|By Tom Whitehurst Jr., Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Texas|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
For the record, I am FOR that -- you know, doing what's necessary, and no more, to keep the insurance agents, embalmers and drillers honest and protect the environment, while letting insurers insure, embalmers embalm and drillers drill-baby-drill. You'll hear no Smurf-blue bombast from me about Perry allowing polluters to run amok.
So, there I was, trying to do my part to build a better Texas Tomorrow, arranging for my daughter to FINALLY (!) get her driver's license (she's 17) without me having to miss any work. Being a working father married to a working mother, I thought I'd just have my parents take their granddaughter in for her driving test.
It would have been the prudent, productive solution. It wouldn't interrupt my or my wife's work. Y'all already know how vital my work is to your mental, physical and spiritual health. You're feeling it right now. But in the grand scheme, it's no comparison to the importance of my wife's work, she tells me. She's a pediatric nurse practitioner at the
My parents, on the other hand, are avid retirees. They worked hard and were good at their jobs. But retirement appears to have been their true calling. It's not selfish of them. To the contrary, being retired has been an important part of their continuing role as parents.
It makes them available and useful to their hard-working son and daughter-in-law and gives them opportunities to visit and do things for their granddaughter. My mom has taken her to the dentist more often than I have.
So, it wasn't just convenient, but also sweet, that Mom and Dad were willing to accompany their granddaughter to that Mother of All Trips to the Dentist, the driver's license driving test.
Too bad government regulators wouldn't allow it. They require a parent or legal guardian to accompany a driver's license candidate younger than 18. A parent/legal guardian's parents and former legal guardians just won't do.
Why, pray tell? My parents wouldn't have been usurping my or my wife's parental authority, being there at our behest. And it's not as if my presence -- it ended up being me, not my wife -- made my daughter any better a driver. Those who know me and my driving rue that I might be her driving role model.
She passed. She even did better than zero on the parallel parking -- significant because she was driving a 2000 Suburban. My presence pacing on the sidewalk outside the waiting room had no bearing on her success. If such a thing were of any help, then more's the pity that my dad wasn't there instead. I'm still not his equal at impatience.
So, all that the parent-or-guardian rule accomplished was to cost me, my employer and
Also, the DPS is state, not federal like the regulators Perry and his likely successor, Attorney General
The point of the regulating that the DPS was doing on that afternoon was to make sure that my daughter was a safe enough driver to license. My presence was an unnecessary extra layer, not useful like a layer of sealant on an abandoned well.
Luckily Perry, who has proved himself useful to industry at getting around unnecessary regulation, came to my rescue. If you've read all the way to here, by now you should have figured out how he did it. But, just to make sure it doesn't slip by anyone -- writing about it put it back on my work clock.
Thanks, Governor, for helping make my unproductive time productive. I say this in all humility -- you couldn't have done it without me.
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