COLUMN: MiMi and the scooter of death


I should’ve known. I mean, I know a bad omen when I see one. Why didn’t I pay attention? On a recent trip to Disney World, the people at our hotel rented my wife Carol an electric scooter with the number three on the back. I should have immediately made the connection between her and Dale Earnhardt, aka the Intimidator. Earnhardt, who drove the number three car, was a legendary NASCAR driver who loved the bumps, scrapes and spin-outs of stock car racing. Some people accused him of racing dirty, a claim he actually embraced. Clearly, the scooter number was no coincidence because when my wife got behind the wheel of her electric scooter at a theme park, she drove just like ol’ Dale.

The list of her park mishaps was quite extensive. On the first day, she ran over my foot, my son’s foot (twice) and nearly backed into a whole group of people. I still have a tire mark on my sneakers. For good measure, she misjudged her stopping distance and bumped into an unsuspecting man waiting in line for a ride. But the highlight of the day, and perhaps the whole trip, was when she took a turnstile too fast and caught a big chain on her arm rest, nearly jerking the chair off the frame of the scooter. It took two Disney employees to get her untangled. I almost hyperventilated from laughing so hard. If I had been lucky enough to video the whole encounter, I have no doubt it would’ve gone viral. And I had the perfect title: MiMi’s Theme Park Scooter Fails. My son, seizing a potential opportunity to birth an internet sensation, began recording her every time she got on a ride. The Intimidator would be proud.

One night, she drank a pina colada at dinner, and I feared that it might further impair her lousy scooter driving abilities. I can’t 100% say that it did, but she did bang into a trash can while trying to leave the restaurant. You be the judge.

I’m not surprised that Carol can’t drive a scooter because she can’t even operate a car very well. Our friends have known this for a while. For example, if we are ever taking anyone anywhere, most of them beg me to get behind the wheel. One of my buddies told me that being in the back seat when Carol is driving is like being in the hull of an old wooden sailing ship. People get motion sickness when she starts drifting back and forth across the road. How could someone like that handle an electric three-wheeler?

On subsequent days at the park she had a few more close calls, including scaring a group of European tourists half to death and narrowly missing a kid who ran in front of her.

When we finally checked out of the hotel, Carol returned the scooter, and I said a prayer of thanks. Disney World was safe once again, and we avoided an international incident.

Plus, by the time we left, I had learned how to apologize in five different languages.

Joe Hobby is a barbecue-loving comedian from Alabama who wrote for Jay Leno for many years. Find more of Joe’s stories on his blog: Follow him on Facebook at Joe Hobby Comedian-Writer.