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Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.

Welcome to ADHD. 

[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks!]

New knee 4[Bizarre photo above absolutely unrelated to great story below. But I just knew you were dying to see how my post-physical therapy titanium knee is doing!]

When you work in a quarry,
stones might fall and crush you.
When you chop wood,
there is danger with each stroke of your ax.

Ecclesiastes 10:9 (NLT)

Bob Alexander – or “Knobber” (Kuh-nobber), as he’s more commonly known – waits outside in the cold December wind for me to help him split wood.

Actually, he’s fine by himself, informs Screen One. He just thought you might enjoy the experience.

“And I will,” I respond. “Growing up in New Jersey, it wasn’t often that I got to split wood, so I’m ready to show him what I’m made of.”

Six proudly says, Courage ties in perfectly with today’s Pearl Harbor observance.

Um, Six?” I say, hesitantly. “Pearl Harbor didn’t go all that well for us. It’s not exactly a time of celebration.”

I step outside and see Knobber stamping his frozen feet, standing beside a strange machine and surrounded by many huge oak chunks. “Where,” I ask him, “are your axe, your wedge and your splitting maul?”

“My what?” he says with a snort.  “What –

Boss, whispers Two, who keeps in mind our family-oriented readership, you may want to tone down his actual words.

“ –  are you talking about?” Knobber asks.

Wow! says Three in admiration.  You took an extremely colorful response and drained it of any life whatsoever.

“I mean, sir, where are those three tools? That’s what I always used for splitting wood when I helped my dad.”

Go get ’em, Paul Bunyan! cheers Six.

“You’re not helping your dad,” snarls very trim and apparently ageless Knobber, despite now being much older than my dad will ever be. “And I ain’t got all day.”

Three chokes on my editing of Knobber’s phrases.  He never in his life said a complete sentence you could repeat in polite company.

Kickball pitch

Unrelated, too, but my new knee helps my pitching!

Knobber and I look at the machine between us. “This here’s a hydraulic log-splitter,” he says. “It’ll kick your axe and your – ”

“Point made,” I interrupt.

Crude but clever play on words, sighs Four. Do you remember when mean Joe Muffaw’s modern logging machine beat Paul Bunyan’s manual tools in the wood-cutting race? You being Mr. Bunyan on Pearl Harbor Day seems a doubly bad idea. Just sayin’ …

“Got 13 tons of pressure,” continues cocky Knobber. “You’re gonna put the log on this” – he points to a thick, black bar – “and then this hydraulic arm here” – he touches some giant screw-looking part – “is gonna push the log into that stationary wedge welded onto the bar and cut it right in half.”

“What?” I say, amazed. “That’s it? How do you get any kind of workout?”

Comments Screen Four, You’d think that would hurt, the way he’s slapping his forehead.

“Boy, I ain’t standing in the bitter cold for a workout. I’m here to split several cord of wood in a hurry and get my frozen backside in the house again.”

Five suggests, Start placing logs on the splitter. Now.

We move along nicely until one log does not break apart. The splitter whines a moment, kicks out of gear, and dies. Knobber grimaces and, in deeply edited comments, says, “Well, darn. Run it through again.”

But Four scoffs. I’ve been studying the setup. Because these logs are so fat – they are mighty oak, after all – don’t feed it the same way. Flip the log, then run it through again.

Knobber starts to protest this modified arrangement but quickly sees it works well.

Three, who had no part in the process, fairly sings, We ADHD screens always improve existing systems.

Sure, says One. Until we hit the really thick oak.

Even with Knobber having chain-sawed the lengths down to woodstove-stuffing 14 inches, I struggle to lift the pieces. At least one-third of the time, the high-powered splitter cannot work its way through this dense wood on the first attempt. We battle constant re-starts with not a key but a lawnmower-style pull rope.

“We’re way behind,” Knobber says in menacing tones that warm the chilly air 10 degrees.

Four again says, I’ve been studying the setup. I’m about to kid him on his memory troubles when he suggests a different idea, which the other five screens applaud.  As the logs go through the splitter, reach in and pull the two halves apart.

So I do just that, shocking a spluttering Knobber.

“You’re – you must be nuts! Reaching in like that? Know how fast you lose a hand to that machine?” Loudly, slowly, emphatically he says, “Thir-teen … tons … of … pres-sure.”

“Worked, didn’t it?”

Hoo boy, marvels Three. Look at the fire in his eyes!

“Suit yourself,” he says and shakes his head. “Don’t blame me when fingers go.”

And you don’t, proudly notes Six, when that very thing happens just four logs later.

Seeing the splitter fail to split the huge oak, I plunge my hands in just as the hidden knot in the log’s middle snaps, allowing the halves to settle for a moment. My right hand bounces off the unexpectedly repositioned log; my left hand misses altogether and dives into the yawning midsts of the splitter itself.

Two halves snap back together and take my hand through the machine.

That’s gonna hurt, observes Five and, for a nanosecond, he is correct. Worst. Pain. Ever. But as quickly as the pain arrives, it leaves.

In disbelief, I scan my intact gloves and shout out, “I – I’m fine! It’s OK!

“No, you’re not,” contends Knobber, looking as if he could hurl his cookies, though Oreos were not on that morn’s breakfast menu. “Take off your gloves.”

I do. Stuck to my hand is a white paper, blowing in the wind. Knobber goes Casper-white, fights retching.  “Relax,” I assure him. “That’s not a finger. These are new gloves – y’know, paper inserts, like with shoes. That’s all.”

I tug the paper to reassure him. The paper stays put.

countingCount your fingers, suggests One.

“Look,” I say soothingly, “one, two, three … um, four.” I hesitate because the flapping white paper rudely commandeers the place reserved for my fourth finger.

Count them all again, says One. Name ’em this time.

Hmm. Thumb, index, middle, ring finger and –

Rocks, scissors, paper, says Five. Or paper pinky, which now is six inches long, two inches wide, and credit-card thickness.

“ – dang, is that my pinky?”

The answer, my friend, sings Three in dismal Dylan, is blowin’ in the wind.

Knobber doubles over. Three friends who joined us moments earlier double, too. All four suggest the hospital. Knobber demands they carry me up the eight steps to the back porch. Embarrassed, I tell the quartet I am fine and start to climb the steps myself.

My main man! cheers Six.

Great plan until step five, says Four. Nice blackout. The Russian judge gives an eight on your back flip. Good thing all those boys caught your body as it tumbled backward from pain and shock.

I am driven to tiny Wilson Memorial Hospital in equally tiny Sidney, Ohio. Screen Two asks, Do you observe Pearl Harbor Day this way to understand the sadness of that time?

The sympathetic nurse welcomes us and introduces me to the doctor who holds the future of my hands in his hands.

All six screens laugh out loud at seeing this man, an unexpected reminder of today’s Pearl Harbor observance: He is Japanese.

Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 6.52.03 PM

You’ve never heard “The Little Drummer Boy” this way!

Another timeless carol by The Piano Guys

In remembrance of Pearl Harbor