What Mario Kart taught me about driving

In most cases you are taught to drive by your parents; in deserted school parking lots, neighborhoods, empty stretches of road, and other places where you are less likely to kill pedestrians.  Sure, my parents taught me to drive too, but it is fair to say that with the childhood hours I logged playing Mario Kart, I learned some others lessons that still affect the way I drive today.  And if you and I are going to share the same road, you might want to pay attention.

Throwing things out of your car can be dangerous

But if I don’t want my new car smelling of ripe banana, I’m tossing the peel out the window.  And if you run over it and spin-off into a ditch, at least Mario Kart has taught me that you’ll recover and should be back to tailgating me in no time.  I guess the key thought here is “CAN be dangerous.”  It all depends on what you are chucking out the passenger side.

Don’t hit things in the road

You may think your dad taught you this one (in hopes of protecting the undercarriage of his 1992 Dodge Monaco),  but no, it was Mario Kart.  Upside down boxes of destruction, the banana peel I just tossed, oil slicks, and shells.  I mean, why do you think so many people save turtles from the road?  Out of compassion for turtles? No, it’s the subconscious fear of hitting shells in the road, developed after avoiding thousands of strategic green shell bank shots.

You may say he looks proud, I say he looks relieved!

If you run off the road someone will help you

Sure it might not be some guy named Lakitu in his floating cloud, it’ll be some guy named Larry in his rumbling truck.  Thankfully I’ve never run off the road, but after years of playing Mario Kart, falling into haunted mansion abysses, mushroom gorges, and castle moats of lava, I’m just not worried about rolling off the side of I-4.  Hey, they don’t need AAA to get by in Mario Kart. I’ve learned that rescue will be immediate and I’ll be just fine.

Basically the same thing

You need to be the first one to go at a green light

I time it perfectly, 3 – 2 – 1, and zoooooom!  While the rest of you are texting or picking your nose at a spotlight, I’ll be watching the countdown on the cross walk, and when the light changes you will see my tail lights through a cloud of dust.  And when you pull alongside me in the next ten seconds at the next red light, at least you’ll have learned some respect.

4, 3, 2, 1, "Here we go!"

The person in the lead will most likely get screwed.

In Mario Kart, I learned that being faster than everyone else makes you awesome and a winner.  In the real world, it makes you attractive to police officers.  Then, it HIT me! You get punished in Mario Kart too.   You break away from the pack, and think you’re going to reach that checkered flag first.  And that’s when you hear it… The REE-REE-REE siren of screw – soon followed by the spikey-blue-shell-leader-killer smashing you out of your momentary feeling of awesomeness!  Blue shells are like the speeding tickets of any Mushroom, Star, or Special Cup race.  Sure they don’t cost you 100+ bucks, but they do cost you your pride, which is even more valuable.

from the feeling of awesomeness to the feeling of pure terror in 4.5 seconds

Very clever layering in those life lessons Mario Kart!  Doesn’t mean I still won’t try to smoke everyone else on the highway… because…

There are many annoying people on the road

Just look at them

There’s always gonna be an obnoxious Princess Peach cutting you off, a super slow left lane driver like Toad, and an obscenely large truck captained by a Bowser.   I’ve grown up learning that anyone else on the road basically deserves to suck my exhaust.  I will gloat in the lead, waiting for my very own balloon release, and a gold trophy spit up by an enormous floating fish.

Sure a trophy from a fish is weird, but it means I'm better than you

Final Lap

Plenty of my other driving habits probably came from my Mario Kart education too. Like the way I drift into other lanes on turns and the fact I need to find unconventional shortcuts all the time.  Whether its reckless or awesome- at least I’m owning up to it… So what has Mario Kart taught you?

“I’m-a Danigi, number one!”  See ya on the street!