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!]
If you’ve read “ADHD Powered” for any length of time, you may remember my earlier misadventure with cows and vitamins.
Talking ’bout the disaster with the pill-popping gun? laughs Screen Four, knowing full well that’s the exact reference I make.
So it really shouldn’t surprise you to find me a handful of years later driving my company’s spanking new Chevy S-10 truck across a thousand lush acres of pastureland, honking at all the grazing cows and laughing at their sluggish responses.
“Driving in and around these cows will make them nervous, Black,” says co-pilot and neighbor Dan Plotner. “Then the bulls get restless.”
Seems OK to me, replies Three. Maybe they think your truck’s just another cow. You both have horns.
The two of us are heading for the thickly forested woodlands just beyond the pasture. Dan’s boss, who owns this 11,500-acre wildlife refuge, gave his employee permission to cut up some of the downed trees. But Dan doesn’t own a truck, so he’s particularly grateful I’m helping him secure several cords of wood for the next cold, wet, Washington State winter.
Though I continue lazily cutting through cow crowds despite Dan’s advice, Dan – fully aware he’s getting free use of my vehicle – is not eager to speak up and risk offending me.
We can be offended? asks One in surprise.
Eventually, however, self-preservation overcomes social hesitation.
“Think we’re starting to spook the cows,” Dan says softly, as if that mutes the offense factor. “Makes the bulls restless, Black.”
Deep inside an ADHD-gifted mind, a warning starts to form. But it yawns, rolls over, sleeps again.
“You may have noticed there are dozens of dairy damsels out here, Dan.” He nods. “Well, there’s no yellow brick road leading to the forest, so I have to drive in the field. Is that such a bad thing?”
No problem here! reports Six, scanning the sun-splashed horizon as cattle skedaddle before our slow-moving pickup.
Dan nervously clears his throat. “Hey,” his voice quietly echoes off the windshield and into my ears, “it’s really not good to get the ladies worked up.” More words are carefully weighed, briefly withheld, then breathed into existence. “Makes the bulls restless.”
Does he have a memory problem? wonders Two. He just said that.
Relax, Black, soothes Five. You’re the superior being, the intelligent creature, the guy in control. And you’re in a truck. What could possibly go wrong?
Our snail’s pace already unbearable, I slow even more as we come upon a small but unmoving knot of cows.
Gently, we play Moses, prompting them to part left and right, giving us an unexpected but breath-taking view of –
The Behemoth! gasps Two.
“That,” says Dan, “would be the nervous bull I mentioned.”
Truck hemmed in by the ladies, I roll right up to the massive male, ghostly in his white hide. Dan’s breathing shallows as the bull shakes his head, stamps his foot, snorts mightily and stands his ground. A blast on my horn spooks him. Dan jumps, too, and grabs my arm. “We should go,” he says, looking at me with intensity. “I mean, really. We should.” His lips mouth “go.” Silently, as if vocal cords desert in desperation.
Remind Dan who’s running this show, commands Six while we watch the beast stumble, regain footing and trot toward the small hillside just beyond us.
With setting sun brightly filling my eyes, six screens and I miss the huge bull’s 180-degree spin in the air atop the ridge. “Fabulous,” Dan later tells me.
But in the moments following that spin, we, much like General George Armstrong Custer and Company, endure an enemy’s heart-stopping charge across wide-open pasture, horns bowed and muscled neck rippling with anger.
“Where’s the beef?” I shout, my “meaty” protection gone as the thick cow herd suddenly steps back and opens a clear path to us. Too late, six screens share their awful truth:
“Buckle in!” I shout to Daniel. “Hyperspace!”
My tromp on the gas spins wheels on wet grass. Stuck, I ease off the pedal, silence broken by the metallic “click! click!” of two seat belts fastening against the fates.
Captain Ahab’s fear of his great white whale flows through me as this great white male blows to me, hooves hurling soft Earth.
Might hurt, predicts Two.
I try to leap from the truck moments before impact, but fumbling hands fail to reverse the just-fastened seat belt. Fear, pure and heavy, swabs our bodies. Dan’s eyes are saucers behind his glasses.
Last words? asks One.
Let’s do this! shouts Six.
I do not think we pass out despite mimicking human pinballs inside the truck. I do not think we pass out because I clearly remember seeing Dan bounce off everything in the S-10 despite being buckled in.
Those horns just became hood ornaments the hard way, sputters Five.
Shaken senses return. “Wh-where’s the bull?” I fearfully question. In response, Moo-by Dick rises beside our demolished truck. My throat goes desert dry. He totters a moment, glares darkly, shakes his rack and races the wind to freedom.
Five minutes later, perhaps more, we exit the truck and assess the damage. Our ship – er, Chevy – is turned 220 degrees from its original direction. Chassis is misaligned. Bumper is bashed and twisted.
Kind of nice, says Four, the way those smashed side mirrors and front lights twinkle in the fading sunlight.
I see myself explaining the damage to my boss, the gentleman who one day earlier proudly presented the picture-perfect truck to me. That image is painful. “Screens,” I beg, “give me something to tell him.”
Three comes right back. Too much beef is bad for you.
Postscript: Bet you noticed I didn’t mention Mother’s Day.
Or is that Moother’s Day? quips Three.
Couldn’t do it – a little too tough – since we lost Mom just before Valentine’s Day six years ago. Harder yet is that her birthday often fell on Mother’s Day, causing a double whammy of the heart. But you who still have that grand old gal? Honor her, hug her, love her and soak her up every remaining moment she grants.
Post-Postscript: Two weeks ago, I wrote an “ADHD Powered” column about my oldest brother refusing to allow cancer to conquer him. Several readers shared their own courageous victories; others commented admiringly on Mike’s God-given will to survive.
Long-time next-door neighbor Chris Drakos writes, “Amazing, the roads we must walk and the myriad obstacles that inevitably befall us along the way. Mike’s smile says it all….”
Friend Bob Webster says, “Mike is one of the toughest guys I know. Awesome sense of humor. Miss him loads since he moved to the Peach State, but as you can see in the photo of the bikini gal, we know why.” (As an aside, Bob adds, “Mike thinks he runs like a stallion. I don’t have the nerve to tell him he barely makes a breeze.”)
At the risk of seeming biased, I vote the best comment as coming from youngest brother and daredevil supreme, Barry: “Mike is so tough that when our beloved mom gave him his first rattle, the snake was still attached.”
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Put down the phone, pick up a friend
Kids honor moms with witticisms
The Mom Song (sung to the William Tell overture)