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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!]

Richie RichFairly new to the Hampton Power Products team, I am still learning staff names, positions, responsibilities.

And quirks, mumbles Screen Six. Tellin’ you, Black, the first guy you met isn’t firing on all cylinders.

“Yes,” I affirm. “That one co-worker in particular must be from another planet – maybe a different dimension.”

Two speaks up earnestly. “The rest of the employees seem to be good eggs.”

“That’s true. Tomorrow I’ll get to work with one. Name is Richard, I think.”

And so it is I find myself –

You were lost? pokes Three.

– in the boom town of Portland, Oregon at 4:30 in the morning. “For such a self-acclaimed bustling city,” I tell my six screens, “the silence is deafening.”

Spooky, I’d say, shivers Two.

Air of adventure, Six offers hopefully.

I unlock the building’s side door, flick on a light as I head for the steps and go upstairs in semi-darkness. I nervously murmur, “Y’know, Six, it really is a little spooky. Can’t pin it down. Got an uneasy feeling.”

That’s just us – your screens, Six explains. Should be used to us by now, Boss. We’re always on alert, taking everything in, letting nothing back out.

“Hardly complimentary. You just described black holes.”

Screen Five kicks into astronomy mode. Black holes have such massive gravity fields that nothing, even light, can escape them.

Chirps Four, I prefer being called “sensory satellites.” But it’s true … ADHD screens really are all-absorbing.

The Jack Bauers of Brainland, claims Three, replaying TV wavelengths of “24” re-runs.

Just in case the screens are onto something – as opposed, say, to being ON something – I exit the safety of my second-floor office, walk downstairs and stroll out back in the shop. There I find Richard, the only other early morning employee, already hard at work building gearboxes per customer specifications.

“It’s Rich,” he says in response to my greeting. “And getting hot in here.” Wetness of shirt supports his statement. “Gonna open garage doors and let some air roll through.”

“Is that a good idea, guy?” I ask. “It’s just you down here, and I’m up where I can’t hear if something happens.”

“Like what?” he asks rhetorically. “I’m a black belt in karate, plus I’ve done some of the other martial arts.”

And, notes Six, he’s built like a brick –

Factory! shouts Two.

Factory, repeats Six, shaking his head at Two. Look, Black, nobody’s gonna touch this guy.

Feeling foolish, I trudge heavenward once more. Sifting through the many faxed orders already rolling in from overseas, I lose track of time.

We do that even without distraction, reminds One.

Pounding footsteps and gasping breath break my hyperfocus. Screens ready us for action as Rich bursts through the door, fearfully looking back.

“Two guys!” he roars.

Two guys coming? asks Six. Details, man!

No problemUnderstanding little of what Rich shouts, and seeing his muscular body unintentionally block the office entrance, I simply let him vent. When he slows enough to be questioned, he answers loudly.

“Black and white guy –

Rich fighting an old TV? muses One.

Ahh, racial equality, smirks Three. How very touching.

“ – jumped me when I took out the trash. Tried, I mean. To jump me. One guy said he had a gun, so I punched him first!” Rich’s arms and fists whir in lightning-fast demo mode.

Step back, Black, suggests Five. He relives the battle authentically.

My co-worker settles down, we call police, and the company commends Rich for keeping Hampton from harm.

Happily ever after, mocks Three.

Several weeks later, Rich again enters my office. Much more slowly, observes One.

“Need to borrow your car for a couple hours, Blackie,” he says without asking.

“No can do, guy. Got to cross the river into Vancouver before then. Can you wait ’til I get back?”

You’re not loaning your car to the Hampton Hero? gasps Two. We champions have to stick together!

Rich shakes his head. “Girlfriend says we need to sign the papers on our house. I’ll check with Perry about using his.” He steps out, then pokes his head back in. “Need lunch?”

“Covered, thanks.”

When I return some three hours later, Hampton Power Products Vice President Perry –

All that fit on a biz card? wonders Four.

– calls me into his office, television quietly playing in the background. “Seen Rich?”

“Didn’t he come talk to you about borrowing your car?”

“Yes. I gave him mine. But he’s still not back.” A reflective moment. “Good worker. Not like him to be gone so long without checking in. Wonder where he is?”

There, declare all six screens, locked on the single screen behind Perry. In disbelief, I focus on what’s being displayed as Perry reaches back and turns up the TV’s volume.

Just in time, says One. Just in time to hear the news announce our Hampton Hero used the veep’s car to rob a McDonald’s.

Four adds, Even caught Rich live on video. Face is so clear, this could be a screen test.

Three laughs at me. And you thought there was only one flake!

 “Guess people really need money,” I comment.

“How’s that?” Perry asks.

“First the bad guys, then the cops, now you. Everybody’s trying to get Rich.”

Screens applaud. Perry’s not laughing. “Even gave him 10 bucks to pick up my order!”

Ask, urges Four, if your boss wants fries with that.

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Postscript: My good friend Jeannie Bourk writes of two big developments, the first being newborn granddaughter Brielle arriving in life about the same time as Independence Day.

No small coincidence there, muses Screen Five. Nice symbolism.

The second involves 4-year-old son, Billy, who breaks his right-arm radius and ulna bones falling off a bed he’s walking. A night doc at St. Rita’s Hospital snaps bones back into place, then splints them. Yet the very next eve Miss Jeannie catches her son jumping off the kitchen table in mimicry of Spider-Man!

Ever the diplomat, I send a handwritten (OK, hand-typed) note about the family’s grief …

I am sorry for bonfire Billy’s bouncing, breaking bones badly. I’m even sorrier for Mom making mending motions.

But I have long contended the nut does not fall far from the tree. Youngsters engaging in this behavior have learned it from role models preceding them.

Your friend, Blackie

You can bet, assures Four, she is deeply touched, Black.

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