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!]
My tiny daughter, just three, is making a gentle sound, almost a cooing noise. From my hunched stance as Washington State’s finest strawberry picker, I look over to see what this animated blondie is up to.
Leah is rhythmically petting the head of a snake, one which appears to be closing its lidless eyes in pleasure.
Blackwell genes have kicked in, Boss, notes Screen Five.
Inadvertently, I’ve passed along chromosomal matter that is, somehow, turned inside out.
Snakes aren’t feared, Six boasts. They are cheered.
Did such genes come through my father? Is that why his six children dash toward snakes rather than run from them? Shouldn’t the same genes flow through his sister in Texas, causing her three sons to mimic our behavior?
Theoretically, yes, says clinical-sounding Five. But your two families are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to serpents.
Wish I’d known that small detail prior to my trip into the Denver, Colorado mountains for a grand family reunion. There, Thor and I announce we are going snake-hunting.
Cousin Stan, a notch older than I, interprets “snake hunting” the way most Real Worlders do. He says he will find a big stick, then catch up with us.
Must be getting a walking stick, guesses Two.
“Rattlesnake?” Thor asks. “Copperhead? Cottonmouth? Coral?”
Four protests. We pursue snakes for the thrill of the chase. To marvel at their strength, variety, beauty.
“Y’all can do that in Jersey. Got maybe two venomous snakes there and a bunch of garters.”
He forgets the black swamp snake you and Thor grabbed, defends Six.
“Texas has eight different rattlers alone.”
“Don’t mess with Texas,” advises Three.
Two bubbly Blackwells leave stick-seeking Stan behind and quickly experience “capture rapture,” the landlubber’s version of an angler’s “catch and release.” In no time, half a dozen Rocky Mountain snakes pass safely through our hands –
Reminds One, “Safely” and “ADHD hands” are never in the same phrase.
– even as I am moments from a seventh successful slithering snake snagging.
Alliteration obliteration! beams Three.
Thor veers to the right unexpectedly –
Unexpectedly? questions Two. Really? Are we surprised by anything he does?
– and follows a snake into a small creek, staying just behind the reptile as it swims to a small island of sorts. But I cannot watch his drama, what with my own screens hitting hyperfocus, all six merging into one giant Imax. The image is full of light, sound, data … all very useful in helping me remain unbitten.
Got him! applauds Six, then quickly adds, Well … I mean … of course you got him!
Your brother’s whimpering, mentions Two amid the cerebral screenstorm. I whip around. Thor, frozen and staring, whispers one word.
Rattlesnake, more accurately, Five offers. Venomous. Fast. Not a reptile you’d capture with bazookas, much less hands. But we can do it.
“S-s-stick!” Thor hisses in snakespeak. We’re way up in Colorado mountain brush country. “Got nothing,” I whisper back.
“Hafta grab him, then.”
Thor, god of thunder, swoops like lightning. He grabs something thick, whirls ’round, tosses. All one motion.
I simply, silently, stupidly fall backward and watch that huge, wingless dragon soar toward me.
Kick! screams Two in falsetto. Kiiiiiiick!
“While he’s still in the air?”
Wonders Five, Do the makers of Keds perform rattler-bite deflection testing on their sneakers? That would be most useful now.
Whump! booms the thick snake landing at my feet. He is well within striking distance of ankles, chest and –
Private places in-between, finishes Two.
The hot, dry air gains a new sound. Screen Four filters out my labored breathing and reports, Thor is laughing.
I dare to move my eyes his direction. “Dead,” the Man of Mirth mouths. I consider the unmoving heap by my toes, hear Thor add, “Dead when I threw him, buddy.”
Wicked laughter from The Island of Dr. Moron, growls Six.
“Paybacks,” I vow, banishing mercy from my dark heart.
We walk in silence frequently punctuated by my brother’s giggles. Stan swings into view, carrying not a stick but a club that could drop elk.
“Seen anything yet, y’all?” he asks, eyes ever alert.
“Yes,” says Thor, roaring in laughter as his mind replays the scene he set. “Just 10 minutes ago, this guy” – my shoulder gets punched – “met a ‘Texas’ snake.”
Postscript: Friend and reader Miss Amy writes, “Thank you for letting me be a part of your experiences!”
That’s a first, notes Screen One. She thanked us.
“My son, 8, has ADHD and is amazing at everything he puts his mind to. When it comes to sports, he holds his own with the 10- and 12-year-olds. He also is very intelligent with video games. As I watch him play, I can picture his different screens talking to him.
“Before I admitted he had ADHD, I would get frustrated with him. Now that I understand it, I have a much easier time communicating with him – which has helped both of us tremendously! His eyes light up when he knows someone finally ‘gets’ him.”
Shame it never happens for you, Black, sympathizes Two.
“In fact, I see some ADD in myself.”
Umm, yeahhh, agrees Three. It’s genetic. Somebody passed it on. Doesn’t just fall from the sky.
“My whole life I have just pushed it aside, not knowing why I thought the way I thought.”
The unexamined life is not worth living, quotes Five.
Nice, affirms Two. Who said that?
I did, says Five.
“I think that my son, even at his young age, would enjoy listening to your stories. Have you ever considered writing for children?”
Six screens whisper, Influence an entire generation … create an ADHD-Powered nation!