By Ben Falik

My Metropolitan Mishpacha,

It has been too long. How’s life treating you? I know — such a winter we had. You look great … and your (grand)kids are getting so big! What’s that? Don’t worry, things will get back to “normal” post-Pesach.

Me? I’ve had a minivantastic adventure in Corporate America™ and would like to take this opportunity to thank some Motor Citizens:

  • Lesley Slavitt, who recruited, mentored and didn’t judge me for ordering sushi in Kokomo, Ind.
  • Christine Estereicher and Ron Stallworth, who showed me the sometimes-knotty ropes of External Affairs.
  • Bill Hall, Mary Gauthier and the Sustainability Team’s work to both track and promote the company’s stewardship efforts.
  • The Bigs(!) who piloted our Big Brothers Big Sisters pilot with Pontiac’s Herrington Elementary.
  • The 2,200 employees who volunteered through the United Way of Greater Toledo in the six weeks leading up to the launch of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.
  • Disaster Relief at Work and all the colleagues who mobilized following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
  • Everyone who contributed time and talent to being “an engine for change” through the 480 community partners and 70,000 hours of service FCA US LLC supported last year.

In August, I was diagnosed with ADHD. This may come as no surprise to anyone who has worked with me or waved to me from across the street. Still, it took some self-work — not courage; I’ve seen courage, and this is not to be confused with courage — to seek treatment. “Well, I’ve made it this far,” I would tell myself, though the voice in my head started sounding like Homer Simpson saying, “I paid my taxes over a year ago.”

I had my coping mechanisms, like writing my JN columns late at night when I could resist the buzzes, beeps, barks, baking, brainstorming, birdwatching and other bleeps that always seemed to beckon me mid-alliteration. But the more I reflected on my behavior, getting things done was as much a matter of co-workers and compatriots coping with my WHAMO (Whac-A-Mole Modus Operandi, in case the acronym isn’t obvious).

T-shirt reading "Hey! I have Attention Deficit Bike Ride!"I had my anxieties about whether medication would make me lose some of the spark in my strike-anywhere-match approach to creativity and community. Or if I’d see myself differently. After all, one of the offerings from Ben’s Ironic Iron-on T-shirt Factory, circa 2005, was “Hey, I have Attention Deficit Bike Ride!” Hilarious? Perhaps. But questionable, in hindsight, for more than the comic sans font, five shades of blue and attempt to fashion a rudimentary bicycle out of the letters d and e.

And, sure, I got up from writing this just now to get out an Allen wrench to reattach the handle that kept falling off the door to the kids’ playroom where they won’t turn the volume down on some forgettable but tempting non-Pixar CGI movie, and I haven’t started cooking the Za’atar-Spiced Barramundi with Farro-Zucchini Salad and Pink Lemon Yogurt Sauce for dinner yet …

But the Allen wrenches were where I put them back last time and not under the spatulas and I did not open Wikipedia to learn who Allen was. All dinner ingredients and the recipe are assembled, with a little help from Blue Apron.

Instead, side effects of treating — rather than retreating from — the deficiency of naturally occurring dopamine in my limbic system include:

  • Thinking, speaking and writing in sentences, when applicable, instead of an intoxicating cocktail of fragments, run-ons and animal sounds. Still love bullet points; moo.
  • Burning less food. And getting around to replacing the smoke detectors, all the same.
  • Dropping my phone infrequently. Not because my grip or reflexes have improved, but because I can usually resist the urge to take out my phone on roller coasters and the like.
  • Folded clothes. Still don’t like putting them in drawers — seems unkind to the clothes after all they’ve been through.
  • Only cracking my knuckles around people I know it will bother.
  • Remembering to take my medicine and not the dog’s, though this can be difficult first thing in the morning prior to taking my medicine (or the dog’s).
  • All but giving up Facebook. If you are reading this via Facebook, thank you. Now consider logging off and going for a bike ride.

Till next time,


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P.S. Allen Keys were patented by William G. Allen in 1910, 90 years before Alan Keyes’ second campaign for president and Alicia Keys’ first album, but 15 years after William G. Morgan invented volleyball.