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by Bud Buck, 12/17/99

DC: There are so many maladies and plagues to confound us, it's sometimes tough to come up with the proper amount of alarm when another threat is uncovered. And this latest problem to affect men is especially sneaky. Bud Buck reports.

Woman: He ... doesn't think anything is wrong with him. I look at him and all I can see is wrong stuff, but to him ... nothing.

Bud: This woman asked that her name not be used. Her husband suffers from Male Attention, Learning, Listening And Retention Deficit Syndrome, otherwise known as MALLARDS.

Woman: He thinks everything is OK. That's the really awful part of this.

Bud: What made you suspicious that he had MALLARDS?

Woman: I would tell him things. Bits of information. Stuff I wanted him to do. Things from my day, you know? And he sat there with his head bobbing, saying "Yes, honey, yes honey, yes honey." (weepy) But ten minutes later, he had no idea what I had said.

Dr. Hoover: A man with MALLARDS thinks he's got nothing wrong with him, but in fact he hardly hears a word his wife says. And he retains nothing.

Bud: Dr. Arnold Hoover is an Internist at Stoic Guy's Hospital.

Dr. Hoover: It's so appropriate, I suppose. Here at Stoic Guy's Hospital, we see an endless parade of fellows who come in complaining that they feel just fine, they don't know why they're here. So I sit them down and I ask them ... "What was the last thing your wife said to you?" They can't tell me.

Bud: This patient, a pleasant middle aged man named Jim, is a patient of Dr. Hoover's at Stoic Guy's Hospital.

Jim: It really rocked me when Arnold asked me that question. I thought I had a great memory. But he kept asking me question after question ... "what's her favorite color," "what did she order the last time you went to a restaurant," "what was the last big purchase she made that was just for herself," stuff she's told me about, you know? But I didn't have any of that information. Not a bit.

Dr. Hoover: And then I asked him, "Who played running back for the 1968 New York Jets?"

Jim: (a little laugh) Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer, of course. And then it kind of hit me, you know? I don't live with Snell and Boozer. I haven't seen or heard anything about them in over 30 years. My wife ... I see her every day.

Bud: Dr. Hoover concluded that Jim suffers from MALLARDS (Male Attention, Learning, Listening And Retention Deficit Syndrome). His wife, the woman who asked that her name not be used, says she was relieved at the diagnosis.

Woman: Well at least it had a name. Something we could put a finger on, something we could call it. I was beginning to think I was crazy, or a nag, like he said I was.

Bud: (sympathetic) And did knowing about the disease help Jim get over it?

Woman: (shocked) He told you his name?

Bud: Jim? Sure.

Woman: Agghhh! He was supposed to ask that his name not be used, just like me! Didn't he say that?

Bud: No, he just said, "Hi, I'm Jim. Call me Jim."

Woman: (weeping) I TOLD him. I said "Don't use your name. Or make up a name, like Horace, or Harold." I might as well be talking to the wall. You see what I'm up against?

Bud: None of this surprises Dr. Hoover.

Dr. Hoover: Once a man has MALLARDS, it's a long road back. It's not a matter of taking a drug or being in simple therapy. Essentially, he's got to learn to think again.

Bud: What causes MALLARDS?

Dr. Hoover: We really don't know, but we've got some preliminary study results that suggest it begins at marriage.
But is marriage the cause? Or is it a trigger? Or is it a coincidence? We're still trying to figure that out.

Woman: When we were courting, he was so sweet. He was always thinking about me, always doing nice things for me, very attentive. And so many of my friends tell the same story, you know? Not about him (Jim), but about other guys. And then things change. It's a real "Before and after" thing. Night and day. I think they ought to look at the food additives and colorings that are common in wedding cake, you know?
Something fries their brains. Really.

Jim: I'll tell you, Bud. I know they have a name for it and all kinds of doctors who say it's a problem, but I don't get it. I think it's all in her head that she thinks I'm brainless. Really, I'm very smart. Plenty sharp.
She just won't accept it.

Bud: She?

Jim: You know ... uh ... um ... my wife.

Bud: Male Attention, Learning, Listening And Retention Deficit Syndrome. Even those who are experts in the disease say they've just scratched the surface.

Dr. Hoover: I think MALLARDS is one of the major engines of strife and despair in today's marriages, really. You can't under emphasize it's effect.

(sfx: phone ring)

Bud: Oops.

Dr. Hoover: I thought I turned that off. Excuse me.

(sfx: pick up)

Hoover here. Hi honey. Can I call you back, I'm conducting an interview here. Five o'clock? Tickets to what? Today? Are you sure?
Well ... (to Bud) ... Pardon me a second here, OK?
(to phone, confidentially) It's not that I wasn't listening to you.
(fade) They have an intermission, don't they?

Bud: (voice over fade) The hearbreak of MALLARDS. Awareness is no defense. It can strike anyone. There is so little we know. And even when we know something, ... there is so little we know. Did I just say that? It bears repeating. What we know ... it's not much.
This is Bud Buck reporting.

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