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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on April 23rd, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 7 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 7

Driving Under the Influence (of parents)

Krider and his wife, whom he loves, take advantage of their son's driving skills

By ROB KRIDER


I like to consider myself a high roller. When I cruise up to the scene of an event, I have my lady at my side, my personal driver, and a wad of bills in my pocket. You might be thinking that rolling up in a limo with a pocket full of cash is a bit pretentious for a guy who isn’t a rap star or a Hollywood celebrity, but allow me to clarify: My limo is a Hyundai Sonata and my limo driver is my 17-year-old son, who is actually just my designated driver. When I said I have a wad of bills in my pocket, I am being literal. I have a Wal-Mart bill, an Old Navy bill, and an overdue tax bill.

Since the day my son earned his driver’s license, my wife and I have found ourselves drinking a lot more. We do this for a couple of reasons.  

No. 1: Because we can. Since we always have our son to drive us around, we no longer have to argue about who’s going to have a few drinks with dinner versus who is going to drive us home. For the record, I always lost this argument and was the designated driver while my wife fulfilled the role of designated drinker. The reason I lost this argument for so many years was because my wife always had the ultimate trump card to throw down during any deliberation. She called it the “I’ll let you” card.  I’m not going to lie—it always worked. I shut right up, ordered a Pepsi, and was happy as a clam to drive sober. Sometimes great things awaited me, and sometimes the “I’ll let you” card meant “I’ll let you drive me home and hold my hair out of the toilet.”

No. 2: Riding along with our son while sober is too frightening. It is much easier to relax while he attempts to merge onto the freeway if I have six or seven Coronas in me. My wife is on the same page and requires two Cadillac margaritas to withstand any freeway merging. Before we call our son to come pick us up from a bar, we don’t discuss if we have had too much to drink; we discuss if we’ve had enough to ride home with our son. We strongly believe in the saying, “One more for the road.” My poor son has had to endure some pretty awful sober driver trips chauffeuring around his drunk-ass parents. Everyone agrees that backseat drivers are the worst, but what is much worse is two drunk helicopter parents yelling from the backseat, “That was just a two-way stop! Did you look both ways before you pulled out?! Drive in the middle of the lane! You got too close to a parked car back there! Why don’t you have a girlfriend?!”

My son has become quite adept at handling inebriated people. He learned a few tricks of the trade during his first year as a driver. After he picks us up, he immediately takes us to Taco Bell. He’s learned that the best way to get a drunk to shut up is to stuff his face with food. Instead of hearing, “You missed the exit!” he just hears, “mmmm, burritos taste so good.” Taco Bell has a marketing campaign called “Fourth Meal” but, in reality, its late-night customers consider it “Drunk Meal.”

My son has also learned to find a clean restroom between the bar and our house. My wife, whom I love, has a bladder the size of a peanut—and three or four Cadillac Margaritas do not fit into a peanut shell. My son can’t drive 10 feet from a curb without his mom exclaiming, “I really have to go to the bathroom!” If he is foolish enough to ignore her, assuming it is just drunken backseat ramblings, he will pay dearly. Once his mom hits a certain I-have-to-pee threshold, she gets what we in the family refer to as “pee Tourette syndrome.” She becomes unglued and begins ranting in profanities so obscene sailors cover their ears. It is very, very ugly. My son knows to find mom a bathroom ASAP.  

The other thing my son has learned as our designated driver is that he can probably get stuff from us. Drunk people are like shade tree philanthropists. We will fill up his car with gas, pick up the tab at the drive-thru, get some ice cream, and maybe buy him a new Playstation 4. I call this drunken-parent-guilt gifting. He certainly takes advantage of it. But I don’t see the real harm in it; we don’t drink and drive, and when he gets home, he has a new $400 gaming system. It is still way cheaper than a DUI.

That is what this whole thing is about: showing our son we take sober driving very seriously. This teaches him responsibility. Now he is the most responsible person in the house; he is responsible for the car, his parents, late night snacks, parking, restroom breaks, and getting everyone home to their beds safe and sound. Because of this, when he gets to college, he’ll know exactly how to handle belligerent drunk people: feed them, let them pee, and then put them to bed. I think we have done our son a great service. And on that note, I think I’ll have another round. Bartender!

 

Right now Rob and his wife are screaming in their son’s right ear as they attempt to drunk order in the Taco Bell drive-thru. Send comments through the executive editor at rmiller@santamariasun.com.




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