ADD and the Pointless Christmas Tree

I sat across the desk – the monstrous, authoritative, imposing desk – from the doctor who had just run a battery of does-he-have-ADD tests on my then 15 year-old son. “Yes, your son shows classic symptoms of ADD,” he said to my wife and I, and then he looked me in the eye, and asked, “Mr. Greenwald, were you ever diagnosed with having ADD?”

The answer is technically ‘no’. These days when I do happen to admit to being ‘borderline ADD’ my wife sweetly can be heard saying, “Borderline?”

I’ve coped all these years with whatever peculiar ways of processing I possess and so a diagnosis, formal or informal, doesn’t really mean much. I’ve never really felt impelled to delve deeply into how this might effect the way I function.

But then there was the incident of the Christmas tree.

A week or so ago, I walked into a large tent at a local Lowes with the intention of buying a tree to bring home for the family to decorate. I was able to navigate to the stack of trees labeled ‘7-8 feet’ without any problem. But then the problems started.

There were probably fifty trees to choose from. Then there were, it seemed 100. Then 1000. How could I choose the one perfect tree from that pile of 83,000 trees? The prospect of making a choice seemed so daunting and mentally overwhelming that I couldn’t handle it. I had to get out of that tent, which I did clutching the first tree I laid eyes on.

I can’t say that was ADD. I don’t know what it was. All I know is that the prospect of making a distinction among so many subtly different objects overwhelmed my poor little brain.

We ended up with a pointless tree. That is, there was no ‘point’ at the top on which to mount our tree-topping ornament. This was easily fixed with a piece of gray PVC pipe and a couple zip-strips. You can’t tell that our tree, like this post, lacks a point.

So, I’m satisfied. But next year Barb, not I, enters the evil tent.

5 thoughts on “ADD and the Pointless Christmas Tree

  1. Gus/Adri

    Did ADD exist in the medical diagnosis list in those days? I thought ADD was the diagnosis du jour, almost like a badge of honor. -ge

  2. Gail and Keith

    Oh, it is real. Ask the ADD person who must learn to live and function in a mostly non-ADD world. They travel to the beat of a different drummer. They're not wrong. Reminds me of that old hippie phrase from the 70's "what's normal?" G

  3. TulipGirl

    I know a grandparent who was dx'd in her 50s with ADHD. Even having the skills to cope and process, have the diagnosis meant a LOT. . . It helped make sense of many situations from growing up, including the complicated relationship with her father. So. . . sometimes there is a benefit to a diagnosis, even when a person is functioning fine. Though it seems neurotypical is the rarity these days, and various thinking / processing atypicalities are the norm.

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