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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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Christmas at Central Park Two little boys missed this holiday scene during our NYC wanderings …

Your greatest adventures often find themselves rooted in the humblest beginnings.

Taken aback by the musings of Screen One, I laugh. “You’re mighty philosophical this evening, my friend. Everything OK?”

’Tis the season, he says, almost sighing in the explanation. Something about this time brings forth memories. Rich, deep, sweet, powerful memories.

My own heart validates One’s observation. It skips a life-giving beat in remembrance of joyously shoveling play-prompting snows alongside a now-departed father.

“So,” I press, “just what image strolls through your head?”

You mean your head? I think of that time in 1970 when Thor, your next-youngest brother and co-adventurer, declares his need for a calculator.

This cues all six screens, who hit the “ADHD Powered” button and become a single vibrant IMAX for the story about to unfold….

“We’re off to New York!” whoops Thor. We will find a deal there, for sure!
trumpets Six.

Piggy PopWith parental-unit permission, we push piggy-bank pillagings in pockets, stuff dollars in socks (thwarting robbers we may encounter in The City), and describe our big plans to Mom as she drives us to the Summit train station.

We, 14 and 12, wave goodbye to Mom. She suddenly looks rather young and lonely, observes One. Perhaps it is hard for her to loan innocent youngsters to a distant, dangerous place like New York.

“Did you say ‘innocent’?” I question with laughter.

Where first? asks Two, knowing full well we always head straight to Astro Gems and Minerals on 5th Avenue. Reminds Five, Each trip requires the purchase of one fine stone to add to your precious gems collection.

I agree, marveling at Five’s wisdom. Soon we stroll this fabulous facility, eager to part with hard-earned newspaper money only after we have secured the most dazzling rock.

At a rock-bottom price, nudges Two.

Deal complete –

Astounding amethyst geode! commends Five.

– two hungry boys race toward one of several Tad’s Steakhouse “stand-up restaurants” located around the Big Apple. There we replenish our waning strength with a low-cost steak, an Orange Julius drink and a vow to hunt every two-bit, sidewalk shop until The Calculator is found and conquered.

p11414265_l_h9_aaInnumerable entrances and exits later, Thor spies his prey in a window advertising $105, markedly higher than that we’ve envisioned.

“Gotta bargain, that’s all,” assures my brother as we rush inside. “What could possibly go wrong?”

Screen Three laughs. That same line will re-surface years from now. When it does, it again will be in New York. But then, it will end badly.

Bargaining ensues with vengeance. Does the salesman balk at Thor’s suggested price, asks Four, or at being outdone by a 12-year-old?

“Both,” says Ted, answering not Four’s question but the salesman’s. “I want the calculator and the charger, please.”

“No!” schmoozed salesman shouts at consumer kid. “I’ll sell you the calculator for $78.50 – ”

“Thank you,” Thor politely says as Six mentally slaps him on the back.

“ – but I ain’t gonna give you the charger.”

“The window price says it includes both.”

“You wanted such a good deal, try running that good deal off batteries!”

Thor nods, surrendering readily. “You gave me the box it came in,” he states. “Can I have the instructions, too?”

Shoes heavily stomp through clutter into darkness. During their noisy absence, Screen Two begs my brother to end this unjust deal. Thor smiles, puts silencing finger to lips, swiftly flips open the calculator box lid … and taps the charger the enraged salesman had forgotten and left in there.

Screens go mad with admiration.

Shoes stomp back. Paper slaps glass top. “Pay up and get out!”

We do, running until the subway replaces feet. Then our iron horse, the mighty Erie Lackawanna train, snorts and steams us home to dinner with our family, all of whom marvel at the incredible deal young Ted secured.

As I flop head onto pillow, soft light steals into our shared room, outlining first my brother’s bed and then his face. Eyes full of excitement, Thor turns toward me and smiles. He is not yet counting sheep, but when he does, Thor will do so with a new calculator.

Stay close to this one, Six whispers. He has much to teach you.


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Postscript: Each Christmas season produces a new and tackier way to celebrate. This year’s winner is a patterned-light strobe placed on the lawn. Tiny but powerful beams play across one’s house, making it appear festive without the fuss-tive.

I have seen two versions thus far. The first gave its home the appearance of brightly colored measles.

And the second? asks Five, clearly knowing its effect on me.

“Augh!” I groan. “Flashing lights are tough on this brain-damaged boy. But I do admit they made me seem more in tune with the holiday.”

How so? wonders Two.

“I came home green.”

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Blackie’s Weekly Wonders

These underprivileged youngsters “get it”