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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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Fishing females  Lovely Laura and wee Eowyn show me how they catch the big ones …

“You’re finished here.”

Already? asks Screen Two. Your hemoglobin pumps through Alaskan pipelines, Blackie!

I thank the Red Cross nurse and, another blood donation completed, pop to my feet. This boy heads toward the refreshments for much-needed replacement fluids and snacks.

But the cookie selection does not appeal, frowns Five. And for the first time ever, the orange juice is sour.

Timekeeper Four coaxes, These are your cues to forget the goodies and scoot home. You can still join your beautiful brown-eyed bride in picking up mini-Montgomery moppets this morn.

Forty minutes later, four females leap into the family van, excited to join us for a day of adventure at the MetroParks Expo. Though the hour is early yet, the woods are packed by other families with the same idea. We pile out, unload the car and walk a good distance from the parking lot to the first event.

A zipline! cheers Six. With a 30-minute wait! laments Three.

Following Laura’s lead, Brianna (10) and Abigail (8) strap into the ride and fearlessly fly through heated, humid air. Groundbound, I snap away with my iPhone’s camera, having been taught how to do so by my daughter.

Laughs Five, Leah could not believe you owned the phone 18 months and were clueless about taking pictures.

Abigail and McKenzieNow the girls rush madly toward the archery display –

With a 40-minute wait! laments Three. In scorching sun!

– and, after a lengthy thirst-inducing delay in line, grab the many colorful compound bows awaiting their eager hands. “Shoot with us!” they plead. I decline, but Miss Laura says she will take the two younger girls elsewhere and find something for them to enjoy.

Encouraged, I step up, nock an arrow and eagerly await the instructor’s word to commence our challenge.

“You OK?” my wife’s melodious voice calls. Surprised, I turn sideways and see her standing almost even with all the archers, a risky place to pose questions. “You look terrible.”

So much for “Robin Hood” Blackwell, notes One.

I laugh, mumble that I am fine and turn to pull back my arrow. As I do so, the target disappears in a field of enveloping black. Not sure how to handle that problem with my vision, I bend to one knee, catch my breath. Inky darkness slowly yields to smothering day. “I can get you some water,” filters a familiar voice, but I now know that wise move will be too little, too late.

Timber! announces Three. I desperately try to throw my weapons safely away from me. It is a motion I do not complete. Crashing to Earth, my face kisses dew-dampened field.

And I fall upon my arrow.

Knights upon swords, exults Six. Glorious!

Four strong arms lift me to my feet. Screen One comments, Lucky that arrow flipped sideways! I reassure my supporters I am embarrassed but fine. They release-and-catch me just before I repeat the faceplant.

Brianna gets one!Lying on the ground near the “Medical Services” tent, I see an angelic face above mine. Blackwell Bride promises to take four youngsters to “other” attractions while I recover. Strangers and rangers diagnose dangers. Endless hydration flows via water, weak Gatorade and popsicles so cold I fight brain freeze. “Can we get you anything else?” asks one nurse, bursting into laughter when Two murmurs through my lips, Lobster.

Emergency medical personnel swarm me, explaining, “Word is, ‘Old guy had a heart attack.’” I dispel the cardiac concerns, but I cannot stand. And the girls cannot stand … to be away, I mean. They see a third ambulance – it is a “slow medical day,” apparently – pull up by me and they beg Laura to return to my side.

The five of them find me snugly held aloft by Ranger Becky. They miss by mere moments the lone ranger’s questioning. “You still seem foggy,” she comments.

“I am,” I softly reply.

“And you don’t walk well,” she worries.

 “That’s just from an accident I died in.”

She gasps, laughs, asks, “Been through the wringer, have we?”

“Interesting life,” I affirm.

“Well, congrats. You, Mr. Blood Donor, have done it again. You are MetroParks’ first official statistic of the day.”

A dubious honor, agrees Screen One. But we, no doubt, will drink to that. More water than we ever dreamed possible.


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Postscript: Moments before I drop during our interrupted archery in the previous tale, I tell Brianna and Abigail to aim for the bull’s-eye of the target.

Miss Abby looks aghast. “I’m gonna shoot a bull’s eye?”

“Relax, champ. It’s the little yellow circle tucked inside the bigger red and blue circles.”

She and Bri fire away. I fall away. Pulled from the immediate scene by scrambling medics, I do not find out the girls’ results until we are homebound.

“Got two in the bull’s-eye!” boasts Bri.

“And you, Miss Abigail?”

“Never even reached the target,” she moans. “Only got grass-eyes!”

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