As I have mentioned previously folks with ADHD are often an impulsive bunch. We buy stuff on a whim without thinking if it fits within our budget. We commit ourselves to task without taking a moment to reflect on how much time and effort it will require of us to see the commitment through. We also have a tendency of blurting out things that most people would consider inappropriate. Like the telling of a rather crude joke at a respectable dinner party or making an insensitive comment without stopping to think how the recipient of said comment might feel about it. So as you can see we aren’t the best decision makers. This lack of a personal firewall also make it easier for folks like me to share these very personal stories with the rest of you without really giving it a second thought. It is only once we have opened our big fat mouths do we kick ourselves in the ass for doing so in the first place. But by then the damage is done and we are left wishing that a black hole would suddenly develop over our heads and suck us through it’s singularity. Maybe if we are lucky the black hole will transport us into alternate dimension where almost everyone has ADHD and the ones that aren’t making a complete ass of themselves on a regular basis are the ones considered to have a mental disorder.
I remember there was this one time when I was about 7 years old. My mom, younger brother, and I were staying with my Aunt and her family at her house in Puerto Rico. About 100 feet from where we were staying was the little shack that my mother and her 3 older siblings grew up in with my grandmother. My tio (uncle) Cano was actually staying in the shack at the time. So I would go and walk on over from my aunts house to the shack to pay my uncle regular visits. Tio Cano was a pretty cool laid back fella. Often times I would walk over only to find him laying down on a hammock inside the shack picking the strings on his favorite Spanish guitar. I would often ask him to play a song and he would humor me with a few tunes that sounded ancient to my young ears. I also liked going over to pay Tio Cano regular visits because he would actually rough house with me just like my dad would when I was living in Brooklyn. I guessed I missed getting roughed up a bit. My mom and aunt would get a bit upset when they saw me wrestling with my uncle that way. They felt I was being disrespectful to my uncle for fighting back. Plus I’m sure there was the added fear of me falling down and breaking something. But I was a young boy and playing rough is what I loved to do.
Then one day I go and pay my uncle a visit. I found him laying on the hammock where he always seemed to be. Only that this time he was sound asleep. Now every time we roughed house he got the better of me. After all I was only 7 and he was a good 40 years older than me. But seeing that he was off in dreamland made me realize that for once I had the upper hand on him. I made up my mind that I was gonna get him back for always wiping the floor with me all those other times. So I quietly made my way into the shack and walk over to the makeshift kitchen area. I spotted a long piece of paper towel, grabbed it, took it to the stove, and lit it on fire. I then rushed over to my unsuspecting uncle and placed the lit up piece of paper right on his chest.
Now I don’t know if he awoke due to the pain of having a nice size flame burning through his t-shirt or if it was my hysterical giggling that did the job but either way i’m sure that the last thing he expected to see when he woke that day was his chest to be on fire. Naturally the man was so startled by the flames that he tried to leap out of the hammock but the sudden move caused the hammock to flip over; tossing my poor uncle on the ground with a large heavy thud. It was safe to say that I just about saw all I needed to see and took off like a tubby Usain Bolt straight to the relative safety of my Aunts abode.
I come through the door and ran past my mom at full sprint. I immediately barricaded myself in the bedroom we were staying at. My mom didn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that I had just finished running away from something I shouldn’t have done. So she immediately starts to yell out “Tomasito get your ass back here? What did you do?” I did what every kid does when he finds himself in a tight spot; I feigned complete ignorance. I shouted through the door “Nothing ma! I swear.” Of course as soon as I said that I could hear my uncle cursing my name every which way he knew how as he made his way from the shack over to my aunts house. I was scared. I knew I was about to get the ass whooping of my short life. Remember this is the mid 80’s. It was still socially acceptable to beat your kid within an inch of his or her life if they did anything that brought embarrassment upon the parents. I felt so stupid for doing it. What the hell was I thinking. I mean yes I was rather young but most kids at that age still know that it is not a good idea to lite their uncles on fire. What exactly happened to me after that I can’t quite recall. I know my mom gave me a good whooping once she got her hands on me. I also recall my uncle feeling bad for me and telling my mom that I had suffered enough. But after that it all becomes rather hazy. My best guess is that I just passed out from major blood loss suffered at the hands of my mother. That last part was a joke America.
My brain consistently fails to properly evaluate the potential consequences of my actions. I have spent $100 on a cheap samurai sword bought at an Asian shop at the North Riverside Mall just because I had the cash in my wallet. Or wasted $150 for a $75 electric guitar at Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI. I have intentionally shattered perfectly good working phones just because I didn’t have a legitimate excuse to buy a new one. I can safely say that I have tossed out thousands of my hard earned dollars purely on impulse buys. And even when I had some inclination that buying something wasn’t in my best interest I could not force myself to stop thinking about it until I finally caved in and bought it. Throwing fireballs at sleeping people and spending money isn’t the only way I have demonstrated poor judgment. My big fat mouth has gotten me in plenty of hot water before by either speaking out of turn or just saying something completely inappropriate. The thing is that I don’t ever mean to open my mouth I just sometimes blurt things out before I get a chance to process whether or not it is wise thing for me to do. Sometimes what I say leads to a good laugh amongst friends but every now I will say something that just ends in an uncomfortable silence; and it makes me wish that the earth would split open and swallow me whole. It’s not easy dealing with the impulsive aspects of my nature. And it has cost me more headaches and dollars than I care to remember at this time. But I am getting better at policing myself. Plus the wifey is around to make my life a living hell if I get out of line so that serves as a pretty big incentive to stay disciplined. I just wish I didn’t have to exert so much energy just to do the right thing.