FLINT - First daughter Malia Obama will be driving for the first time this summer.
Her mom joked, "Look out."
There's nothing to worry about, though. Malia will be surrounded with Secret Service when she's out driving ("Freeze, tailgater!"), and even the White House beater car probably sprouts bubble wrap in an accident.
So she'll be fine. It's my daughter you need to look out for. She just earned her first license, and - every parent knows this is never a good sign - she is waaay too happy about it. She's even volunteering to run errands for us that involve her younger brother (aka "the devil") and his friends (aka "the minions").
If she's willing to do that, you know freedom is tasting good.
As a father, I worry, of course, even though she's a perfectly fine driver. She accelerates smoothly, obeys all traffic laws, and is courteous, at least when I'm in the car with her.
OK, yes, there's one weird thing she does. She has a bad habit of actually signaling her turns, which is a foreign concept to the vast majority of Michigan drivers, who may rear-end Annie's car while trying to figure out what that blinking light is for. I'll talk to her.
But it's not her I'm primarily worried about. It's you. Frankly, you stink at driving. And by you I mean:
- Masters of the Universe. Masters of the Universe is a term my wife coined. It applies to people who own SUV and pickups that are so big the front and back ends are often in separate area codes. Masters of the Universe drive like they own the universe, including the road that you are clearly trespassing on. How dare you.
- Left lane riders. There is a special place in Hell for people who think the passing lane is their lane and their lane only. I think it's right next to the section for highway brake tappers.
- Wobblers. Wobblers have never met a side of the lane they didn't like, so they spend most of their time visiting both - back and forth, back and forth - while those of us behind them keep waiting for them to be incinerated by a lightning bolt from on high. Not even God can stand lane wobblers.
- Wrist steerers. These are the mouth-breathers who can't be bothered to put actual fingers on the steering wheel because it's so gosh darn fun to watch oncoming traffic freak out when they see a two-ton vehicle veering over the center line at them.
- Butt flickers. You know who you are. Stop it.
- The line challenged. It's really not that hard, people. You have two lines - just two. All you have to do is park relatively equidistant between them. It's Driver's Ed 101. So how come functioning adults can't seem to master this task? IS IT BECAUSE YOU DON'T CARE? THAT'S IT, ISN'T IT?! YOU JUST DON'T CARE! (Sorry for shouting. It's just ...)
- Text twits. These are the nincompoops who think the world will end if their deep, insightful text - usually "LOL!" - isn't sent right this second. People who text while driving should have to have their cell number printed in giant letters on the sides and back of their vehicles so the rest of us know where to send angry, insulting texts later on.
Yes, it's a jungle out there, and if were up to me my sweet, innocent Annie wouldn't be allowed out in it until the age of 50, which, coincidentally, is also the age when she gets to start dating.
Unfortunately, the state says she can legally drive now.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.