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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

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Men's Group   Some of the thoughtful gents in my “supportive” men’s group …

Your buddy knows his stuff, compliments Screen Six. Clearly he is a man of many talents – able to build horse barns in the night, to run countless miles tracking elk through unmarked forest and, apparently, to outlast blizzards in the Washington State mountains.

“The key,” Dan Roth tells me, “is to keep moving. Even if you’re unsure of where you should be going, you must fight the urge to lie down.”

Six proudly shares his own knowledge of such events. Many people who get lost in snowstorms just give in to the cold, the fear, the exhaustion. They curl up in the soft, comforting snow and, peaceful minutes later, are long gone from this world.

“I’ll be sure to remember your instructions, Daniel,” I reply. “But it’s not like I can ever see myself being in that situation.”

“That’s what people say all the time,” Dan mutters, shaking his head. “Yet it happens every winter.”

That entire scene, inconveniently being broadcast throughout the vast recesses of my fast-freezing head, is brought to me in living color by Screen Three.

“Really … really could use something a b-b-bit … bit more cheerful at this moment,” I gasp through half-breaths.

You feel that way now, Three says with a childish pout, but you’ll thank me for playing these tapes –

Tapes? interrupts Four. We should upgrade our tech talk. Blu-Ray, maybe.

– once we get through this.

where am I“This” is the perplexity I wrestle at the moment. “This” is me hopelessly stomping around unmarked forest at night in the midst of bitter temperatures and blinding snow.

Blinding snow on top of the day’s earlier and equally heavy snowfall, reminds Two. On top of the year’s already record-breaking snowfall accumulation.

I look at my new Apple iPhone, its battery nearly kaput, its number as-yet unshared with friends. The technophone, light-years beyond me, allows this technophobe to receive calls and, most times, make them.

But, comments One in near-Shakespearean tones, you cannot call those for whom you know not the number.

“Say what?”

Your memory struggling the way it does, you probably should have put the group leader’s number in your contact list.

“Perfect,” I spit, “the way you ADHD screens always tell me after the fact what I should have done.”

Boss, asks Five, why are you walking around in sub-zero weather? We left a perfectly warm cabin behind.

“The men’s group is supposed to meet at the lodge. Didn’t seem far in the daylight.”

Didn’t seem far because fellow retreat attendee George came to get you, points out One. This time you chose to hoof it on your own. No flashlight, compass, flares.

But lots of guts, brags Six.

Not sure how long I’ve been in the cold because I’m not wearing my scuba watch –

Accurate to depths of 100 meters! boasts Four.

– and my gigabyte-gobbling phone is dead. I cannot ring my beautiful brown-eyed bride to bid her bye-bye. (Screen Three hums “Tell Laura I Love Her.“) No terminating text to transmit.

Hey, shouts Three, just follow the river! Daniel Boone does!

“Did. And this isn’t Kentucky. The retreat borders a lake. I’d walk in circles.”

You do that naturally, Black, chuckles Two. The Accident blew your gyroscope.

I am cold. Tired. Hungry. Ready to take off the gloves –

Figuratively speaking, coaxes One.

– sit on this log, and figure out something better.

Telfer, Grandpa Dan, ConnorMove, Boss, urges Six. No kickin’ it here. Dan’l – Roth, not Boone – is telling you to stay in motion, he says, signaling Three once more to fire up the projector of my wildlife mentor.

Walking four, perhaps five, more football-field lengths, I see the welcoming twinkle of house lights. As I stumble through drifts that should be driveways, an owner sees me through his massive picture window. Rushing to open the door, he beckons me to a roaring fire’s revitalizing warmth, hears my story, tells me how to find the lodge and my band of merry men.

Ahh, the power of a wife’s words, sighs Two. Word, actually, since all she utters is, “John?” and her husband shouts, “I’ll drive you!”

Even by wisely guided truck, the trip is 15 minutes. Stiff legs (my new titanium knee mimics a solid block of ice) hustle me into the lodge’s dining room, where I find one dozen dudes doing just that – dining.

Dining! laughs Six. I like their confidence in us!

Men’s group leader Jim looks up from his steaming hot bowl, studies my face. “Knew you were late … weren’t sure you were lost,” he offers. “But I checked with the men” – heads fervently nod – “and we firmly decided to come looking if you didn’t show by the time we finished the meal.”

Touching, whispers Two. Good thing there’s no dessert, huh?

 

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Postscript: As you read this, I again am among the frozen chosen of those Free Unwise Men who venture to snowing, blowing, “why am I going?” Michigan for the annual group retreat.

Having experienced the dangers of cold and night, I learn –

We don’t ask and learn, laughs Three, we crash and burn.

– the potential for disaster and the value of preparedness. So this time, as I walk about the forest, you may rest assured my pockets are stuffed with Kraft caramels.

Six can only smile. Dan’l – Roth and Boone – would be proud.

* * * * *

As feared, Blackwell circles the lake …

He snoozed, he losed

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