The “Brilliant Reality” of ADHD

I n my head I’m a brilliant writer and I’m chock full of ideas that are, quite frankly, brilliant. I’m often amazed at my own brilliance, the ways in which I can turn a phrase, analyze a complex situation or solve a vexing puzzle. Perhaps that’s the “brilliant reality” of ADHD. As a legend in my own mind, all that “brilliance” is, in “reality,” in that echo chamber known as “my head” and perhaps that brilliant little phrase “brilliant reality” isn’t brilliant at all. Perhaps it’s a mistranslation, like seventy white raisins somehow being (mis)translated as seventy virgins. Perhaps this brilliant phrase (there really isn’t any other word for it) is the result of a typographical error, an errant keystroke or two that deleted the kernel of truth leaving only an empty shell consisting of “brilliant reality.” There might have been a moment of truth where, in place of the missing kernel there was an ellipsis so that the shell was really “brilliant…reality,” but the author of that phrase might have thought that a group of dots distracted from the brilliance of the phrase itself and that would be true because an ellipsis says, loud and clear, that something is missing. So, no ellipsis.

Perhaps it’s time to put the kernel of truth —  the nut —  back into the shell.

Perhaps it’s time we looked at the phrase in its entirety.

It’s just a theory but I think the original phrase was “brilliant but not in reality.”

.  .  .  .  .

I lie when I say I think I’m a brilliant writer because I don’t think of myself as a writer. I think of myself as a transcriptionist and all I do is transcribe the voice in my head. It’s the voice, the oratory, the tonal quality, the inner Shakespeare, that I hear in my head and whose speech I am transcribing. [note 1] That voice is funny and brilliant and smart and suave and, if it ever manifested itself as a person, women would be throwing themselves at his feet which, of course, would be my feet.


I have to tell you.

I had the experience of a lifetime.

I really had women throwing themselves at my feet.


Not really.

But it was the closest I’ll ever get to that feeling of being god’s gift to women.

I spent a week on a cruise ship and as part of the entertainment they were doing a “Dancing with the Stars” kind of thing. I didn’t volunteer to dance (but I really wanted to volunteer but my wife would kill me if I did) but was accidentally picked to participate.


No kidding.

I walked up to the bar to get a drink (this was before the contest started) and the cruise director said, “Aren’t you..uh…”

‘Jeff’ I said. ‘My name is Jeff.’

“And you’re from…”

‘New York. And don’t sign me up for the dancing. My wife will kill me.’

Of course, they start calling out the names of the participants and, sure enough, “Jeff, from New York, New York.”

I turn to my wife.

‘I swear. I didn’t volunteer. I told them not to pick me.’

They paired me up with this very attractive young lady who was part of the cruise ship entertainment team. There were three judges. They played a song. We danced. The judges critiqued and then one couple was eliminated. My partner and I were the second couple to be eliminated. (I got a nice Norwegian Cruise Line pen for my troubles.)

A day later I’m riding in the elevator with my wife and there are two women at the back of the elevator.

“You’re the one from the dance contest. They shouldn’t have eliminated you. You were good.”

I thanked them for their words of support and promised to be available later that day to autograph anything they wanted autographed. My wife didn’t appreciate that remark.

Another time, while standing in a crowded line of people to get into the theater for the evening’s show, a woman said “You’re the one who lost the dance contest.”

While at one of the ship’s nightclubs this little blond asked me to dance, sort of.

It was about 11:00pm. I was enjoying an Appletini [note 2] in the nightclub and this blond sits in a chair to my right. Her mother was standing behind her so I just looked at them both and smiled. But then the little blond patted the seat cushion, sort of telling me, “Come here.” I looked at my wife. I looked at her mother. The little blond patted the seat cushion yet again and, well, I couldn’t resist. I remember when my daughters were that little and how adorable they were at three years old so, right then and there, I stood up, the little blond stood up and we danced. I assured her mom that I wasn’t a pedophile but when grandma came over I figured I crossed some line so I smiled and sat down.

.  .  .  .  .

Ever since I’ve returned from that cruise I keep going to my local post office to check the walls. I’m praying that grandma hasn’t posted my picture.

  1. Sometimes I imagine myself walking in the Agora, speaking eloquently about science and politics and human nature, and my writings are akin to Plato’s Dialogues, many of which are transcriptions (with some philosophical license) of the utterances of Socrates.
  2. I’m not really big on drinking and so I switch off from Appletini’s to Margarita’s to beers and back (not all on the same night) because those are the only drinks that I remember that I like.
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  • Relationships

    You’re a dancer, too? Brilliant!

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      It took a few years for me to get up the guts to go on the dance floor and now you can’t get me off of it.

  • Betsy Davenport

    I have long maintained that there is nothing creative about thoughts that arrive, unbidden, in our brains.  Creativity comes in when you actually make something from those ideas.  An essay, a pea shooter, but the main thing is that “create” means to make something where there wasn’t anything before.  Thoughts and ideas may be cool and original and wonrous, but they are not creative.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      If thoughts and ideas were all that were needed to be creative, there would be a lot more Steve Jobs-like entrepreneurs out there. What’s the old saying? Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration?

  • Betsy Davenport

    I have long maintained that there is nothing creative about thoughts that arrive, unbidden, in our brains.  Creativity comes in when you actually make something from those ideas.  An essay, a pea shooter, but the main thing is that “create” means to make something where there wasn’t anything before.  Thoughts and ideas may be cool and original and wonrous, but they are not creative.

  • Anonymous

    I think brilliant thoughts (at least according to my brain), I often put those creative thoughts into action (all be it- not often enough), and I dance. These traits are common ground under ADDers! Good piece!

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Like you, I can sometimes capture and put into reality some of those brilliant thoughts and other times…well…they just float away.

      “Good piece!” – Thank you!

  • Scott Hutson

    I laugh at myself every time I go back and look at some of the things I said (posted/commented) here over the years.  One of the first was: “I so very much want to discuss things with people, with my intellectual thoughts and amazing ideas I come up with…” 

    I probably should cry instead of laughing, but it’s just part of the “Journey” that never ends and we learn as we go. :)

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      For me, and you now see this through your comments, recording your thoughts (posts/comments) is the best thing you can do. You can literally see the evolution of your thought processes. On a side note…what annoys me most about Facebook (you’ll see the tie-in in a moment) is that it’s a continual stream and you can’t easily go back in time to see the evolution of your (and your friends) thinking. It’s like a long conversation that never ends, that has no conclusion and has no goal other than to keep the conversation going.

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