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Dean’s Driving School


On the Edge of Common Sense | Baxter Black

Dean was in his eighties
and still drove his pickup.
This concerned his best
friend Jack, who questioned
the wisdom of riding with
him. Dean based his selfconfidence
on the fact that
he lived in western Kansas
where you could drive from
Hugoton to Bird City and
never see a person wearing
a suit and a tie!
Dean was a cattle feeder
and planned a trip to Sublett.
He invited Jack to go
with him. Against his better
judgment, Jack agreed. Dean
insisted on driving. To the
credit of Kansas, the speed
limit is high. Twenty miles
from home, the truck started
shaking. They pulled off on
the shoulder and made an
inspection. One of the rear
tires was low.
On close examination
they found a nail in the tread.
These two wise sages pondered
whether to try and
fix it, which would entail
crawling underneath the
truck, letting the spare tire
down, dragging it out from
under the bed, jacking up the
vehicle, spinning off the lugs,
muscling the LT 265/70R 17
tire, etc., etc., etc.
Dean made an executive
decision; don’t pull the nail
out, turn around and race
back home before the air
escapes out of the tire completely.
Brilliant! Then have
the tire fixed in town. Jack,
who was a little younger,
took over the driving, with
Dean’s approval.
They were flying (80 mph)
down the long, bare, twolane
road, the tire thumping
and shaking the steering
wheel as Dean egged Jack
on! As you would guess, they
attracted the attention of a
lonely Kansas State Trooper
who turned on his flashing
lights and pulled them over.
They explained about the
tire and their urgency. It fell
on deaf ears. He gave Jack
a speeding ticket…a hefty
ticket for speeding and for
driving an unsafe vehicle!
A week went by. Another
trip was planned, same destination,
same State Trooper.
This time Dean was driving.
He was made to pull over.
The Trooper recognized
the vehicle and the two geezers
from the previous week.
“Goin’ a little fast, weren’t
you, boys?” he asked.
Dean, no stranger to this
setting, said, “Eighty-three,
officer. Only eight miles an
hour over the speed limit.
I didn’t have the cruise on,
better to pay attention without
that automatic stuff. I try
to be safe. I can’t remember
the last time I got a ticket…I
got a good record…etc.,
etc., etc.”
When he stopped to take
a breath the officer stepped
in, “The speed limit is 65 and
I clocked you at ninety-two.
And, I gave you a ticket last
week for speeding and unsafe
“Uh, you gave HIM a ticket
last week,” said Dean, pointing
at Jack. The Trooper was
examining Dean’s driver’s
license. “You aren’t wearing
glasses.” He said.
“Well, I was just cleaning
them when you flagged me
down. That might be why I
speeded up, not bein’ able to
see the dashboard and all.”
Jack said, “Let me trade
with him and I’ll drive us, I’m
a lot safer.”
“I gave YOU a ticket last
week for speeding…Maybe
you guys are a bad influence
on each other, did you ever
think of that?”
“You are absolutely
right, Officer, so if you don’t
write him a ticket, I’ll take
him home, and just to be
fair I’ll make him pay half of