April 7, 2014

Is It True? - Vol. 4 (Driver's License Edition)

I can't believe it's almost been a year since my last Is It True? post. What took me so long? Here's how this works. I'm going to tell you two stories about me, but one is fake.

I had a rather unusual (and unlawful) experience one time when I was getting my driver's license. However, only one of these stories is real. Can you tell which one?

#1 (Un)Licensed to Drive

During my first year of college about 25-years ago, I needed to get a new driver's license because my current license was from another state. I didn't own a car at the time, but a friend agreed to drive me to the driver's license place and wait with me in the long line.

Since I already had an existing license, all I had to do was take the written test. I passed the test after a long wait and then had to wait even longer until they called my name when it was my turn to get my picture taken for the license.

Here's where things got a little crazy. And keep in mind that security back then was not nearly as strict as it is today, especially when it comes to ID cards. We waited and waited and waited, but there still seemed to be many other people ahead of me. Nature was calling, and I couldn't take it anymore. Actually nature had been calling ever since we arrived, but I reached the point where I had to go, or else. So I handed my paperwork to my friend and told him to listen for my name so I wouldn't miss my turn.

I won't go into the dirty details, but I must have eaten something that really upset my stomach because I was in the bathroom for a long time. And sure enough, I missed it when my name was called.

You'd think my friend would've just said I was in the men's room and would be right back. But, no. When he heard my name, he daringly handed my paperwork to the clerk, and she took his picture and put it on my driver's license!

He got a big kick out of it and was laughing hysterically when I came out. Many of my other college buddies thought it was funny too. But I was pretty mad at the time. If I handed that license to a police officer, it would have been obvious that I wasn't the guy in the photo. But since I didn't have a car anyway, there was no immediate need for me to drive.

About a month later I figured the best thing to do was to go back to the license office (someone else gave me a ride this time) and apply for a replacement because I had "lost" my old one. Actually, I cut it up with scissors and threw it away.

Is it true? Did I really have someone else's face on my driver's license?

#2 Caution: Student Driver

I obtained my first driver's license when I was in high school. My school had an agreement with a state-certified driving instructor where he would teach a driving class for part of a semester and then administer the official written test to the class. Everyone who passed would then have the opportunity to take the driving test right there on the school campus and get a license.

On the first day of the class, the classroom was overly packed. The driving instructor was a rather ornery fellow. One of the first things he did was complain to all of us that our high school allowed way too many students to take the class, and there was absolutely no way he would have enough time to give everyone the required amount of instruction and behind-the-wheel practice for people our age to qualify for a driver's license.

The classroom fell silent when he said this because we were all teenagers and were immediately terrified that we wouldn't be able to get our first driver's licenses. But then Mr. Ornery offered us a deal. I don't recall his exact words, but he said something like this:

"I'll give you all a choice right now. I will either randomly select 15 people to cut from the class so I can instruct everyone properly, or I'll let everyone stay on one condition: you have to keep your mouths shut about not getting enough instruction and practice time behind the wheel. I will verify that you had enough training, but it'll be up to you to pass the written and driving tests to get your license."

Obviously everybody wanted to get a driver's license no matter what. So the quick consensus of the class was that we'd keep quiet about the lack of instruction. And so we did. I passed the written and driving tests and have been a licensed driver ever since.

Is it true? Did I really get my first driver's license without the state-mandated instruction?

Only one of these stories is real.


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