This is the final chapter in the “More Like Them Than I Think” series and this time Melvin won’t feature in it so much, if at all. Instead, let me introduce you to Harry. Again, that’s not his real name, but he and I share a couple of Asperger’s traits. The first one is how we cope when we go into overload. While Harry has a different trigger to me, we both can react in the same way. We have a tendency to want to destroy our possessions. When Harry reaches overload, he goes into his room and smashes up his stereo or television set or anything else that comes into his grasp. When he comes down, a new set of anxieties then take effect because he is now remorseful over destroying his property.
I too behaved likewise and still have to fight off that temptation today. Especially now that I’m having teething problems with my new mobile. Several times I have wanted to chuck it against a wall. It was far worse in my early life, especially when confronted by bullies. When the bullying got that bad, I would throw my glasses in temper simply because I couldn’t think of any other way to deal with the problem. Of course, that would encourage some bullies into picking on me more so they could watch me react for their own amusement. If it wasn’t my glasses, then I would throw or kick or punch other things. This became more so when later in life the bullying might have stopped but my frustration was now focused on machines that didn’t work properly. I had two cars that had dents on the side, not from bad driving but from when I kicked them because the engine had suddenly cut out on me. Punching the steering wheel was another one of my tricks. So you see, Harry and I aren’t so much apart.
There is another similarity between Harry and myself. Every Christmas, it has become tradition that I state to my British friends that Boxing Day isn’t celebrated in America. Instead, we have Wrestling Day. When I told my joke to Harry, it amused him for the rest of that evening. Every time he saw me, he would say ‘Wrestling Day’ and laugh. It’s clear that the phrase amused him.
The thing is, that phrase amuses me too. Throughout my life, there have been many words or phrases that, like Harry, have amused to the point where I would constantly repeat them and often it would put me back into the sights of bullies. In fact, here’s a list of some of the words and phrases where this has happened over the past 52 years.
Fair Catch- an American Football term
The ref’s hand signal for personal foul in basket ball
Two minutes in the penalty box
Disco followed by a minister of a church Ie Billy Graham would be Disco Graham
The punk version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
The complete speech by Tommy Chong in the film “Up In Smoke” where he tells about how his dog ate his stash
So there you have it, the past five and a half years of working with adults with Asperger’s Syndrome has only further convinced me that I too have the condition myself. While I will never be officially diagnosed with it, I can certainly see my actions in the behaviour of many of the service users I work with.
Next post: Armed Security Guards In Schools