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!]
This is kind of a strange Valentine’s Day column, Black.
“Why?” I ask Screen Five. “It’s all about hearts, right?”
Hearts blowing kisses. Not pumping blood.
“But that’s what hearts do.”
Maybe you could write about giving flowers, suggests Two.
“I’d rather write about giving blood,” I reply. “And that topic still keeps ‘hearts’ in the mix.”
Fine, sighs Four. Write about blood. Get it out of your system. The topic, I mean. Then write about Valentine’s Day next week, when we are much closer to the actual date.
“Do you guys know my dad was a regular blood donor?”
So are you, Boss, commends Six, pride in his voice.
“Yes, but Doug Blackwell gave to the American Red Cross at regularly scheduled times … a pint every 56 days.”
Oh, says Three. Not all at once? Like you with your accidents?
Screen One interjects, I remember the very first time you gave, Black ….
“All done,” the nurse cheerily announces. “Wasn’t so bad, was it?”
“Still,” she smiles, quickly looking around at suddenly anxious faces of fellow Ohio University students not yet tapped for their donation, “you lived through it. And now you’ve helped so many others with your kindness.” Her hands politely, firmly turn my body a new direction. “Please be our guest at the canteen.”
I am seated alongside a muscular giant. His silence is unnerving, so Three launches lunch talk through my lips. “You play for the college football team, right?”
Mr. Gridiron nods wordlessly, his stare peeling away the few formica fragments yet left on these worn cafeteria tables.
Feminine arms reach around us, setting down two cool milks. “Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to replenish your system,” we are advised. “Take your time eating, boys,” we hear as two piping hot plates of spaghetti arrive next. And then the truly useful advice comes: “Parmesan shakers are to your right.”
Oodles of noodles! smacks Six. Ask for the “cheese, please,” and we will go to town.
As directed, ask I do. I am politely ignored. My eyes stop studying the bodacious bicep of the brawny beast beside me and look upward into his face.
He does not seem well, observes Four. True, agrees Five. His skin really should have a bit more of a ruddy look … not such a gray pallor.
I am about to suggest my dining partner call one of the nurses over. But there is no time to start, much less finish, the words.
Like giant oaks of old falling prey to a logger’s steel and slowly gliding toward the Earth, Grid Guy effortlessly tilts ahead, his forward motion ceasing when face hits plate in silent re-enactment of countless silver-screen scenes.
Only I have seen this pasta plunge. It is possible to aspirate spaghetti, counsels Five. You should, perhaps, alert nursing staff to this predicament.
Raising my hand beckons an attentive aide to my side. “Since this is your first time,” she says courteously, “shall I help you to your feet?”
“Thanks, no,” I demur. “But you might help my buddy,” and here I point to the motionless man beside me.
The single, rather high-pitched scream brings medical personnel from so many places that soon I, still seated where I’ve been all along, am cut off from my pasta pal. Occasionally small gaps develop in the cafeteria crowd, allowing glimpses of the Spaghetti Sultan’s large frame, now held upright by two men. Numerous female hands wipe saucy noodles off fainted face.
And cheese flakes off furry eyebrows, laughs Three.
Far from discouraging me, that incident increases my youthful determination to continue donating. I even hope one day to tell my father I have out-given him, but a great man leaves Earth a tad earlier than I’d foreseen.
So I (who have donated 87 pints to date) instead send readers the message I meant for Dad to get: “Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, Pop. This blood’s for you.”
Postscript: Tuesday was, of course, Groundhog Day.
Happens every February second, confirms Screen Four.
My poor daughter in Florida – chilling her way through a brutal cold snap –
Oh, drop to 60, did it? yawns Three.
– wonders along with the rest of America whether Punxsutawney Phil will predict six more weeks of winter. I laugh at Leah’s anxious curiosity because, on the very same day she fights “freezing to death,” Ohioans marvel at the less-than-seasonal arrival of very heavy rains, booming thunder and cracklin’ lightning.
No worries about Buckeye State “predictions” of snow, spouts Six. All our groundhogs drowned, fried and died.
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Blackie’s Weekly Wonders
Another way to stop winter
Still cold? This will warm your heart …