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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.

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orange blindfold

        You know, I might not have minded an orange blindfold …

“The French,” I contend, “wrongly receive credit for a classy expression.”

“Déjà vu,” translates Screen Three, is “already seen,” as if one had experienced it earlier.

“I’m sure an ‘ADHD Powered’ person came up with the phrase.”

Counters Screen One, Every culture in the world has ADHD people, Blackie.

Maybe not Alaska, weighs Five in typical six-screen fashion. Most of those snowshoe-wearing, body-heat sharing, ADHD wonders have been eaten by polar bears they thought they could outrun.

Or hide from, adds Four. But covering noses does not work as well for humans hiding as it does for bears hunting.

“Regardless, guys,” I interrupt my interrupting screens, trying to reel the topic back in, “despite having ‘already experienced’ the same disastrous events, we thunder headlong into repeating our mistake.”

Case in point? asks One.

Following undue pressure from youth camp teens, I am on stage. Only after a blindfold is wrapped tightly ’round my head does this man learn I face three other contestants in a banana-eating battle.

Worries Two, You hate bananas. The way Indiana Jones hates snakes.

The winner, explains Five, must eat the most bananas in two minutes. And avoid a potassium eruption afterward.

bananarangEven the feel of the peel makes me “eel.” I fight slinging that banana at the audience. Boomerang-style.

Ahh, but the cheering, says Three with a smile. So heady, so intoxicating!

“Blackwell still hasn’t peeled his first!” blares bullhorn-equipped moderator.

Hearing rowdy roars, loud laughter, stomping sneakers, I realize time flies, and fly with it I must. To the accompaniment of the “Rocky” soundtrack playing in my head, my teeth take bigger, faster bites.

While “injecting” a second banana (per rough calculations, I stuff 42.7 percent of that into gasping mouth), I yank yellow skin off a third. Timekeeper bellows tense moments remaining while moderator declares me slight leader over fellow primates.

I cannot breathe, except maybe through my eyeballs.

Unlikely oxygen receptors, disputes Five.

The external roar in my ears goes internal, a clear signal senses may be slipping away. Slipping? admires Three. Great pun, Black! But I jest not. Banana bits block Blackwell breaths.

“The winn-ah!” echoes across walls of large hall. Moderator whips blindfold off me and reveals three smiling contestants, original bananas still held unbitten. Microphone appears in front of face for commentary on my solo race, but what I’m about to let fly will not be wit and wisdom.

Leaping off stage, I race to the Great Outdoors and promptly propel potassium into rich loam.

Never again will we fall for this, declares Six.

Travolta NOTFast forward enough years to know better. I reassure  a different, perhaps kinder, game-show host that I do not dance.

His sibs got all the rhythm, affirms Three. Blackie got the looks.

“You’ll be fine,” the host assures.

“Paramedics may respond,” I warn, but blindfold engulfs my eyes as a disembodied voice announces, “Contestants shall dance while playing musical chairs.”

What about your visual imbalance, Black? asks Five. If you cannot see, you cannot walk.

Even when you can see, laughs Four, you cannot dance.

But music arrives, reason leaves, and I dance like no one is watching. My feet perform the Funky Chicken, the Shimmy Shake, the Boot-Scoot Boogie. I bump, grind, swoop, sway, twist and walk like an Egyptian, capturing a seat during each round of the competition.

“The winn-ah!” shouts Mr. Microphone in all-too-familiar phrasing. My blindfold falls away, revealing seven other smiling, perspiration-free contestants calmly seated in the front row of the great hall. “Well,” the moderator gleefully cackles, “that was some dancing! You really got down! Tell our listeners out in Radioland your group’s name and your own.”

Radioland? gasps Two, realizing the impact of those words. Screen Six peers into the darkness, drops his voice and mumbles, “Black, your co-leader, Kevin, is in on this. So is Mrs. Kevin.” Narrowing his eyes, Six directs my next words.

“We’re from Rossford,” I say. “My name is, uh ….

Slow your words, Boss, coaxes Four. Make those pitiless pranksters pay.

“Cochran … Kevin Cochran.”

A section of auditorium attendees – the youth group we’ve brought – explodes in laughter. Only now does Six fire his last bullet.

“And since this is being broadcast on radio, you should know it’s Terri – my wife, Terri Cochran – who taught me to dance this way.”


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Postscript: Speaking of déjà vu (or did I already do that?) …

I’ve had other food-oriented “breathless moments.”

Makes sense, says Screen Two. Do tell.

I place three little, white-powder doughnut holes atop a white-powder doughnut of great size. Leaning over, I impress Washington State choir pals by using only my mouth to gulp the entire “snowman” in one fell swoop, burying him up to his white-sugar feet.

Too bad ol’ Frosty hibernates there, notes Five. Deciding he will neither surface nor surrender, Frosty nicely cuts off your windpipe. And oxygen. Rescue occurs – almost too late – when nurse Celeste finally realizes your reddened face indicates Earthly exit. She, professionally thumping your back, perfectly pops pastries.

Ever notice how sopranos – when they laugh – sound like mice?

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Blackie’s Weekly Wonders

How I dance without a blindfold