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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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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    Grandkids Luke and Livy bask in SherPop’s “peaceful” brilliance …

Laughter fills my ears. Your dad is really enjoying this, comments Screen Three.

“Pop,” I ask in uncertainty, “what DO you find so funny?”

“Your proposed high school courses for sophomore year,” says my very intelligent father, wiping his eyes. “What’s next?” He laughs again. “Underwater basket weaving?”

Find out which course he questions, counsels Four, then reason with him. He is a brilliant metallurgical engineer, after all.

“For starters, son, Home Economics and Introduction to Typing. Really?

“Lots of guys take Home Ec,” I reply.

“Name one.”

“Sometimes … sometimes you cook,” Two shyly murmurs through my lips. Dad laughs harder.

Going down in flames, shouts Six. Switch gears!

“Well, the typing class – ”

Typing? What happened to naming all the guys who take Home Ec?”

“ – is really important because I want to write books. And stuff.”

Royal Upright“Your mom cooks. We all take turns cleaning afterward. Home Economics is out.” Dad pulls his chair very close to mine. “As for typing, you write your assignments by hand.”

He pauses a moment, then sighs heavily. “Still, I have seen you hunt and peck on my Royal typewriter. Maybe learning how to type properly is worth something. Can’t believe I’m letting you take such a cakewalk class instead of serious courses like science, calculus, physics … but there’s the deal.”

Years later, I am firmly convinced that one episode is the lone time my father counseled me incorrectly.

Incorrectly, indeed, Five affirms. And I do not recall your father, who was caught off-guard by the arrival of the computer, ever commenting on how important it truly became for you to keyboard – to type.

Even so, notes One, your dad still made the right call. He allowed you to enroll in typing.

I miss that deep and ever-flowing wisdom which seemed to gently wash over everything. In another day, the sharp mind of Douglas Blackwell might have rivaled that demonstrated by Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective crafted by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Powers of deduction! agrees Three, then quips, Since it’s your father, would that be daduction?

“Dad,” I shout the moment I burst through the front door, “I lost my tooth!”

Seeing his 10-year-old son’s gap-toothed expression, Pop realizes the missing item is a very expensive false tooth attached to a fitted plate formerly tucked in my mouth. (Why, yes, dear readers, that IS the result of one of my innumerable accidents. But let’s not speak of that here.)

My father rushes into the kitchen, grabs a small box of matches –

Flashlight might work better, suggests One.

– and has me lead him to the place where I, sledding the snow-filled backyards of friends, think the tooth bid me goodbye. There, Dad asks all nearby participants to stop their downhill speeding so the tooth doesn’t get covered. Intrigued, pals gather ’round to watch SherPop at work.

“Does this matchbox feel about the same weight as your tooth?” he asks.

MatchsticksScreen Five tells me it is too heavy. Dad removes a number of matchsticks until we agree the weight is similar, then tells the kids, “Now my son’s going to show you where his tooth landed in the snow.”

If you knew that, mutters Six, you wouldn’t need your dad!

“Run as fast as you were sledding,” he directs me. “When you reach the point where you think the plate slipped out of your mouth as you laughed, I will bounce the matchbox off your shoulder – ”

Because it probably hit you on the way down! claps awed Four.

” – and we will search that area.” He turns to oohing bystanders and hands them flashlights.

When did he grab those? wonders Two.

“This will never work,” I moan.

But the third time the proposed conditions are simulated, we find the false tooth.

Intact, marvels One.

I hug Pop as several kids and six screens cheer wildly. Screen Five exults, We come from that gene pool!

Hearing only silence from Pop in response to the hurrahs, I shine my own flashlight upon his face. His smile rivals the Rio Grande as ADHD-Powered screens shout, “Incredible!”

A tad embarrassed, Douglas Blackwell humbly says, “It’s what dads do.”


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Postscript: Toledo again makes headlines the same wrong way we did last summer when the nation learned we had undrinkable water. This time, we find Ohio named the number one state in America for theft of metal – hubcaps, manhole covers, copper plumbing, fire station connections – and Toledo the first-ranked city in that first-ranked state for the same negative reason.

Still, those problems pale against the one told me by a six-year-old male soccer enthusiast. “Me and my team played the girls’ team,” he says. “They beated us.”

“Girls are very good,” I console. “Was it close?”

“Sort of. We losed 1 to 10.”

* * * * *

A different sort of Pop (Goes the Weasel)

Your character lived long … we prospered

Heroic instructor rescues convulsing skydiver