According to a neurologist my nephew, Mickey, has “diffuse damage to all areas of the brain.” It is the kind of thing that often happens when the umbilical cord is broken before birth or in severe cases of malnutrition.
We do not know how it happened. My sister adopted him when he was 22 months old. When she went to get him, his birth mother had left him at home alone. His baby bottle was half-full of curdled milk and there were green flies all over the nipple. A neighbor said a female friend of his mother often beat him all over his head, so part of his problem could have been physical abuse.
Maybe you, too, have noticed that people with mental limitations often have an extra supply of some kind of soul power. Call it ESP or intuition or whatever. Long ago I noticed that when Mickey doesn’t like someone you are wise to avoid him or her.
His father was killed in a truck wreck and at some point he started calling me “Dada.” To be called such an affectionate name by a person so full of love is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
One of our favorite things is to do a takeoff on the TV show, “Face The Press.” We call it “Face This Big Awful Stinking Mess.” We always laugh until be are both silly. I ask him his opinion on the big issues and news personalities of the day. It might interest you to know some of his opinions:
On Bill Clinton: “Man he goofed up. Very embarrassing.”
On George W. Bush: “He ain’t right, Man.”
On Osama bin Laden: “He’s got a very serious gourd problem.”
One of my favorite responses from him came one day when we were talking about how many people have problems. I said, “What do you tell someone who comes to you with problems?”
He said, “The first thing I do is tell them to not tell me their problems. When they take a problem from their gourd and put it in mine, it doubles its power.”
I said, “Now we both know that people are going to tell us their problem even if it does double the power of it. So what kind of advice do you give them when they insist on telling you?”
He said, “I give them Maxwell’s Problem Solver. I tell them to do what makes them look good.”
That made sense to me. We all feel better when we take a shower and gild the lily. A new haircut or hairdo and any kind of new clothes will make our problems seem smaller.
Then he said, “I tell them to do what makes them feel good.”
Just a few nights ago I was flickering like a street light right before it blows out. I ate a whole Hershey bar with almonds and all my tensions faded like fog in the early morning sunlight.
He went on: “Then I tell them to think of something to make their day a little brighter.”
The key word here is “little.” Sometimes the smallest positive thought can get you up and running.
His final point was, “Ask yourself what you can do to move forward.”
Once again his ball peen came down squarely on the head of the nail. No matter how good we look and feel, the time comes to us to move out and do something specific.
The last time I was depressed I took a friend to a late night breakfast for some Waffle House counseling. He said, “You are in limbo. One way or the other, you must make a decision.” I did and the next day my blood pressure had dropped 20 points.
I could have saved myself the cost of that breakfast by just reading Maxwell’s Problem Solver.
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