image by author.

no balloons.

Robert Rado


“So, you’ll see that, basically, all’s fine with Zak.”

“Yes, my wife and me — we’ve read your report.”

“Yes, so I’ve assumed.”

“Of course, we did.”

“Yes. Of course you did.”


“It is my understanding that there’s something you wanted to discuss with us.”



“Yes. So, what would it be? Anything of concern?”


“No. Concern? No. I wouldn’t say so.”

“Still. An appointment was necessary.”

“It was, indeed. It’s the shape-sorter exercise.”

“What about it?”

“Well, most toddlers show signs of contentment when they can solve the puzzle. They match a shape to the correct hole and they are — well, they’re happy. The green triangle block goes through the triangle hole and they giggle. They feel they have accomplished something.”

“And Zak? Can he match the shapes?”


“I think he could.”

“Could? As a hypothesis?”

“The point’s this: Zak looks happy when he places the wrong block on the wrong hole. He puts a square block on a circle hole and he’s happy to see it not fall through. He leaves the square shape on the circle hole and he’s content it won’t drop.”


“And you think that’s awkward?”

“Awkward? No. Out of the ordinary? Yes.”

“How so?”

“Statistically speaking.”


“Statistically speaking, should my wife and me be worried?”

“No. Zak is — Zak.”

“What’s that mean?”

“It means what it means: Zak’s Zak.”