Thursday, August 30, 2012

You can prevent my AADS

I’ve been accused of not paying attention more than once in my life. By teachers, parents, siblings, girlfriends, friends who are girls, just plain friends, etc., who say I’m the poster child for Adult Attention Deficit Syndrome. I think it’s time to explain this once and for all: If I’m not paying attention, it’s because you’re not being interesting. If you’d step up your game, I’d be with you more.

Oh, all right, possibly a tiny part of the blame rests with me as it is well-known that I have the boredom threshold of a gnat on triple espresso. This started back in elementary school. We’d get our new textbooks, and while the teacher droned and droned on about something uninteresting like fire safety or the cafeteria meal plans or what to do in the event of nuclear attack, I’d be reading the entire book. I did this with every textbook (except math because it’s evil) and so when the teacher would cover the book during the school year –- taking a whole week per chapter –- I was bored out of my ever loving mind.

One of the worse things to happen in those classes was when she’d make one of my classmates stand and read aloud. Many were excellent readers, but there were always those poor souls who stumbled over every word and would take the whole hour to read a page. At first, you rooted for them, mentally urging them on, and agonizing over their every misstep. But eventually you found yourself groaning when the teacher called on them. Then it became obvious that the teacher – under the guise of helping a slow student – was actually tormenting said student and the fact she was also tormenting the rest of the class was just a happy bonus.

Today I can’t hear someone read aloud without flashing back to Mrs. Butcher’s third grade class where I actually made myself throw up by sticking a pencil down my throat to escape a particularly boring reading session. (By the way, this worked, although I don’t recommend it except in emergencies such as staff meetings and weddings. Sorry, Mrs. Butcher, but now you know the truth. Well, since you don’t read my blog, and it’s unlikely anyone will tell you about it, never mind.)

School was filled with moments like that. I endured boring classes that gave me a real perception of eternity. Of course, school also gave me moments of bone-chilling terror as the school bullies attempted to insert my soft body into a hard locker, a rather painful geometry problem they never solved to my satisfaction. (And people wonder why I don’t attend class reunions without being armed. And legged, too. No, I don’t know what “legged” means, either, but it amuses me, and I think we’re all agreed that keeping me amused is safer for everyone. At least my neighbors believe this.)

At least my need to escape boredom led me to many interesting things: books, girls, chemistry, girls, rockets, girls, explosives you can make in your bathtub, girls, cleaners that will remove black and green rings from your tub, girls, plumbing problems caused by cleaners and explosives mixing in uncontrolled conditions, and, of course, theoretical dark matter physics. Oh, girls, too.

Anyway, I think you will find it’s easy to keep my attention if you’ll discuss something interesting (like, for instance, my greatness) or give me things (like cash or negotiable stocks and/or bonds; I’m not picky). Once you do this, you will have my undivided attention unless I see something shiny or heard an unexpected noise or ... Look, a squirrel!

Copyright 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. No copying without express written permission from the author and publisher. Excerpted from Return of the Floozy.

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