My thoughts used to be a lot younger. 30 years ago, like any 18 year old guy who spends thousands of dollars customizing his Camaro, I loved to drive! Even a motorcycle crash leaving me brain damaged and half paralyzed couldn’t kill my love of driving.
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But Harborview Hospital doesn’t have a driver retraining program, plus my doctors were saying I’d never be able to drive again. So, after my release, I visit a Seattle hospital that does have a driver retraining program.They ask for my records. A doctor examines them and says: “I’m sorry, you won’t be able to drive again.”
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Huh? What does he mean, “I’m sorry?” He doesn’t understand. I have to drive! Luckily, Dad believes I can drive again. But He doesn’t believe it strong enough to let me learn how in his car.


Luckily, my 5thgrade music teacher living nearby let us use his old Buick. With Dad in the passenger seat, I drive between and through all the small towns on Seattle’s East side. One time, as I’m driving out of the small town of Redmond, blue lights start flashing and a siren wails.
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“Oh no! What does he want?”
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I start braking as I pull over onto the wide shoulder and coast to a stop. I look in my rear view mirror and see this short, stocky cop climb out of his car. My memory of the incident faded over the years, but I think he set a coffee mug on the roof of his car before doing a type of John Wayne march up to my car. I roll my window down. He stops beside my car and glares through my open window.
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“How much have you had to drink?”
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“I haven’t had anything,” I blurt.
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I don’t know if he understands me or not, but when he hears my speach impairment his expression changes so fast his glasses almost fall off.
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Dad appropriately jumps into the conversation and explains that I sustained a head injury in a motorcycle crash and I’m currently preparing to get my drivers license back.
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Admiration crosses the officer’s face. “I hope you do it,” he says.
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I get a pre test manual from the DMV and study it. Chasing the driving dream fills my days, as well as my heart and mind.
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I remember leaning on my cane and limping down a hallway I limped down about a million times before. I stop in front of the same old door. Knock, knock, knock.
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“Come in.” I turn the knob and hobble in, going straight to the same old green vynal covered chair. My heart beats wildly. I’ve waited for this moment. I’ve rehearsed it in my head. I know every detail. Slowly, dramatically, I get comfortable, relishing every moment.
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“So sir, do you think I’ll ever drive again?”
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“Al, we’ve been over this and over this. You will never drive again.”
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I smile as I reach for my wallet. I smile even wider as I pull out my reacquired drivers’ license and hold it up.
WINNERS Don’t Quit! Winners DON’T Quit!! Winners Don’t QUIT!!!