By Wayne Litke
Last week, a friend made an observation that I thought was rather absurd. After reading my column, this particularly opinionated person said I must have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That judgment was made because I seldom stick to one subject when I write a weekly column and that violates a cardinal rule in the editorial world. Random thoughts and ideas such as the 1891 patent for a toilet paper holder that was included in last week’s Wayne’s World are an abuse of the literary privilege that I am afforded.
All I can say in my defense is that’s how my mind and my world works. If a train of thought runs out or is derailed by another idea before I finish writing, then I simply go with it. It appears that I never outgrew my rebellious nature as an adult and now readers are subject to disjointed bits of information and opinions in a way that some people believe is not appropriate. While that sentiment was never stated, it was implied and my feelings were hurt (again). Therefore, I do what all guys do in such a situation – I vent and I share and then I feel better until another criticism is directed my way.
I find it interesting that in an age when incomplete sentences are tolerated and sentences begin with the word ‘And’ or ‘Because’, the idea that having more than one single concept or focus in a column is an evil act that somehow confuses or tricks readers. I know for a while that I am radical in the way that a photograph or drawing will occasionally be included my dialogue and for that I do not apologize. The way I see it, I am actually paraphrasing because a photo is worth a thousand words, at least that is what we have all been told. It was likely a photographer and not a writer who coined that phrase.
In any event, the fact that I was unofficially diagnosed with ADHD caused me grief and mental anguish that tormented me all week. I woke up about 2 a.m. yesterday and couldn’t get back to sleep and I am sure it’s because the idea of having attention and hyperactivity issues is weighing heavily upon me. In fact, that subject reminds me of my childhood and early elementary school experiences that I do not want to share at this moment – the pain is too great and my emotional scars have not healed (lol). In any case, I will continue to pen my column the way I want because it is my space – it’s my own little world.
However, the hurtful comment that almost caused a mid-life crisis served as a catalyst to read a recent newspaper article and hypothesis that the Internet may be linked to ADHD. The purveyor of the idea, University of Chicago psychologist Michael Pietrus, says the huge amount of information and options the Internet provides is a source of constant distractions (if we allow it). Furthermore, the instant gratification that results when people search and easily find their subject matter allows and almost encourages users to become distracted. The Internet offers a seemingly endless supply of options for people to pursue, and a search on one specific subject can easily end up in the exploration of many other avenues. The article suggests the way humans interact with the Internet is not causing ADHD, but it may be creating symptoms of the syndrome. It allows a person’s focus to be quickly and easily diverted as the user actively searches out multiple sites – kind of like Christmas shopping that escalates out of control. It feels exhilarating and fun at the time, but then the credit card bills start arriving and there is a price to pay.
When it comes to ADHD, there are a few non-medication approaches that can be taken in my opinion. Diet and avoiding certain additives can be helpful, as well as training a child when they are young, but that can take a lot of patience and time – it’s not an immediate fix. Also sports can be helpful to combat it as youths learn to focus and develop skills. Exercise that accompanies a sport is also helpful since it rejuvenates the body and mind and allows a person to unwind.
I was reminded of the merits of sports and physical exercise while watching the 2015 Filipino-Canadian International Basketball (FCBI)championship on Sunday. The goodwill game pitted Maple Creek residents against their friends and neighbours in a fundraiser for Kenyan school children. The event had half-time entertainment and also provided a great opportunity to visit and enjoy beef on a bun compliments of the Commercial Hotel. I enjoyed it so much that I hope the FCIB championship becomes an annual event like the Battle of the Little-Big Puck or the more informal Turkey Bowl.
Before closing, I have to make it clear that if I was on Facebook, I would definitely unfriend the person (now my former friend) who suggested I was suffering from ADHD. This column proves I was incorrectly labeled (although writing it took me several attempts and considerable Internet research to complete it).