Years ago, I mean years and years and a really long time ago, when I was taking my driver’s training final exam, my instructor asked me a question.
Now. Up until this particular question, I had been proceeding through the training with ease, parallel parking and reverse zig-zagging my parent’s mini-van with ease. Nothing escaped my new driver knowledge. Until.
“What would you aim for if you had to run your vehicle off the road.”
“What would I aim for? How bout an empty field?”
“No, you have to hit something.”
What kind of question is this? My mind raced through the plethora of possible objects that may be found on the side of the road: garbage, flower beds, trees, Optimus Prime, people, lemonade stands, animals (once I even saw a headless horse on the side of the road! Of course, I instantly thought of The Godfather), 100-year old Sequoias, leaf piles, old sofas, mail boxes…
Leaf piles would probably be the obvious choice; I used to love driving through them, watching leaves fly up all around…until my mom reminded me of all the fun my siblings and I used to have playing in the leaves. A headless horse? You can’t do much damage to a headless horse, though your vehicle may suffer. Okay, how about flower beds? But all that work, love and care, destroyed by my uncaring tires…my mind settled on mail boxes, because they’d tend to give (unless they’re those giant brick mailbox monoliths waiting to leap out at unsuspecting passersby) and they’re easily replaceable. Yes, a small, innocent mail box is just what I’d aim for, If I had the choice.
“Well, if I had the choice, I’d rather aim for nothing, but since I have to hit something, I choose a mailbox,” I said triumphantly, proud of my logical, well-thought out answer.
“WRONG! FAIL! The correct answer is BRUSH PILE! You are the WEAKEST LINK!” she gleefully exclaimed.
A brush pile?! Who keeps a brush pile on the side of the road? Far be it from me to argue, though I did shoot her an incredulous look and my mom glared daggers at her from the back seat in solidarity. I fleetingly imagined plowing the car into a mailbox just to prove I was right.
Though now, thinking back, if I had a choice, I think I’d say Optimus Prime. No one can argue with that answer.