Question of the Day: Your First Really Dumb Move?

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman
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question of the day your first really dumb move

I know I pick on the kids a lot in this column, but they’re kids– they don’t even like themselves. Still, we were all young once. Back when that description applied to me, I was the proud borrower (and then owner) of a 1985 Pontiac Parisienne Safari station wagon. Turns out the world’s greatest Knight Rider live blogger, Alex Nunez, owned a 1987 Pontiac Safari. Just two days after he got his license, Herr Nunez got his sideways– with his mother in the passenger seat. He reports that he didn’t hit anything, and you know Alex was looking for the limits. Me, on the other hand, I managed to pull off a near complete 720, on the freeway in the rain. My even dumber friend decided he needed the heat on full blast. Anyone who remembers GM cars from the late 70s/early 80s knows that even if the EPA had choked the engines to (near) death, the HVAC systems were still (and kinda are still) the envy of the world. Meaning that full heat was not acceptable. And we fought. And we started getting speed wobbles. And around we went. And then we went off the road into the mud and spun again. After realizing that both us and the car were in fact fine, I chased him in circles around Dad’s brown Pontiac trying to catch and beat him. You?

Jonny Lieberman
Jonny Lieberman

Cleanup driver for Team Black Metal V8olvo.

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  • Kevin Kevin on Jan 22, 2009

    My high school car was a 4-banger 1982 Mustang. Today in retrospect I'm appalled Ford ever made a low-powered 4-cyl Mustang of course, but as a kid it was great. Back then I was thin and had hair and girls liked me, and on one or two occasions we did the clown car act and I'd pack no less than 11 girls into my car for a trip to McDonalds. I could hardly brake the car to a stop it was so heavy. Nothing went amiss, but can you imagine if I had got them all killed in a wreck? I would've been sued for a billion dollars and sent to the chair. 25 years later, I feel faint whenever I think of that.

  • Golf4me Golf4me on Jan 22, 2009

    I missed the "first" in the title...I guess my FIRST stupid thing was driving too young. My parents went to a conference leaving me home alone at age 12 for 10 glorious days. Gramma came to bring decent food every couple of days. Neighbors were supposed to keep an eye on me. Anyway, the second day, a package came for my dad, and when he called later in the day, I let him know. It was an exhaust system for our '75 Civic. He told me to put it on. (I was already a decent mech at this point helping him on the weekends keepin our jalopies running) It was 10 degrees out and the ground covered in snow and ice. Under the car was the only dry area, so it wasn't too awful. It was a very simple job and took me about an hour. (rusty bolts). Anyhoo, I decided to start the car just to make sure "everything worked". Then I got curious. I had watched my dad drive a million times, and I was proficient in go-karts and the like, so, I slipped it into gear. Went forward a little. Backward a little. Before I knew it, I was driving around the neighborhood like I owned it, and even picked up a friend on the next block. We went up to the HS near us which had a mini F1-like road around it and zoomed around the rest of the afternoon. Took it out at least once a day the rest of the week. Parents come home. Dad happy with work. At supper table that night : "so, did you have a nice week? Anything to tell us" "nope" Mom gets a look on her face...blurts out "we know you took the car out. What were you thinking. DO you know how much trouble you are in MISTER" Dad silent. Grounded for I don't know how long by mother. Dad had no say in that. Watching TV after dinner. Mom in kitchen. Dad is beaming with pride I learned how to drive stick all by myself. 1980 equivalent of a high five, and a "don't tell mom". Dad let me drive all the time after that, especially when he wanted to get tanked... would NEVER happen today.

  • Andy D Andy D on Jan 22, 2009

    I taught myself to drive in a 53Ford I paid 5 bucks for. The clutch was shot, so I couldnt really get into much trouble. When the car died, I replaced with a 53 New Yorker, a 331 Hemi. It drove well with just one minor flaw. No brakes . It had a driveshaft mounted E brake that would lock both wheels. I was 13 and with my 10 yr old brother ,we would cruise when my parents went to choir practice. Never got caught.

  • JEC JEC on Jan 23, 2009

    I pulled a Scandinavian left-foot braking flick with a front wheel drive Acura on a gravel road. Problem was the thing was uncontrollable once it got sideways (something I learned after that experience, and some more time in icy parking lots). Rather than the graceful slide I envisioned, the car slithered in a none-too-comforting S, ending up on the wrong side of the road, perpendicular to the lane, with the trunk hanging over the ditch and the rear wheels on the shoulder. That was as close as I ever came to crashing. And I never screwed around with that car again.