My Learning Disability

Bloggified by Jake on Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm not sure if this is a legitimate condition that can be diagnosed, but my entire life I've had a miswiring in my brain that causes me to occasionally confuse two similar things for each other, even though I know they are different. It's kind of like misfiling something and knowing you're pulling out the Peterson file even though it's in the Paulson folder. "Ah, here's the Paulson file--um, I mean Peterson..."

There's no reason I can think of why it happens, especially since it happens pretty randomly. For example, when I read an article about baseball player Grady Sizemore, I always think of former baseball manager Grady Little. I'll read "Grady Sizemore is batting .254 this season," and think, "What? That has to be a typo. He's an old man who--oh, Sizemore is the player. Right..." Every time. Yet I never confuse Alex Rodriguez with Alex Gonzalez or Randy Johnson with Randy Wolf or Ken Griffey Jr. with Ken Griffey Sr.

My entire life I've had trouble with left and right. I know which way to turn, but if I'm riding with someone and have to give them directions I will give them the wrong direction 95% of the time unless I stop and consciously note it in my mind. If you're ever in the car with me, you'll notice I'll pause before I say left or right and it's because I'm sorting out the correct word. "Okay, then when you pass the bus stop up here it's on the... (okay, Jake, it the one where you don't have to cut across oncoming traffic so that's... right? Yeah, that's the one) right."

The other one that's plagued me most of my life is six and ten. For no logical reason whatsoever, I will transpose the two numbers, especially when telling time. "Okay, then I guess I'll meet you at the movie theater at six."

"What? For a midnight show? I know you wanted to grab something to eat first, but are you really planning to be there six hours early?"

My reflex reply when my mistake is pointed out (because I never catch it myself) is "Oh, you know what I meant."

The most recent time I said this, I was suddenly reminded of a long-running family joke about the fact that my mother can't tell the difference between Howard Hesseman and Martin Mull. If you ask her and she thinks about it, she can tell you which was on "WKRP in Cincinnati" or if you showed her two pictures she could differentiate, but catch her off guard and you can probably get her to talk about Martin Mull's guest appearance on "Psyche" last season.

Could she have the same problem with Howard Hesseman and Martin Mull that I have with six and ten? Is this common among everyone or is this some kind of genetic defect I've inherited? And why is it she gets to skate through life only dealing with the occasional embarrassment of forgetting who is Dr. Johnny Fever and who is Gene Parmasen while I run the risk of getting people into accidents any time I tell them how to get anywhere?

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