This article originally appeared in the Just for Teens Issue


Congrats! You, a human adolescent with a prefrontal cortex the size of a Rice Krispie, were just thrust behind the wheel of a 4,000-pound death machine. But don’t worry! Just follow this guide and you’ll be ready for all the chills and thrills of operating a self-propelled battering ram of steel horror.

Like a stop sign, but shaped like a triangle.



This one is also shaped like a triangle, and it refers to high school, too!



The highway. The final frontier. You aren’t sure if you’re ready for it, but someone’s gotta drive Mom to South County for her late night water aerobics lessons, and it’s sure as hell not going to be her bitchy aerobics partner Linda. Besides, once you hit that zesty 65 mph, there’s no going back, baby.



You’re fresh off the highway and are going a solid 80 in a residential zone. Branches whiz by; each house is a blur. You are chasing something. Something important.



Only as you approach Back to the Future-level speeds do you realize just how quickly you’ve been chasing your own future. Always pursuing the next grade, or trend, or exercise program/social environment of successful, mildly classist empty nesters that will take your mother in as one of their own. You can’t stand the shame of falling behind, so you numb yourself, charging blindly forward even as people beg you to stop. Traffic cones of self-doubt are flying in every direction as you truck over pedestrians, representing those you’ve forsaken in your quest to be the best possible version of yourself. Because what if you fall behind? What then?



You’d give anything to be a kid again, when you were happy and free and everything made sense; when you could spill peas all over your Baby Einstein Tinker Table and everyone would laugh instead of calling a psychiatrist. But then it hits you: would it really be so bad to slow down for a second and enjoy the moment? You are suddenly filled with a strange warmth you haven’t felt since puberty first laid siege on your nubile body. And, for the first time in your adolescent life, a smile begins to creep its way across your—


Whoops! If you see this sign, it probably means you crashed and died. Better luck next time!


—D. Schifrin