Point of View: Name That Disease

Usually, on finishing a crossword puzzle I toss it, as a cat would a dead mouse, at Mary’s feet

Hats off to Sylvia Overby, who told me at the Little League ceremony at Maidstone Park the other day that Adderol was used to treat ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, as I was later to learn) and thus helped me finish a crossword puzzle that had been causing me to fidget. I excused myself for a moment so I could run back to the car, which was parked nearby, to fill in the missing letters.

Usually, on finishing a crossword puzzle I toss it, as a cat would a dead mouse, at Mary’s feet, or in her general direction, saying in so doing, and with no little pride, “Now, I can begin my day,” though sometimes it’s, “Now I can begin yesterday, or the day before yesterday.”

And now that I’ve looked up ADHD on the Internet, I find that, crosswords aside, I tend to manifest certain of its symptoms. 

“Often fails to give close attention to details” is listed as one. Bingo. 

“Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities.” Ditto.

“Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish chores.” Oh, boy. 

“Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.” What?

“Often talks excessively, interrupts, and blurts out answers before questions have been completed.” Moi?

It all reminds me of the new doorknob I bought recently at the hardware store to replace one that had become so sticky that no amount of WD-40 could bring it around. 

Part two of that chore, of course, was to affix it, which I tried to do a few days later, with much cursing, of course, only to find once the little bolts were screwed in all the way — it took forever to align them — that you couldn’t pull it to, nor could you, moreover, lock it, even from the inside. 

“What shall we do now?” Mary, who was as nonplused as I, asked.

“There are no problems, only solutions — the juice of five limes, half a lemon, and an orange mixed in with three cups of ice, a cup of Triple Sec, and a cup of tequila being the solution in our case.”

The next day, it may have taken Dave, our neighbor, all of two seconds to diagnose the problem, which was that the latch had been inserted upside down and therefore the desired coupling of the latch with the strike plate could not be achieved. He flipped the latch assembly around and voilà. Dave pays close attention to details. He finishes chores. I doubt that in his youth he was ever called “a mechanical moron,” as was I, by my late stepfather. Generally, I’ll embrace a critique like that. Say that my prose is as dry as a mudflat after a heavy rain, or that what I write about is beside the point, and I’ll preen. But to have been labeled a mechanical moron at an impressionable age — 22, I think it was — has taken such a toll emotionally that I become hyperinattentive, even to the extent of vanishing, when anything requiring assembly and accompanied by detailed instructions arrives. 

But now the psychic weight has been lifted! It’s not that I’m inattentive, phlegmatic, unorganized, excessively talkative, or downright annoying. I’ve got ADHD!

I’m sure Mary will be relieved to hear it.