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 true … without exaggeration!]
Eating a doughnut, I laugh as I write this week’s column.
Not seeing the calorie/column connection, Boss, presses Screen One. Which is curious, since I am one of your six ADHD screens and at least one of us should be dialed in.
“I chuckle remembering what happened every time Dad brought doughnuts home. Brother Teddy, so very young, would grab the box, snuggle in behind Pop’s La-Z-Boy rocker, eat the goodies and hide the box who knows where.”
Why would he do that? queries Two. He was so tiny and helpless.
“Tiny and helpless? The guy grows into big, strong Thor, my adventurous amigo. Anyway, he never ate the whole box. He’d just take one big bite out of EACH doughnut and put it back.”
Should have followed his diet, bemoans Three. You would be big and handsome, too.
Speaking of your strolls, Boss, continues Three, obviously full of admiration, you have our very sincere congratulations. Against what should be nearly impossible odds, you have set a trend.
“My lifelong love of orange?”
No, your morning walk.
“Lots of people walk before sunrise, Three.”
But you do not just walk. You pick up garbage as you motor along, cleaning the town and leaving it much better than you find it. The media call that “trashercise” and tout it big-time. (He puffs his chest.) We are – dare I say it aloud? – the “in” crowd.
This troubles Screen Six. Boss, please stop. You are “ADHD Powered” by your half-dozen screens. Screens never fit in! We are never in vogue!
“Relax, Six,” I softly say. “We are far from trend-setting on these walks. Or has the crayfish incident already slipped your – my – mind?”
And screens replay the scene to prove they’re as sharp as ever ….
Even in the darkness, I see the strange figure waving its princely pincers as my sneakers rapidly close the gap between us on the roadway bridge. Powerful flashlight beam illuminates a tiny, otherworldly figure rising up, threatening to slay unprotected toes and pinkies.
A car clears the hill ahead of us, headlights promising pain. I look down at the crawdad –
Moments ago you called it a crayfish, reminds Five.
– dancing about on the macadam. “The creek is right below us. Why are you up here?” I ask, but he does not answer, so I bend to lift him.
My first “swoop,” notably shy of grace and balance, leaves enemy pincers free to tear at flesh. Your unprotected thumb, comments Four, is a prime target. Less than eager to feel the effect of those cutting claws, I drop him.
Why? questions horrified Four as crazed crustacean smacks street with sickening slap. Why would you do that? He is so tiny and helpless.
Are we back to Thor again? asks Two.
Murmurs Five, Fascinating. Crawdads, much like Bumbles, bounce. I had not been aware of that.
“He clipped my finger, Four. And he isn’t little … he’s six inches, easily.”
(Editor’s note: Photographic proof at left, with Barry in the middle of the lobsterfest.)
My, but he’s swift to recover, approves Six. Already back in fighting posture!
Indeed, the crawdad is battle-ready. Pincers wave nonstop, snipping pieces of the night from the sky and hurling the blackness my way. Were I free to watch at length, I would do so for hours. But the oncoming headlights swiftly gobbling road tell me I must get moving. I have no desire to go through yet another windshield.
No doubt your crawdad has the same aversion to joining tire treads, muses One.
My flashlight trained upon the freshwater lobster –
Lobster? What happened to “crawdad”? asks Five.
– I swoop a second time, perfectly snagging the brawler where his pincers cannot reach and legs cannot scratch. Even this improved grip will serve me well for mere moments, as the wiggling, wriggling torso slowly works its way loose. Together we step out of a painful path. Speeding car zips past, occupants unaware of the primordial struggle occurring between man and beast just feet away.
I draw the crawdad close – not too close – to my face, whisper, “Let me take you back to safety.”
Jump up on the big pipe and walk down that to the creek, counsels Six. Forgetting my titanium knee says “not in this lifetime” to such leaps, I bang directly into the pipe, painful impact causing my hand to release its occupant. The crawdad Bumble-bounces along the pipe length three times –
You cannot even skip a rock that far, commends Four.
– and lands not in a gentle creek but a roaring river, one swollen from the previous night’s rains. Amid violent watery swirls, pincers rise once in defiance and disappear from sight.
Gone, whistles Three. Just like that. So much for “back to safety,” eh?
Five tries to console me. Headaches, yes. But he will live, being, after all, an aquatic creature.
Four gives the better response. Celebrate, Black. You saved his life. Buy doughnuts.
“Great idea!” I say, spirit reviving. “But let’s not tell Teddy.”
Postscript: Trashercising a different day but at the same bridge, I pick up gooey garbage that slips right through my fingers.
“Gooey” is your first clue, Black, chides Screen Three.
Fourth attempt goes better, flashlight now illuminating the ick my dragged sneaker has just scooped into my unsuspecting hand.
Frog guts, says naturalist Five. Big frog, he adds, unnecessarily, activating my vomiting mechanism so powerfully I drop to my knees and start surrendering Oreos.
Car glides up to me as I hurl. Windows power downward. Driver’s weary female voice bellows to teen passenger, “Believe me now? That’s what happens when you drink!”
* * * * *
Just one line can say so much …