If at first I don’t succeed, it’s not my fault!


Graphic courtesy of Canva.

Sadie Dallas, Former Deputy Arts & Culture Editor

I truly believe that I am cursed with bad luck. Any time something can go wrong for me, it does: my phone rang twice during the PSAT, I contracted the flu on opening night of the musical my freshman year, the list just goes on. So when I failed my driver’s test not once, not twice, but three times, it was like yeah, of course I would. 

Everything seemed like it would go fine the morning of the first test. I had been driving with my parents all the time and knew my stuff, or so I thought. I was far more concerned about how I was going to look in my license photo than about passing the test. The only center with slots available before March was in Schuylkill County, which is about an hour away. On the drive there, my dad and I reviewed how to adjust the mirror, check the blindspot, etc. 

I felt confident.

 As we arrived for my 10:30 test, I made sure to park extra perfect and straight, in case the test proctor was watching from one of the windows of the licensing center. The test was supposed to be ridiculously simple: all I had to do was drive around the parking lot and parallel park. My dad was even allowed to stay in the car with me the entire time. 


At exactly 10:35, I sat dumbfounded as Bill, the test instructor, held my driver’s permit and checked the box for “fail.” I couldn’t believe it. Despite my confidence and all the hours I spent practicing, I had done nearly everything spectacularly wrong. I forgot how to turn on my car’s high beams, I genuinely had no idea where the four-ways were, and I neglected to use a turn signal. Surprisingly though, my parallel parking was faultless. There was never a notion that I might actually fail the test, and yet here I was. My dad, who is always very stoic, said “Well, maybe you should drive home for practice.” 

Feeling tears of rage welling up in my eyes, I rolled into the expansive parking lot of Cabela’s. After politely asking my dad to go into the store and leave me to cry, I facetimed several of my friends, who all said essentially the same thing: “What happened? It’s so easy!” I know! It is so easy! And still, I failed. 

My second and third attempts were less devastating, but still embarrassing. How could I fail so miserably at something so simple? Something my friends had no trouble with? The second time it was largely because I forgot to use my turn signal again, and the third time I stopped over the white line at the stop sign. The thing is, I’ve never done those things before while driving, even when I was first learning. So why now? Because I’m cursed, obviously. The universe wants me to fail. 

Now you may roll your eyes at that, which is fine, but I maintain that it’s the truth. There had to have been some sort of life lesson for me in Schuylkill County on those fateful days. I can’t always get everything I want? Do I need to be more prepared? Or maybe it was the universe’s way of knocking me down a few pegs. It certainly deflated my ego a bit to see the test instructor shaking his head as I hit the curb. My theory is that I eventually will be able to override this bad luck cloud that follows me by sheer force of will (and maybe practice). For this reason, I refuse to go anywhere else for the test. It may be stubborn, but getting my license at another place just wouldn’t be satisfying. 

I like to think that I’m infamous at the center, that I’m on some special list of bad drivers, or that they all sighed and said “she’s back” when I came to take the test again. There was also this idea in my head that there’s a limit to how many times I can try and fail to get my license. There apparently is not, or I haven’t reached it yet. After the third failure, I was told I could schedule my next attempt in seven days. But I’m not going to. I’m going to bide my time, perfect my braking, and then, when Bill from the Schuylkill Valley Licensing Center least expects it, I will be back — with even more of a vengeance. 

Sadie Dallas is a junior at Emmaus High School.