Hey!! I Got my Driver’s License & a Playboy Magazine

For the last few weeks I’ve been asking my mom to take me to the driver’s license center. I’m ready to get my license! I’ve been driving since I was fifteen, so that part is no big deal, but I’ve studied that manual & know every single answer. Mom keeps telling me that she does not have time, so I hope she has time this week.

I’ve driven many times and have even been spotted by the cops driving without a license. I don’t want to take the chance of getting caught. So today I asked her again. “I can’t take several hours from work to take you there!” She yells. I am so pissed off. I am sitting outside and I guess I must have looked pissed off, because Joe comes up to me and asks me “why are you mad?” As I am explaining how I am never going to get my license, how my mother does not have time to take me and how I am never going to get what I want, I can see his face getting a strange look. “Why?” he asks. “what! haven’t you heard what I’m saying?” I yell at him. Again he gives me a puzzled look. “I don’t see your problem. If you want to get your license, let’s go!”

He gave me a new possibility that I would have never considered. “lets go” was totally not expected. See Joe is described by my dad as a “bad seed” an “irresponsible hoodlum” is how the neighbors describe him, but I knew different. I like him & he is not that scary to me. He is my brother’s best friend and he pays attention to me. The fact that the Carteret cops lump him together with his older brother as a criminal, does not convince me that he is all bad. I am doubting my instincts, though. I’m not sure if I should trust him. “What’s the matter? Don’t you want to go?” he urges me.

So going the six miles to Rahway all of a sudden is not that far fetched. We get on the bus & sit all the way in the back. I’m a little worried since I’m going to another county with somebody the cops consider a criminal. “Don’t worry” he assures me “I will get you there.” For some reason, those words were extremely reassuring. No matter what anybody thinks of him, I know he is a good guy.

We are sitting there quietly for a few bus stops when all of a sudden Joe breaks the silence & says “Hey you gotta pass a test to get your license.” So I reply “Sure, I’ve studied for it…” when Joe cuts me off. “No way man, not that kind of test! You need to pass the ‘Being a man’ test.” He asks me two questions (which I answer almost immediately) & he asks me: “Do you think you are a man, yet?” He thinks for a while & then he tells “OK, you’ve passed the test! Now I have a surprise for you.”

jan 1979 Playboy CoverSitting there in the back of the bus, he reaches into the breast pocket of his coat and pulls out a magazine. He hands me the January 1979, 25th Anniversary Edition of Playboy magazine, and says “this is a special issue.”

“It has your favorite girl from Love Boat & Fantasy Island – Barbi Benton.” This is a WOW moment. Not only because I am holding my first Playboy magazine, nor because I am getting my driver’s license. But because I am gaining a new found freedom,

Joe did for me what my father could not do. My father showed me love & showed me faith but Joe showed me how to assert my independence & to trust. He showed me to follow my instincts, to trust myself and to go for what I want in life no matter what people make you out to be.

That day I got my license, but the biggest lesson I learned is not to judge another solely on people’s opinions.

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