Friday, April 21, 2006

AD/HD: I'm Not Stupid. I Just Act That Way.

This week I'm trying to find the humor in being me. To outside observers there is a lot to laugh about, but on the inside I'm a wee bit tired of my AD/HD-ness. Laughter can come reluctantly when I feel like a dope. Of course, there's a lot about AD/HD I absolutely love, like the boundless energy, the wild creativity, the absentmindedness. Well, ok, I don't really like that one, but I've learned to live with it. What I haven't learned to live with are the stupid mistakes, or should I say "learned to like" because I live with them whether I like them or not. In the blink of an eye I can make a mistake so ginormous I'll be feeling the hurt for weeks. Overcoming AD/HD with humor becomes very difficult in those moments.

Case No. 1: Phonebook Forgetfulness
Every time I needed to call the neurologist I couldn't remember his phone number. I'd have to look his number up via Google because I couldn't find it in my yellow pages. So two months ago I finally decided enough was enough. Why hadn't I added this guy's phone number into my address book? I fired up my PDA to add his number and then had this sinking feeling that I should look his number up there first. Voilá! There it was. How long had his number been in my PDA? All those times looking his phone number up the hard way and I had it all the time right where it was supposed to be.

Verdict: "Roll your eyes" stupid, and easy to laugh off.

Case No. 2: Whoopsies
A few months back I was doing some tinkering around Gmail preferences and accidently deleted my main Gmail address. I'm not sure what I thought I was doing, but there I was feeling hot embarrassment again. This email address happened to be the one I used to manage my web domain and Gmail wouldn't let me recreate it. What a great time to forget my domain password, too. Apparently, I chose a new password so secure even I can't crack it. To make changes I have to prove to the registrar that I'm the actual owner by means of faxes, hair samples, dental records, and personal affidavits of authenticity by the nurses who helped change my first diapers. All for want of a brain with some impulse control.

Verdict: Investigation ongoing with undiscovered repercussions. Potentially most stupid mistake and terribly embarrassing when talking to tech support.

Case No. 3: Maybe They Won't Notice?
I jot down notes for future columns and post date them all the time to work on later, but last Christmas I absentmindedly published a few of them. About ten minutes later I discovered my mistake and quickly unpublished them. Two months later I was playing around with and discovered to my horror that Google had indexed my goofs, especially one in particular. It went a little like this:
Gerry told me about Rex and Brandon and how useless they are. How badly they handle their AD/HD. How badly their AD/HD rules their lives. How they can't hold a job...

I flushed red with embarrassment and felt as if my hair was on fire. The little snippet cut off my punch line: "I've NEVER had problems like that. Right." It wasn't clear at all that I was setting up a joke - part of my self-deprecating humor. I exaggerate a bit and paint myself as a numbskull for laughs. In this case, I didn't think the joke was very funny. Involving other people in the gag felt mean spirited and gossipy. So I deleted the entry never realizing it had lived on.
For two months afterwards I worried that Rex or Brandon might take a little stroll in Google's Blogsearch and find my gaffe. I finally managed to get Google to remove the entries, but it was nails and teeth until then.

Verdict: Like being boiled alive in a vat of greasy embarrassment.

When an otherwise intelligent person does something randomly stupid, it's hard for the ego not to take a hit. However, in my experience self-recrimination only feeds low self-esteem which spawns more mistakes. Therefore, I am proud to say I have learned to accept bloopers in my life as par for the course. I don't blow them off as insignificant, but neither do I allow myself to slip into self-loathing over them. They simply add character and the perfect cure for boredom. So that time when I slipped into work after hours to check on some source material then slipped back out but left the store unlocked was nothing more than a harmless display of AD/HD charm. Sure, I was fired and permanently destroyed a friendship, but I was building character. And just as soon as I straighten out my internet domain mess I'll probably laugh at that blunder, too, providing I actually get to straighten it out. I have faith, however. With all the experience I have in making stupid mistakes this is just another goofy bullet to dodge. I'll just have to live with the pound of flesh it takes as it strafes by.