MAYBE YOU HAVE NUISANCE ABILITIES?

Just for defecation and sniggers, let’s pretend that you and I are not as successful as we intended to be. (Okay? Go along with it. It won’t hurt.)

I know you have always wanted to know why you have not won an Oscar or rated a Pulitzer or a Nobel or been elected President of something nobody thought you ought to be president of. I think I may have the answer for why. It is not our fault.

It is the nuisance ability.

Hunh? How can an ability be a nuisance?

Back in the mid 1960’s I was a teacher at a very good prep school for young men. One of these guys under my watchful eye was having some problems with his math grades and his parents ordered up a two-day series of tests designed to measure his academic and psychological strengths and weaknesses to gather suggestions for long-term education and career goals. For example, if you hate food and don’t eat much and can’t stand being precise with things, maybe being a chef would be a waste of your lack of skills.

Well, this young student shared his results with me and that is where I read a most peculiar term: “Nuisance Abilities”. Wow, I thought to myself. I would have said WTF if that had been invented by then. I asked young (let’s call him) Scott what on earth they were. Was that some crazy invention designed to snag cash from eager middleclass parents with disposable income?

Nope. Not at all. They really exist. And the odds are (if you have the time and inclination to read this rambling) you have a whole bunch of them.

Let’s take Pseudonymous Scott’s case for an example. He scored very high in the area of computational skills. (I never did…ever. But Scott was way up there.) In other words there was no logical reason for Scott crashing and burning on his math quizzes—all things being equal…like he wasn’t trying to get thrown out because he hated the school.

But that is where the examiner/consultant/shrink declared that Scott had a very strong “nuisance ability” which kept interfering with his process while doing the math thing he was supposed to be so good at. (Remember that adolescent brains are not completely formed so do not expect them to be able to note these skills alone and tell them not to bother them while they find the square root of a hyponoid.)

Scott’s finely tuned ear and musical sensibilities were about 10 or 20% weaker than his math skills. They were his significant nuisances. Not good enough to make him famous, but bothersome enough to keep him from being able to concentrate on a lengthy math proof. (That was the theory and I still like it. I have no idea if it has now been declared bullshit.) There Scott would be, working like Paul Bunyan in a forest, swacking fractions and strangling logarithms. When to his sensitive ear would appear, but the tinkling and ringing of eight tiny birdsongs, dear. Just when he needed to invert the decimal, he multiplied it by itself.

What has Scott’s life got to do with you, dear readers? (You know who the 3 of you are and so do I.) Well, the reason you and I are not on the “A” List anywhere is that we probably have these like incredibly potent other skills besides being great lovemakers, poets, writers or singers—like just when we are on the cusp, the lip, the thin edge of greatness, we are distracted by the remembered scent of a boyfriend from last summer, a girlfriend from 5th grade, a Shakespearean pun instead of a color wheel, the taste of fried Spam from 1944.

BOOM! As always happens, that great chord, idea, note, landscape, theorem, cancer pill, flies like a Hummingbird protecting a feeder against a persistent female.

I don’t know about you, but my life is drowning in “Look, a squirrel!” cries.

I have an excuse. I used to be a nuisance. Now I have one.

Be well. Are you wearing Chanel#5? Ooops.

The Mind Is A Terrible Thing

How Many ADHD Kids Does It Take To Screw In A Light bulb?
Answer: You wanta ride bikes?

I am not qualified to self diagnose on any level other than the fact that I tend towards the nuts end of the human spectrum. I have myriad fears that make sense to me but to no one else. I have survived a childhood which seemed to be based on life as a Hall of Mirrors wherein tragedy lurked everywhere…or, as I have quoted before, my father’s oft-repeated cry, “All hell is breaking loose, boys!” (My Mom used to regale us with tales of how her Uncle—who was younger than she was—was run over by a car going the wrong way on St. Charles Avenue right in front of Christ Cathedral.)

My dangerously fecund imagination has, however, made me rich and for that I am immensely grateful. Whenever one of our soap opera contract players required a tragedy dripping bathos, I was right there with an invention from my dark mind. (e.g., “How about she gets pregnant by both men the same night?” I sold that one to Procter and Gamble on The Guiding Light and they bought it but backed out after they let me go…chicken-shites.)

At any rate, I declare that I was/am ADHD before it was invented. I went off to kindergarten in 1945 and never looked back. Just everywhere else. Everything in front of me, behind me, to the sides of me was grist for my inquiring mind. I couldn’t multitask but I sure as hell could run off on tracks only visible to my greasy mind. In some ways it made me really smart, just unable to use what I had come up with. In other ways it made me my teachers’ greatest challenge and constant burr under their pedagogical saddles. If you think in metaphors, you are probably a pain in the ass to your friends as well and have started at least a dozen half-finished blogs.

I shall finally get to the point of these meanderings: Facebook, email, Google Chrome and You Tube have taken me from ADHD to MADHD..Mega Attention Hyperactivity Disorder. Whatever.

I have leaped from distracted to driven. Examples? I check my email and while checking my email get distracted by the little boxes that show up announcing that one of my sons “liked” what I had said on one of their FB posts. In the midst of going to FB to see if they also left words liking me, I hear a buzz from the iPhone at my elbow and check to see that it is an email announcement that the BBC has a special on series DVDs they want me to consider. I like loads of BBCA shows and so I need to know if COPPER is on the list. Nope. Back to my original quest. While finding the “like” from one of my sons, I see the little red dot on the upper left-hand corner of the whatchamacallit and grab the notation that a friend of 12 of my other Friends would like to be my Friend and so I accept him/her with magnanimity and then go to check to see how many Friends I have now.

Do you think my FB photo needs to be replaced? I am really bored with it after three days. I better check my iPhoto collection to see what I’d like to look at a hundred or so times a day. I choose one and send it up to my FB page and then move along to see my son’s posting about liking what I said because I am no longer cognizant of what he said that I reacted to. Ah, it was a photo of him and my grandson.

Do you think my download speed is slower than usual as I download the larger version of the photo? I do. I click on SpeedTest to check.

I am exhausted and you are bored.

The only good things I can say about the worsening of my original diagnosis are: a) This keeps me from going back to smoking cigars; b) It keeps my braincells and neurons firing 12 hours a day and 3) You wanta ride bikes?

Hey, FAB has a $600 Bugatti Espresso Maker that sits on your cup and looks gorgeous.

Good Times.