December 21st, 2005

158IgnoreConsensusReality

Flunk Math, Save a Life

I used to hate my ADD. I can't pay attention, I can't endure anything boring. I bought the belief that ADD was a lack of discipline, and even though it's a chemical problem with no cure, it's still somehow my fault. Ironies like that are part of being human.

And then I caught the baby.

Actually, I like to think that I didn't catch the baby, ADD caught the baby. I was just along for the ride. I don't take the blame for kicking the old lady in church because I wasn't paying attention to where my legs were going. I don't take credit for catching the baby .

It's the early 1990's. I'm in front of a store in the no man's land in Virginia between Arlington and Alexandria. I don't remember if I was walking into the store or not. The next thing I notice is the baby in my hands. My first thought is, "Oh, I'm in trouble now. How am I gonna explain this?" Because the brain spends a lot of time inventing rational excuses so that we can explain that what we did without thinking was actually the result of logical thought. The brain's constantly catching up to the heart and the guts.

The mother breathes really loudly, reaches for her baby, I hand it over gratefully, glad that there's a mother on the scene. Thank God. I'm not prepared to raise a child, especially one that, for all I know, just dropped out of the sky. What if it's Jesus? I don't need that kind of responsibility.

I feel hands patting me on the back and people talking to me in pleasant tones. Later I was surprised, because I was angry at these bystanders. I got mad because everyone is still getting it wrong. I only want credit for that which I can control. I have no attention span and hypervigilance to the environment, and that's why I have no control over staring out the window or catching babies. There's no decision involved. Let's call it even.
158IgnoreConsensusReality

Thank you, cancer.

Here's how cancer helps you love people who don't love each other.

Person A is complaining about Person B, taking me to task for not resenting Person B.

I tell Person A, "Today's the winter solstice. I was just thinking about the summer solstice six months ago, when I went to Annapolis to bury an old friend of mine who died from brain cancer. I don't have cancer. I'm pretty sure you don't have cancer. What are you complaining about?"

End of discussion.

Thank you, cancer.