Summary: A normal teen-age event causes a crisis of faith for Vin. Although he loses faith in himself, JD's faith never wavers.
Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven and its characters are the property of MGM, Trilogy Entertainment, and the Mirisch Corporation.
I'd like to give a heartfelt thank you to Sue M. for inspiring me to try writing and for her continuing encouragement and support until I was able to finish this, my first story.
Vin's Journal Entries
Wed. Nov. 24, 2004
When I woke up this morning I was so excited about getting my learner's permit. I was finally going to be able to drive. I was going to tell everyone tomorrow at Thanksgiving dinner. I was so excited about taking the test. I had practiced with each of my uncles, with Dad, Buck and JD - lots of times with JD until he finally got fed up and told me to quit practicing, I knew it all and would pass with 100%. He was sure wrong I thought I was ready, I was wrong too. I failed, failed, failed. I didn't even almost pass. I really, really failed. I missed 9 out of 25 questions, you can only miss 5, but I missed 9. How could I do that? I knew all the answers when we practiced.
At the licensing place, they said I can take it again next week and I will probably pass. They said I was just nervous about taking the test. But I wasn't nervous, excited but not nervous. I knew all the answers, how could I have failed. Gloria took me for the test and she said not to worry. But how can I tell Dad and Buck I failed at something so simple? JD won't believe that I failed, he says they must have made a mistake at the license place, they graded it wrong. I told him it was all computers, so it was no mistake. I know he is just as disappointed as me, but Dad and Buck - they are going to be even more disappointed that I couldn't do this. They will make excuses for me like parents do, but I know they will be disappointed in me.
I know I don't do as well as JD in school, but I knew this. I could do it and I wanted to make them so proud. Now I've just failed them again.
I told the kids at school, I was getting my learner's permit this weekend. Most of the kids in my class already have a license, not just a permit. They are going to think I am so stupid. Maybe no one will ask no, they'll all ask and I'll have to tell them I took it and failed. I won't lie and say I didn't take it, that wouldn't be right, but I don't want to have to say how stupid I am - can't even pass a driver's test.
Sat. Dec. 4, 2004
Well, I took the test again and failed again. I practiced so much last week and I still failed. I answered all the questions asked me right - but when I took the test I missed 7 out of the 25. At least I did better than last time. They said I can come back again in another week. I don't know if I want to, Ill probably just fail again. This time I didn't tell anyone except Dad, Buck and JD that I was taking the test.
This way they're the only ones that'll be disappointed in me. They say they aren't, but why aren't they? I am so ashamed that I can't do something simple like getting my permit. How am I ever going to go to college and join the ATF when I'm older if I can't even do this? JD says we will just have to practice harder next week and then I am sure to pass. JD would pass if he was taking the test, pass the first time probably and get a perfect score. He is so smart. Sometimes I get mad that I can't be that smart, but I am better at most sports than he is and he isn't someone who lords it over you about being oh so smart, like Tyler and Samantha in my classes. I guess I don't mind JD being smart - I just mind me being so stupid.
Mon. Dec. 13, 2004
I failed again. Gloria took me to the test at the license place after school. I know I knew it in the car on the way there. JD asked me 50 or 60 questions and I got them all right, but then I missed 8 on the test, that's worse than last time. How can I keep failing? I "know" the answers when we practice. Dad and Buck will be home soon, I wonder if they will even ask how I did. They know I would have called if I had passed. They are probably not going to ask - don't want to hear me tell them just how stupid I really am. I hear the car now, will write more later.
Dad and Buck were really good about me failing again. They said I'd do better next time - they say that every time. I bet they never failed at something this simple in their lives. JD says he thinks he knows why I keep failing, he says he has an idea, he just needs to check it out. I hope he figures it out before I take the test next week, because that will be the last time. I've failed three times and I don't want to fail again. I wasn't going to take it again next week but Dad and Buck asked me to try once more. I said I would, I don't want to, but I said I would, so I will. JD had better know why I keep failing, because I don't know if I can handle failing again. It is so hard being a failure and stupid when everyone else is so smart.
