This post is about some of the effects of Attention Deficit Disorder. A few sentences first to explain what that is.
First, it is not really a disorder, and no one blessed with the condition has any shortage of ability to pay attention. The main effect is that one is incapable of being bored. If one gets bored enough, one loses consciousness. That’s why often kids with the condition seem hyper. Movement creates interest, it’s as simple as that.
Second, one of the major effects on the blessed recipient is that the child misses out on a lot of social cues. For instance, they might miss the subtleties of how to kid, and actually insult friends without meaning to. Also, the child may well miss some deeply ingrained and important societal constructs. Remember these two things as you read this.*
Third, someone blessed with ADD can usually tell when they’re being lied to.
As you may have guessed, I am so blessed. I had teachers in elementary school who were very frustrated with me. One kept sending home nasty notes, to no avail. Occasionally I was asked why, since my test scores showed that I was smart, did I not do better in school. The first time, and only the first time, I told the truth: school was boring. Somehow, the faculty and administration were not impressed with my honesty on that point. But it is time to move to my main point.
My main point is that I missed a lot of subtle, unspoken socialization. I did have trouble in school resulting from not knowing the proper way to “praise insult” a friend. But there is one really big part of general American socialization that I completely missed out on. That is, the idea that some people are more equal than others. I have felt, and been grateful for, what is now being called White Privilege for almost my entire life. Sheesh, would I hate to be a minority. I even got to take advantage of a whole boatload of White Privilege without asking for it! I did not ask because, from school days to now, the people one asked for even more, extra-special privileges, are people who, basically, I tend to despise. Yes, folks, I hate seeing a succession of pasty, old, white dudes in charge of the country. (Okay, one of them is now orange, but it’s the same difference.) I’ve never liked the pasty old dudes in charge of, well, anything. Churches, clubs, government organizations, anything. The first group of such dudes, who, honestly, I admire in many respects, set up a system of hypocritical lies right in the founding documents of this country. Sure, all free white men are created equal, and endowed by their creator, etc. But nobody else is! The roots of racism lie in those men having to justify to themselves holding other groups (anyone not one of them, initially) in slavery, exile, inferior status, second-class citizenship. Over centuries, the definition of “whole person” got expanded by adding other ethnic groups (slowly, don’t want to rock any boats here) and, very reluctantly, to women, but the jury’s not totally back in yet on that one. Anyone else, well, fuck ’em and the horse they rode in on, dontcha know?
And I did not get that. I knew that “Coloreds,” as known in the 50s were denied certain rights, but I couldn’t see why. It was obvious that John Law was using Marijuana to keep a thumb on the Mexican migrants who picked produce outside of town, but I couldn’t see why. When, at nineteen, I first smoked the stuff myself, I really couldn’t see why, but that’s probably for another post. The net effect of ADD for me, then, was being able to see American society more for what it is than for what my teachers taught me that it was. It’s not bad in design. In fact, rather than White Privilege, we should extend American Privilege to anyone born here or naturalized, at the very least. Nothing wrong with young people getting help when they need it, after all. And some people are a lot happier governing than most of us would be, so I’m okay with them grooming their own. But, their own has to be an open group based on inclination and talent, not on being lucky enough to be born an Old Pasty White Dude.
And, for the record, I’m a genuine White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. William Powell was living in Philadelphia in 1729. In 1730 he married a girl from Ocean City. Twelve of their sons (!) fought in the revolution. In particular, one Phillip, who fought with a Connecticut regiment, and who received a nice letter of recommendation from his CO. My great-grandfather Andrew Powell fought for the Union with the 123rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and got himself shot in the ass in triplicate for his trouble. He limped for the rest of his life. He was father to my grandmother Bertha Powell, who gave birth to my mother, who, well, you know. So, I have old-time American Cred, and I’m sick and tired of the cretins who think immigrants are the ruination of America. If you think that, you’re deluding yourself. I know this because I can see our society without the subtle prejudices that most of us soak up without knowing we’re doing it. Thanks to the blessings of ADD.
By the Way, I’m pretty sure that an army of medical professionals and scientists knows more about epidemiology and diseases than a gaggle of pasty white dudes in the white house. Again I say, Sheesh!
- Worried about your child having ADD? Here’s a quick test. Give them unlimited access to Mountain Dew for an afternoon. If they have any form of ADD, they will have a calm and happy day. (Sugar does not make a child hyper, that is a total myth. If anything, it may make them sleepy.) If your child is a third-grade boy, and they do not have ADD, they will not be calmed by the caffeine. What you have is a third-grade boy.