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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! And know these accounts are truewithout exaggeration!]

Ski trip  Ol’ Blackie (ground, lower right) smiles BEFORE the trip … but after?

Yes, says Screen Six proudly, I will take all our teens on a ski trip to Mount Hood. Pleased to do it, in fact.

Blackie Blackwell (that’s me!), owner of the loose lips that helped Six, looks around in shock as wild applause breaks out. Friend and fellow youth group leader Russ “Mousekiller” Mosteller even claps me on the back.

“Wait,” I cry in vain amid the hubbub, “I didn’t mean that.”

Two weeks later, Russ and I pack tired, cold bods into a tired, old bus. Tiny, this bus … just three-quarters the normal size.

A visual match for the way it under-performs, observes One.

Shortly before blastoff, late arrival Danielle wheels up in a stunning BMW, unloads expensive ski gear, hands me her parental permission slip, coyly whispers, “We’ll follow,” and slips her fashionably dressed frame back into the Beemer along with two other perfectly attired teen gals.

What’s up with the “silent screen queen”? asks Three. She’s usually the center of attention.

“Let’s roll!” I boldly reply, and we zip away, four bald tires struggling to keep us on dry roads, much less the snow-packed parkway ahead.

ChainsWithout incident, we regally glide to Mount Hood’s base, says Four. Without chains, we illegally slide to Mount Hood’s top. (Yep, we chose to read the “Fine for No Chains” sign as a compliment … sort of “Hey, it’s perfect you don’t have safety equipment.”)

Just 50 feet from our destination, we get stuck. All males and two strong females pop out, pat one anothers’ backs in encouragement and propel us to Parking Paradise. Sending newbies to bunny hills and ski bunnies to sunny thrills, I strap well-waxed wonderboards to boots just as a speaker blares my name and directs me to Red Cross sick bay.

Man down! sighs Five, but it’s actually one of our young ladies, her ankle twisted. Red Cross staff assures me she is safe: “Enjoy the day.” Thanking them, I turn and walk directly into a second youth group member, his face etched in pain.

Snapped wrist, whispers One. He will be fine. Go ski.

I try, but pigeon-toed feet love to double-cross me. My first run of the day is nothing more than a series of unintended but well-executed face plants.

The idea, hints Two, is to stay up.

Cold, hunger and still more face plants soon take their toll. As agreed, students and I meet at the three-quarter bus.

The fully robbed three-quarter bus, growls Six, as we find our less-than-secure buggy ransacked. However, some teens must have accidentally listened to me because they stowed their valuables elsewhere. With most of our lunches stolen, we share the few “loaves and fishes” among many, backwash the bottles of shared pop, and grow yet colder because the bus bandits thoughtfully opened all doors and windows, allowing today’s heavy snows to nestle with us.

Refreshed –

Refrigerated! chatters Three.

– we clunk back in boots to beckoning slopes. Time flies faster than the snowflakes until looming darkness suggests we pack up. I long for one last run but am spared a final face-plant when my name dribbles out of fuzzy loudspeakers.

Sick bayAt sick bay once more, I gaze upon Danielle staving off shock as she violently shakes beneath thermal blankets.

“And this would be?” I ask.

“Broken hip,” responds one doctor without looking up.

Strike three, murmurs Five.

What did I do? mopes Three.

We transport our no-longer-walking wounded to the hospital and there meet Danielle’s wealthy parents. “We’re unhappy,” bristles Mom. “Danielle took my husband’s BMW without his knowledge. Our teen forged the permission slip, lost a brand-new ski and broke her hip. We could sue.” [But they don’t.]

Fear not lawsuits, counsels Six. Fear the three-quarter bus, which refuses to keep running.

Repeated push-starts at red lights and stop signs do get us home, but we are several hours later than what we’d promised panicked, pre-cellphone parents. They are lined up in heated, fully functional cars, their anxious faces suggesting steaming speeches are about to unfold.

My frozen hands swing the bus door wide. Exhausted teens cheer and pile out, leaving an explosion of hats, mittens and ski gear behind. I stiffly sit at the wheel, desperate for encouragement.

Which is exactly why, comments Two, Mousekiller taps you on the back, smiles and says, “Those kids will remember this the rest of their lives.”

“Pray parents don’t.”


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Postscript: We tackle a second Mount Hood ski trip without me in charge. I do not understand the “black diamond” sign at the hill’s top but quickly learn –

Wild ride! exults Screen Six.

– the most-experienced skiers, not beginners, should schuss the slopes. About one-third of the way down, my rocketing body pops out of skis and I, in a slippery one-piece Sears snowsuit, begin a bodacious belly-first slide.

Arms outstretched! directs problem-solving Four. Align yourself like you’re diving!

That semi-controlled slide ends at the very bottom, near the feet of the wide-eyed lift operator. I reassure him all is well as I strap back into skis my friends retrieve. Ten minutes later, I catch a ride back to the mountain top. My lift partner, a man I do not know, says he’s never enjoyed such great skiing in his life.

“Even better, though,” he shares in excitement, “I saw some dude zipping down this killer hill” – he points below us – “on his belly!” He laughs heartily in what I take to be mockery. “On his belly!”

Don’t tell him it was us, Boss, begs One. I promise silence.

“He was SO cool,” the man adds in admiration. “No fear. Looked just like Superman!”

“That was me!”

* * * * *

Goodbye to Miss Gore

Comedy hits new high-flying heights