Freudian Slips: The Notebook, A Numbers Game

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

July 12, 2007

The Notebook, A Numbers Game

On June 12, 2003, I watched my eight-year-old daughter pull books from our library shelves. Jenna turned to a group of crinkled spiral notebooks resting on a forgotten shelf above her head. The notebooks were in her wee hands before my mind could recall myself at her age.
Her ponytail swung wide. ”What are these notebooks, Daddy?”
I picture framed my daughter holding the old notebooks. I positioned her on my lap then told her a story dating back to my childhood. She listened intently. Jenna's inquiring mind was at the impressionable age when she started to acquire a sense of her father. I doubted whether she was prepared for the nugget I was about to share.
“You know that Daddy saves everything. Well, I used to write in those notebooks when I was your exact age. You know how your Daddy gets obsessed over certain tasks and projects. These notebooks represent the first tangible evidence of my obsessive nature.”
“What does tangible mean?”
“It means real proof. You see these are no ordinary notebooks. Open the notebook with the astronauts on the cover. Turn to the back page and tell me what you see.”
Jenna quietly sifted through the jaundiced pages housing thousands of numbers. She looked for purpose. I could not be sure if she found it.
Jenna whispered, “All of the pages are filled with numbers.”
I added, “Chronological numbers. One hundred and twenty six pages are filled with numbers. One summer, I wanted to see just how high I could count but once I began the task it was hard for me to stop. While other kids smeared across the pages of coloring books, I was busy recording numbers. I got to 18,704 before I could stop myself. I think I took up the game of baseball after that.”
Jenna flipped through the pages but stopped when she spotted dried blood. She looked up at her father and saw him in a different light. I double swallowed. This notebook had the x-ray capability of a personal diary under halogen lights.
I tried to bandage the open wound. “I can’t remember if I cut my finger or they bled when they were tired.”
As she turned the page, she shimmied for balance in my lap. “Now let me explain to you what an heirloom is." I said. "An heirloom is something you pass down to your children for them to cherish. It could have real value or just be of sentimental interest. These notebooks are heirlooms. It would make Daddy so very proud if you could continue this book and see how far you can count up to. You would be writing in it at the very age I wrote in it some thirty-three years ago. Wouldn’t that be a phenomenal treasure, something a father and a daughter can share like the time we saw a shooting star? If you write in it, I will give you the notebooks for safekeeping. Perhaps, you can carry on the notebook tradition with your own children one day.”
I handed Jenna a pen. She went to diligent work next to me writing on a desk. Jenna rattled off a half page of sequential numbers. I was so proud. A few minutes later, her finger strides came to a screeching halt. She lifted the pen from paper.
“This is stupid!” claimed a disinterested Jenna before tossing the notebooks back on the shelf.
-As much as life is an open notebook, it is a crapshoot within a numbers game.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous et said...

I used to have a compulsion to count things!!! Now, the only important total I treasure is the "true" friends that have graced my life. You are among those "true" friends of whom I consider a treasure.

8:47 AM  
Blogger mommanator said...

great try jt- maybe the other jt jenna is smarter than the dad, or maybe she got the idea quicker, or maybe she needed more inspiration? money for example! Only kidding great idea

10:02 AM  
Blogger Dr. Nazli said...

Dear Joe,

I'd like you to write a book - you could call it - "slipping forward" - a collection of life and numbers.

Joe - so glad you dicovered baseball - it may have saved your life :-) :-)

Much good will and cheer to you
Nazli

2:51 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

et,
thanks ET, you are a true hummingbird among friends.

mommanator,
you can count on it. he-he.

Dr. Nazli,
If only I could write a book, even that sentence sounds like the story of my life.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Pax Romano said...

So OCD does not run in the family??

3:25 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Pax,
Thankfully.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

Quick learner, your daughter.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

merci,
the apple rolled too far from this tree.

8:46 AM  

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