, Second Layoff, First Divorce, First Time Being Sued, Second Marriage, First Time Your Kid Says, "I Hate You," First Mental Breakdown, First Arrest, Second Mental Breakdown, Third Mental Breakdown, etc., but all these events (which eventually happen to every single person in this country) come at different ages, so it's hard to call them I-Can't-Wait-For Years.

The trouble with the I-Can't-Wait-For Years is if you waste your time waiting around for something, life passes by and you accomplish very little. Just think about all those hours you've spent waiting in line for a roller coaster at Great America. In the time it took to get on the Eagle once, you could have probably finished reading a short chapter in a book or a long blog post like this one. But, no, you spent that hour saying, I-Can't-Wait-For This Ride! And then it was over and you were like, huh, that was it? And then you say I-Can't-Wait-For the Next Ride, totally missing the lesson you'd just been taught.

All this I tell my children. And this is why they call me Cynical Man.

Anyway, what prompted these thoughts wasn't a recent milestone that I achieved (haven't quite gotten to that first breakdown). It was this headline: Bill would push driver permit age to 17. Just because of some recent crashes, a Chicago lawmaker is proposing legislation that would bar 15- and 16-year-olds from driving and raise the minimum permit age to the highest in the nation.

Under the plan, teens wouldn't be able to get a driving permit until 17 and a license until 18.

Now I'm all for making teenagers' lives miserable. But I don't think it's a good idea to mess with nature. Some things in life should be left alone. Which is why I say, don't change the I-Can't-Wait-For Years. And to those of you who were thinking I-Can't-Wait-For the Point of This Post, too bad, that was it. See what I mean about wasting your time?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the lawmakers are confusing reality with "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" again.

First the video games, now driving.
What's next? A life-imitates-art scene as Mayor Daley take a cue from the evil preacher in 'Footloose' and bans teenage dancing? How far can the Reichministers in Springfieldstag push this oppressed class before they rise up in revolt? It is just a matter of time before a 16 year old rises up a la Moses, and declares 'Let my people go'.

Of course, the current generation of parents have mollycoddled their children, therby stripping away all of their self esteem, so this latest whipping will probably result in a mere 'meh' from them.

8:00 AM  
Blogger ap said...

From an anonymous teen who has ap's password: Um, I don't even understand six of the words in the previous comment. But if my dad ever "mollycoddled" me I'd have him arrested for sexual assault or something.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

I think I went to college with a Molly Coddled.
This is the last thing parents need. Especially since many 17-turning-18-year-olds (not me, but others) are college freshmen. What are they going to do, have mom and dad drive them to Gateway Liquors for the keg? How very inconvenient.
I thought the Democrats were supposed to be the cool ones, and the Repubs were supposed to be the stodgy old coots. Instead, it's just the Dems playing overprotective mother and the GOP playing the pissed off, drunk father.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Patty O' Furniture said...

Molly Coddled is my second cousin!

11:51 AM  
Anonymous jenska said...

I think they have some strict laws like this other places -- California? Washington? I can't remember. Anyway, kids can get their licenses at 16, but can't drive alone or alone with other teens in the car until 17. Personally, as someone who didn't get their license until 23 and the guts to actually drive until 27, I don't see the big deal of driving at 16. But, then again, my middle name is molly.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Jonah said...

I'm 17 and an Illinoisan. I don't have a permit or a license to drive. I don't believe that I'm capable of being a good driver at the present time.
Lowering the permit age is a great idea. If the insurance knows that teens are crappy drivers, the state should know that too.

7:18 PM  
Blogger ap said...

jocko, you're probably the only 17 year old in Illinois who is willing to admit he isn't ready to drive. when I was 17 I thought I was the best driver in the world. Now I'm older and wiser, so I know I'm the best.

9:33 PM  

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