Executive Dysfunction: He could never find a pencil or pen
When my son was younger – and back in the days when we didn’t have a diagnosis called “Executive Dysfunction” – I used to refer to him as the “absent-minded professor” or more often, as just “terminally disorganized.” One of his major challenges as a student was that he never seemed to have a pencil or pen in school.
Each night I would dutifully check to ensure that he had pencils and pens in his book bag. I’d even send in extra boxes of pens and pencils for him to leave in school. But each day, he’d wind up asking his teachers or classmates for a pen because he could never find his.
Somewhere there was a black hole in the universe where all his pens were going.
By high school, I was regretting not having bought stock in Bic. He still couldn’t seem to hang on to a pen, except, strangely, he’d appear at my dinner table with a pen behind his ear. Of course, I had to enforce the “No pens behind your ears and you must wear a shirt” rules, but it was strange that the only time I could see him and a pen in the same vicinity was at dinner time.
My son was not indifferent to his no-pen-handy plight. Indeed, one day, determined to make it to at least one class with a pen, he tied a pen to his belt loop and put the pen in his jeans pocket. He only had to walk down one hallway, make a right, and he’d be at his next class. With hope and determination to guide him, he set out to his next class.
That’s when he got stopped by a building administrator who reminded him of some “nothing tied to your belt rule.” Really? A “nothing tied to your belt” rule? My son pleaded with the administrator to let him get to his next class with the pen tied to his belt. ”I only have to go to the end of this hallway, turn right, and then my class is right there,” he pleaded.
But the administrator wouldn’t budge on the rule and my son, being a respectful student, untied the string from his belt loop, muttering to himself, “I’m doomed. Doomed.”
Sure enough, when he got to his class, he reached into his pocket….
… and felt the hole in his pocket.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Ten years later, when he was really cleaning out his bedroom to get ready to re-paint, that “terminally disorganized” kid really sorted and packed everything in his room. And as I sat in my office, I heard a quiet voice say, “Mom, I think you’re going to want to see this.” Here’s what he showed me:
I was very excited by this, of course. I immediately called the National Academy of Science:
“I have some good news and some bad news,” I told them.
“The good news is that I now have conclusive proof as to the existence of a black hole in the universe for pens.”
“The bad news is that the black hole seems to be on the third floor of my house.”
So if your child can’t hang on to a pen or pencil, don’t despair. Those pens and pencils may be residing in my home. Some day, if you’re lucky, they’ll come back to you.
Carousel image credit: Scott Rothstein, Dreamstime.