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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!]

Thanks 2014   Whoa … where are Blackie, Thor, Dianne? (Setting up the croquet!)

The smack-talkin’ starts well before our actual athletic event.

Since when, asks Screen Six, is croquet an athletic event?

“Since,” I reply, “five busted Blackwells are too old and arthritic for REAL sports.”

B-b-but, stutters Six, your entire family played touch football every Thanksgiving in the famed “Turkey Bowl” down at the field of Crestview Swim Club! Your soccer games rivaled free-for-alls!

True, affirms Five. But with passing years and compounding injuries, the original rough-housing slipped from those lively sports to, um, “capture the flag.”

And from there to Frisbee football, sighs Four.

To kickball, exhales One heavily. And now to –

“Stop,” I order. “Let’s see if my family views adult kickball as dimly as you screens do.”

Bite-Size BubbaBarron: Last year I had first pick in the kickball games. I chose Ted each and every time.  Each and every time, Ted and I stood in the outfield and blamed each other for our most recent loss. It was tragic.  If Dennis [aka “Blackie”] truly has turned the corner [his post-Accident chiropractor restoring pre-Accident balance] and now is able to navigate the base paths (Goodness, Den, all you have to do is keep making left-hand turns!), my picks for the upcoming gala event would be as follows:

First pick:  Olivia [Thor’s daughter, 17]

Second pick:  Den [Blackie – that’s me!]

Third pick:  Laura Beth [Jeff’s daughter, 24]

We do not expect Ted to be available at the start of the fourth round. Surely somebody will take the finest athlete ever to grace the fields at New Providence! History will repeat itself, right?  Either that, or somebody just hopes to get Luke, his son, in a package deal.

We have sent our advance scouts to Ohio to put Den through some drills (ride merry-go-round, jump off and run straight line through German shepherds while holding New York Times and Star Ledger newspapers). I will have all reports back well in advance of the upcoming draft.

Regardless, we here at Team Phat Bubba are committed to winning the kickball when all of us converge on sleepy little Troy, Ohio.

P.S.  If I do wind up with Theodore on my team, I will trade him for a (fresh) plate of monkey bread.

P.P.S.  During evening festivities, I will cheat at cards as well.

“Fascinating input, Barron. Your turn, Thor.”

CounterfeiterThor: I hereby submit my formal protest. Team Phat Bubba [yes, Barry, that’s you] enlists the help of an alternative enhancement product, one infiltrating the world of football, basketball and even “America’s sport,” baseball.

That’s right, folks … I’m talking the “S” word.

Screen Two [gasping]: Steroids?

Thor: Stinky Sox.

Screen Three: Two “S” words, mind you. And nice touch, that Pulitzer Prize-winning spelling.

Thor: Trust me, if you EVER sleep in the same room with – even the room NEXT to – Team Phat, their sox will release waste so toxic it alters the opposing team’s ability to run, reason and compete.

Blackie: Stinky sox – er, socks – can be lethal. Such socks are the very reason I could not score a goal in little-league soccer. Or high school. Or college. Or men’s soccer, which I played barefooted.

Screen Six [applauding]: Good thought. Sorry it did not help.

Blackie: But let’s return to Barry’s parenthetical comment about my base-running.

Barron: (Goodness, Den, all you have to do is keep making left-hand turns!)

Blackie: Realize, o Barron, this whole post-chiropractic world of NOT wobbling, bobbing and weaving (on a jet plane) is new to me.

Thor: If you walk straight now, Den, kudos! But you have to give me new material to harass you with.

Blackie: Unlike the tower of Pisa, my tendency always is to lean –

Screen Five: Horrifically.

Blackie: – to the right. So base-navigating becomes more difficult for me than, say, outshooting your lovely Lisa in spearfishing is for you.

 Screen Three: Clean shot in the backsides, that one.

Run, Forrest, run!Blackie: Still, Barron, do keep me in mind as a card partner. While your cheating at cards proves more futile than my efforts to convince our beloved sister, DiAnnie Oakley, that a fifth batch of monkey bread (fresh) really is needed at 7:11 in the morning – despite she and I being the only ones awake and she hasn’t eaten a single bite – your tactics are humorous and enlightening. I may use your lines in defense of my tax preparation.

Screen Two, whistling as he replays images of busted Blackwells attempting to run the kickball bases, says, I bet croquet is the family’s sport this year.

In the off-chance case Two is correct –

Why do you say “off-chance”? questions Two.

– I e-mail cheap shots ahead of the game. Response is immediate. And scathing.

Thor: Just FYI, as I read this “Croquet Challenge” e-mail, I see only blah, blah, blah. You should know, you Titanium-Kneed Terminator and SkyNet Spawner, I bought a set. Though it is not competition-quality, it should last HALF the weekend at Diannie’s …  unless I whip my mallet at you, Barron, Mike, maybe even Di as I watch in disbelief while your croquet ball rolls 45 yards through bumpy grass and knocks me out of the game.

Black, whispers Three, maybe we should dial it down to bocce ball. No mallets.

Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 6.52.03 PM Postscript: Ladders. Men without balance. Not a good combination. Yet I agree to a road trip repairing homes deep in the Tennessee mountains.

One resident’s daughter, 10, follows me, falling in love with a man who takes the time to listen to her dreams. Emboldened, Miss Darla asks about my imbalanced stride. I reassure her of my sobriety, explaining simply, “I’ve been through an accident.”

This settles the issue until Miss Darla sees her ground-bound hero place a tall ladder against her home. “Not sure y’all should be way up on that,” she twangs, shaking her head at me.

“Why not?”

” ‘Cause I’ve seen the way y’all walk on the ground.”

GenerationsPost-Postscript: Thor writes Di-annie Oakley [at right], “Thank you for hosting one of the BEST Thanksgivings ‘ever,’ according to the poll [daughter] Livy and I took. With each other.”

Thoughtful Thor is not one to leave such culinary kindnesses unreturned. He hauls out ladders –

Screen Two whimpers, There’s that “L” word again.

Michael– and climbs atop the roof of Darling Di’s house. There he and the Busy Barron clean out gutters. Mindful Mike [at left] assists from ground level, having set up and climbed atop an eight-foot ladder. I offer to steady the ladder, but Mike smiles and replies, “Thanks. I will just hold the gutter.”

Even so, the ladder kicks sideways. Mike expertly twists and flips to minimize damage. Crashing down onto what truly is Terra Firma, he springs to feet, throws hands in air and shouts, “I’m OK, I’m OK!”

Just 40 yards away, five family females complain they missed the whole show. Would Uncle Mike please repeat it?

Mindful Mike will not.

Screen Five remarks, So it’s true, then. All Blackwells have ‘ladder disaster’ genes.

* * * * *

Pearl Harbor