Saturday, May 1, 2010


I have friends with various disorders that genuinely seem to add to their charm and mystique. For instance, my one friend has Developmental Topographical Disorientation. It's where you loose your sense of direction and often have trouble finding your way home, similar to another friend with Dyspraxia. The two of them together couldn't find their way out of a paper bag. But they are kind and intelligent people who have the good fortune of being diagnosed, therefore their quirks are not only immediately forgiven and understood by all who know them, but offers of assistance are constantly proffered. They'll often call and say they're lost and need help finding their way home. And everyone, including me, is happy to come to their rescue because we understand they have a disability and are not simply making a nuisance of themselves.

Another dyslexic friend is always joking about stop signs, asking why they are always advertising "Pots" at almost every intersection. See, he's learned to find the humor in his disability and turn it into something very charming.

Still another friend is color blind, and while driving, he'll ask, in an excited tone while approaching an intersection, "What color is the light?!" At first, when the light was red, I responded in a panic until he confessed that he really knew the signals by their position on the pole. So the joke was on me.

It got me thinking it was about time to discover my very own disability, and when it's revealed, maybe people would cut me a little slack and, at the very least, offer some understanding. So I asked a friend, Maureen Williams, who has an associates degree in psychology from Wilbur Wright Community College, to help me with a diagnosis. Maureen wanted to get into law, but a couple of shoplifting convictions prevented her from doing so (she likes the expensive cosmetics). She currently works in the appliance section at Bob's Big Store but says she keeps up with her field through a subscription to Psychology Today which she professes to read from cover to cover.

She asked me to write a list of the things that bother me the most, so I gave her thirty-seven things, which she said was too many (really, I had lots more as there are many things that bother me). At her insistence, it was narrowed to five. Here's the five she had to work with:

-Dogs that aren't happy to see me.
-The lack of media coverage of badminton.
-Vending machines that don't offer a simple comb.
-Gum that doesn't taste like berries.
-Simon without Garfunkel.

After studying my responses, she looked me straight in the eye and said that "jackass" is not really a medical disorder, and I should search elsewhere for an answer in my quest for a diagnosis. I didn't think that was very professional, and my guess is that Maureen is better with appliances than she is with people. I wish her well, but something tells me I shouldn't have opened up to her the way I did. Now, I'll be hesitant to shop at Bob's for my next stove or refrigerator, knowing Maureen will be there, reveling in her discretionary opinions.