The older I get, the more I seem to be enjoying stillness.
Stillness was not part of our upbringing.
We seldom saw our parents sit in chairs unless it was Sunday supper.
We were raised with doing, not being, and if we weren’t doing, we had better be being on our way to do so.
Stillness was not included in our family genes.
Our family never went to the beach.
We never went on a picnic.
We were always going somewhere, but seldom doing anything.
I have never been one for card games, puzzles, or model building.
Any seated activity, however slight, has always been a struggle for me.
I’ve been eating on the run ever since I saw my first playground.
Do they still have monkey bars?
Now monkey bars are probably a health food.
Despite this innate desire to move around, these recent dark gray days of winter have enveloped my mind and body to a point of sedentary departure.
I am not sure whether it was the last power outage or the most recent snowstorm that caused me to actually sit in a chair that was not in front of a desk.
Not having anything to read but one of my grade school Hardy Boy books, and feeling somewhat uncomfortable having sat still for almost a minute, I decided to head to the Freeland Library to pick up something new and exciting.
Now that I am older I try not to read the spines of books with my head canted sideways like Horatio Caine on “CSI: Miami.” Our local libraries in the Sno-Isle system do a magnificent job displaying new and old books in inviting ways so we straight-necked readers can find a book to befriend.
And then, there it was, the book on the shelf that first spoke to me.
I had the same problem as a new boy in school. Always waiting for someone or something to speak to me.
The title of the book that spoke to me even though it was not a talking book is “Answers To Distraction,” jointly written by Dr. Edward Hallowell and Dr. John Ratey. These doctors, fresh from the success of their bestseller, “Driven to Distraction,” offer in their sequel, answers to the most frequently asked questions about attention deficit disorder, or ADD.
As a student of Classics Illustrated comics, which summarized in visual form the great works like “Ivanhoe,” “Tale of Two Cities” and others, I know to read the last part of any book before deciding to check it out.
At the back of “Answers to Distraction” in Appendix I, the authors offer 50 tips on the management of ADD.
Number 16 caught my eye: “When it comes to paperwork, use the principle of O.H.I.O: Only handle it once.”
I almost screamed aloud, but realized I was standing still in a library.
We lived there for nine years and my brother, a paperboy for the Columbus Dispatch, only handled each paper once.
Maybe my genetic fear of ADD was unfounded.
Then I saw tip Number 20: “Make deadlines. Deadlines help you focus.”
Deadlines? Oh no, that sounds too much like majoring in political science in college.
Can you say “term paper”?
As the authors point out, Samuel Johnson said it best: “Nothing focuses the mind so wonderfully as the knowledge that a man is to be hanged in a fortnight.”
I better get this column to my editor before he starts practicing his slip knot.