S omewhere in my hip is a pinched nerve that seems to only bother me in the middle of the night. [note 1] After shaking off my initial grogginess, I head to the kitchen for some water and then to the computer. During this physical transition my brain shifts into “philosophical contemplation” mode. That usually means that I get an idea for a blog post or I feel compelled to re-read, re-edit, re-conceptualize a draft post that may, someday, see the light of day. For the past year it seems that each morning’s single thought quickly becomes a flood of thoughts that I struggle to capture. The post below is the “capture” of one morning’s flood of thoughts. Of course, it has been edited for coherence and hyperlinks.
I sit down at the computer at 3:30AM and open the draft post entitled “No Memory – No Self.” I google “memories definition” which leads to the Skeptic’s dictionary which, in turn, makes the concept of memory more complex than I need for that post. The problem of memory and self reminds me of another draft post entitled “Life as Zelig” that uses Woody Allen’s movie as a starting point. The post tries to show how the ADHDer’s life and career path can be very much like Zelig: the human chameleon who can so successfully take on the characteristics of those around him that these “others” become convinced that he has been a part of their lives all along. [note 2] Isn’t the meandering career path of the ADHDer simply this Zelig-like self-morphing as one goes from job to job? As this thought of the meandering career [note 3] bounced around in my head it led me to the next one…the difficulty for an adult ADHDer (specifically the late diagnosed ADHDer who does not suffer from the delusions of self-worth inculcated through the Orwellian, “War is Peace; ADHD is a Gift” mind set) to fit into a world that requires a singularity of purpose in order to “succeed” in life. We delude ourselves (ADD really means Adult Delusional Disorder) when we assume that our inability to maintain focus is the perfect complement to our fractured, disrupted digital lives. On the contrary, without having an underlying structure, a connective thread which weaves these minutely divided behaviors into a coherent whole, the mimicked behaviors are, to a degree, empty gestures. The ADHDer is not succeeding in life because of this mimicked behavior in the same way that a computer is not thinking simply because it can mimic “answering” Jeopardy questions by using various forms of semantic analysis. [note 4]
At another time and place the ADHDer would be the perfect person, NOT for the life of a hunter but for the life of a farmer. Yes…a farmer…because a farmer’s tasks changes with the changing seasons. The animals do not demand linear thinking, do not require laser-like singularity of purpose on the part of the farmer. As long as the plants are more or less watered, as long as the animals are more or less fed and taken care of, everything is fine. Further, and perhaps this is the appeal that animals have for ADHDers, is that animals do not require long, drawn out logico-causal chains of explanation. Yes, you may feel compelled to explain to your chicken why she is going to be Friday’s dinner. However, a simple “circle of life” explanation is all that is really needed. (Disclaimer: This is not meant to denigrate the chicken nor to discount its intelligence. We are all aware of the fact that, to make a tender, juicy chicken requires a chicken to have self-esteem, to feel that their existence was not for naught but served a higher purpose. If your chicken is religious, you may want to mention that in heaven there are 72 roosters who can’t wait to rustle her feathers.)
My legs hurt. I will end this post here.
This post was written on my Blackberry as I walked up and down the streets of my neighborhood. People must think I’m crazy…or they must think I am ADHD. (Wait…that’s redundant…no?)
- I have not seen a doctor because it doesn’t bother me during the day and if it does…I ignore it, awaiting my body’s built-in self-repair capabilities though…now that I am over 50…the self-repair isn’t working as well as it used to.↩
- I observed my own ability to do this when I got a “regular” job and found that, within a handful of months, my co-workers and even management saw me as an essential cog in the business operation. This was not a fluke. I’ve observed my ability to do this in every job…movie projectionist; adjunct lecturer; etc.↩
- Being Jewish did not help me during my years of therapy since therapists attributed my moving from job to job as an indication of some Jewish wanderlust. Perhaps it was just my version of the Call of Abraham, the time when Abraham looked around, was disgusted by what he saw and said, “Fuck this” and packed up his tent and left. See Civilization and its Discontented.↩
- See What Is I.B.M.’s Watson?↩