Richard Ord: Testing times for my second-favourite son

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Driving tests are notoriously difficult. One small mistake and you could face the misery of an instant fail.

I remember making a slight error on my first test and so just missed out on a pass. It happens.

I only clipped that pram, but what can you do? The way the mother went on you’d think the bairn would never walk again! But it’s on those small margins that passes are won or lost.

Lesson learned. She learned to look both ways and not dawdle when crossing a road, and I learned that those painted black and white stripes are known as zebra crossings. A win-win in my book.

Our eldest boy, or, as I refer to him when talking to his younger brother, “my favourite son” (it pays to keep your offspring on their toes), has been learning how to drive.

It’s been a labour of love. Hard labour.

To be fair to our Brad, 17, he proved to be a natural behind the wheel. You’d think he’d been driving for years, such was his disregard for the rules of the road and the abuse he directed at other drivers.

If he had applied the same attention to detail to his driving test as he reserved for choosing the music for his lessons he may well have passed first time.

Unfortunately, a little like myself, he failed his first test on a minor technicality.

That being: No matter how carefully you do it or how often you use your mirrors and indicators while you do it, you’re not allowed to drive your car on the pavement!

As first time fails go, that was pretty impressive.

To be fair to our boy, he was just doing what every other driver does once they pass their test.

After driving beautifully throughout, he was asked to pull over wherever he felt comfortable.

With traffic piling up behind him, he pulled into the side of the road and, like all the other cars parked along that stretch, he parked half on the road and half on the pavement! An instant fail.

To see him so crestfallen and to listen to his sob story of how he did what any other driver would have done was heartbreaking ... and mildly amusing.

He needed a shoulder to cry on. But shoulders are for wimps. I delivered an unexpected verbal dig just under the lower rib.

“Basics Bradley,” I told him. “You’re not allowed to drive on the pavement. End of.”

I then let him know he had dropped down the pecking order to become my second-favourite son. Tough love baby. Didn’t do me any harm.

I was forever being told by my parents that I was their third favourite. And I was one of only two siblings!

Anyway, that tough love paid dividends. The boy retook his driving test this week and managed to scrape a pass.

It’s all about confidence. You need to let them know you have every faith in their abilities and success will come.

Oh, and given he’s free to drive anywhere, you may want to stay indoors for the next few weeks. I know I am.