Tues. Dec. 14, 2004
JD told me his theory on why I keep failing the test. He says it is because it is written, timed, and I can't go back to look at questions. He says I have to ask to take an oral test next time. The license person will ask me the questions just like everyone does when we practice the test. He says I always do 100% on the practice tests and I'll probably do 100% on the test if they ask me the questions. He says that might be the reason I scored so low on my PSAT and that I can take the SAT orally too. He says I am really smart but my reading problems make test taking harder for me. I sure hope he is right. I would love to make Dad and Buck proud of me by going to a real college. I want to become an ATF agent like them and you need a college education. I am excited again, can't wait until next week. I'm putting my faith in JD, I will pass next time, I'll pass the SAT, I'll go to college, and I'll become an ATF agent when I graduate.
Mon. Dec. 20, 2004
I passed. I got 96% - I only missed 1 question. I "finally" have my learner's permit. My picture is really bad but I don't care. I called Dad and Buck, and they spoke to Gloria and she is driving us to their office. We are all going out to eat to celebrate. They sounded so proud, said they knew all along I could do it. They are so great. I love them and JD so much. My family never gave up on me, even when I was ready to give up on myself.
Sun. Dec. 26, 2004
I had my first official driving lesson today. Buck argued all week that he had better take me, he said Dad would be too tough. Dad argued that Buck would get too excited. Finally, it was agreed that Buck would take me out with Dad and JD in the backseat. JD didn't want to be left out and since it's because of him I was able to get my permit I said I didn't mind him being there. What a mistake - I think I need to ask one of my uncles to teach me.
First, Buck is teaching me but we have to have a CD of Elvis playing, he says it helps you focus. Dad says no music. The two of them argue about this for - I don't know - forever. So we start out with no music. Buck gives the most complicated directions ever, I am trying to do everything he says when Dad tells him he doesn't have the sense God gave a gnat.
Finally, we begin again with Buck telling me one thing at a time, only problem is, as we are driving along he gets distracted and forgets to tell me when to turn or change lanes or just about anything, so I am getting all those instructions from Dad in the backseat. Buck loses it and tells Dad to either shut up or take over. Dad takes over and it gets worse - I can actually see him hitting the brakes before I do. Anyway it doesn't take long with him being in charge before I am almost too nervous to drive.
Meanwhile JD is in the backseat saying 'just tell Vin where you want him to go and let him drive, it's not like he hasn't driven around the ranch before he got his permit. Do they listen to JD? No - they just continue sniping at each other and taking turns instructing me, Buck not telling me anything until the last minute and Dad telling me way too much. Finally, I've had enough and tell them I want to have someone else teach me. It got all quiet in the car, they both looked so hurt. So I said I want only one of them teaching me at a time. I figure I can suffer through a few more lessons with each of them. I will call Uncle Josiah and see if he can give me lessons without either one of them knowing. I don't want to hurt their feelings but they can't teach driving worth shit.
After we got home, JD says he isn't going to get his permit until I'm 18 and can teach him. He doesn't want Dad or Buck to take him out even once. He couldn't believe how bad they both acted. I asked him how he knew I would do any better. He said I had always been a great teacher to him when we were little and he knew I would be again. Sure made me feel proud when he said that. I told him I would be glad to teach him if he decides to wait the extra months. He turns 15 ½ on the 19th of January and I won't be 18 until May 24th, so he has to wait 4 extra months. He says having me as his teacher is worth the wait. JD is the best.
I got to go call Uncle Josiah while Dad and Buck are outside and make arrangements for my lessons. I'm going to become a great driver so I can teach JD. Then maybe we can both teach Dad and Buck. Dad gets pretty mad sometimes when he drives and Buck is easily distracted. More later.