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!]
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts …”
The time (1600 AD, exactly) in which Shakespeare wrote this isn’t mine, but the world he writes about (2014 ADHD) is.
How can that possibly be? asks Screen Three, huge fan of all things theatrical.
“Those of us with ADHD play many parts. Not always intentionally.”
Give me a “for instance,” says Three.
Hmmm … my wife and I sit in the front row of a performance. Though many people attend, the comedic magician asks me – I did not raise my hand – to stand and be part of his next trick.
Laughing aloud at my nickname of Blackie, he queries, “How much change in your pocket?”
“I’m a married man,” I reply. “I have no change.”
Think you’ll like the couch tonight? asks Five.
Give us another story, pleads Three. But slow it down!
Miss Laura and I arrive at The Village Players Theatre Playhouse 10 minutes early in the bitter Ohio cold.
That’s different from, say, bitter Indiana cold? asks Two.
We hand over our tickets. In return, we receive seat stubs and a small unmarked bingo card, onet I presume helps advertise tonight’s “Queen of Bingo” presentation. We find our front-row seats –
Didn’t learn from the magic show, eh? asks Three, who on his own adds the italics to front-row seats.
– as we hear the evening’s emcee introduce himself, speak of the play just ahead and ask us to have pens and bingo cards at the ready because we (the audience) will participate in the play itself.
Excellent! says Three, who really isn’t giving any of my other screens a chance to say much. We’re going to be part of the cast!
“Not really,” I tell him. “You’re in the play, yes – but nobody’s going to know it.”
A debate breaks out in my head among the six screens, five of whom want me to silence Three so they can get a word in. The emcee, meanwhile, completes instructions to his recruited audience and the play commences.
Miss Laura and I are laughing uproariously when we learn it’s time for the bingo callout from the stage. Eagerly I turn to my lovely date for the night and express much of what Three earlier had said about our being in the play –
Here we go again, sighs One.
– when I realize I’ve missed the instructions a second time.
Six laughs. Of course you did. You’re a guy, remember? We don’t need instruction. Give us a hammer, maybe some duct tape. We can do anything!
“Not doing well,” I murmur to Laura. “Lots of gaps on my card.” Then I realize I have a “free” spot in the middle. Circling that makes the card come alive.
Four says, A few numbers and you’ll have five in a row in several directions.
The “caller” keeps checking to see whether anybody has hit bingo yet. Silence answers his question. But three more callouts and the impossible happens.
We win! shout six screens. But I do not. Shout, I mean. I’m uncertain how I could have won without anybody else making a peep.
Quickly, demands Six, shout like you mean it, lad! and the two syllables softly escape my lips.
A shout would have required an exclamation mark, notes One. What’s wrong?
“Do you have bingo?” asks the surprised caller, nicely matching the question and tone coming from my wife. I quickly show Laura the card. “Well, I’ve got five across.”
“Honey,” she whispers, “didn’t you listen?”
Your wife knows better than to ask us that, chides Five.
Still whispering, Laura says, “The emcee explained this game would be different … that you had to fill the entire card.”
Moving cross-stage, the caller stands directly in front of our first–row seats.
How d’you like ’em now? asks Three, a smirk in his Toby Keith-ish voice.
Can a voice have a smirk? wonders Two.
“Who here said bingo?” queries the caller of seven people in his field of vision.
I point to the young woman on my right and say without remorse, “She did.”
At my left, Laura bursts into laughter. To my right, the surprised woman gasps, blushes, turns away.
The caller looks at me. “Was it you? Do you have bingo?”
Six still directs my every action and word. “No,” I say calmly, then point again at the embarrassed youngster. “She does. She threw her voice so it looks like I do.”
Laughter erupts from the 20 rows behind me. The caller is smiling, unsure of how to proceed. But six hyperfocused screens know.
I leap to my feet, grabbing the coat that had graced my lap. Twisting the sleeve madly, I turn from the Inquisition occurring on stage to face the many attendees. My lips sputter, “I – I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I had five across. I mean, I do. But that’s not bingo. Tonight, at least. I’m so sorry. Let’s go on.”
I spin in the air and throw my shocked body – vibrating with energy – back into the chair, where I once again face the caller, his unsure smile still displayed.
“Alrighty, then,” he says. Kindly shaking his head, he explains that every single night of the play, at least one of the audience mistakenly calls out five-in-a-row bingo. But I, blood pounding through ears and head, cannot hear him.
Hear me, however, Laura does (what with my breathing so heavy) –
Gasping like a land-locked fish, I’d say, declares One.
– and leans over to hold my hand. She speaks something soothing, I’m sure, but the message is lost in the midst of her laughter. Eventually my better half assures me that my impromptu participation came off so smoothly the audience may suspect only that I am a bit player for the comedy.
Told you we’d be in the show, chides Three. He wonders dreamily, What we’ll star in next?
Postscript – Turns out those of us blessed with Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder aren’t the only “actors” in America today. (That’s not a shot at Congress … though I suppose it could be.)
I told a co-worker I’d had no luck in leaving our agency’s parking lot because the unbroken afternoon cavalcade of cars flew by, even packing the intersection despite the screaming red traffic light above.
Big Ric laughed, then said, “Same thing happened to me at the county fair. Got out of the car and told my friend to scoot to the driver’s side. I reversed my coat so the reflective orange would show, grabbed a flashlight, flicked it on and walked to the middle of the intersection.
“For a few minutes I directed traffic, waving this car on, stopping that one. Finally my own car made it to the intersection. I waved it through and, to everyone’s surprise, jumped in.
“The secret is to look like you know what you’re doing.”
And tonight’s “Oscar” goes to Ric Powers, the savvy “Sean Connery” of the streets.
* * * * *
Russians (and a bride) “Puttin’ on the Ritzski“