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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Aspies brought to life

Someone left the following comment on the Asperger Syndrome post (which now has 242 comments) three days ago. This is a particularly colorful description of an Aspie, so I thought it worth posting:

How's this: Aspie who goes nuts if someone complains about his extremely rude, racist, sexually inappropriate exclamations. Obsessed with TV contest winners and beauty pageant winners, cyber stalking them, bombarding them with angry tirades when the won't return his love. He actually says in all seriousness that refusing to answer his demanding emails and posts is a cruel form of "reverse bullying" (his coinage). He angrily stuck his foot in a neighbor's door, stating "I'm not leaving until you explain why you won't be my friend." He belches and farts constantly, followed by a mischievous grin and raised eyebrows. Cute. He's a savant with an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway musicals and opera. Yet when asked why he likes a certain performance, he says it's because the female singer is "so hot I just want to f*** her!" He absolutely hates singers whom he doesn't find attractive and says they should die. Has no concept of irony or satire do often argues with people or screams at the television, which he watches -- 3 different TVs at the same time. Though he often claims to be super intelligent and great at "multitasking", he actually only keeps shifting his focus from one thing to another then yells at the TV/computer/CD player/radio for being "too slow and stupid." When he laughs, it's a terrifying bellow and he appears angry, not happy. He complains that people are always starting fights with him. If he sees someone jaywalking, or smoking too close to the wall of a building, he'll run up to them and begin a lengthy admonition. Despite all this it's really all the fault of "ignorant people" who don't understand his Asperger's.

This commenter has obviously had his (or her) fill of this Aspie. My guess is that the commenter is related to the Aspie, otherwise he/she would have taken his leave long ago. (One or two of these behaviors are enough to drive anyone away, but sometimes it's just not that easy.)

Coincidentally, last night another commenter on the Do Aspies span the full range of morality? post made the following comment:

My (ex)boss, who I'm 1000% convinced had Asperger's, was fired a few days ago. My entire department celebrated like it was New Year's Eve.

It was a living nightmare working under an "Aspie" for month after month. His total, absolute inability to connect with real human beings. The locking himself in his office with the lights off all day. The extreme rage over the *slightest* thing. The mixing-up/mangling of words. The NEVER, EVER admitting that he was wrong. The accusing others of saying shit that they never said. The pointing the finger of blame at EVERYONE except himself. The strange gait and even goofier hair. The mismatched clothing. The creepy stares. The telling people he never says "Hi" to them because there's no need for it. The going about the day like some kind of fucked-up robot. And on, and on, and on. 

It drove some of the employees to therapy, like they had some kind of PTSD. From what I hear, this was like the 30th job he's been fired from. Hallelujah!!! 

If you look at the literature on Asperger Syndrome, you'll find a lot of descriptions like "qualitative impairment in social interaction," and "restricted and repetitive interests and behavior," and "verbosity, abrupt transitions, literal interpretations and miscomprehension of nuance," and "developmental coordination disorder." (These quotes are from the Wikipedia entry on Asperger Syndrome.) 

To really understand Aspies, however, you have to witness them firsthand and see some of the ways in which those vague academic terms manifest themselves. The two descriptions quoted above are both far more informative than any dry textbook-style generalities could ever be.


Anonymous said...

I've known Aspies who were pleasant to be around, and non-aspies who've made my skin crawl. I don't think descriptions of a few really maladjusted individuals represent the condition as a whole, especially when the vast majority of Aspies (at least in my experience) do their best to be considerate and work with their limitations.

John Craig said...

Anon --
True enough, there are pleasant Aspies. I've known a couple myself. And yes, these two are not exactly a cross section. But I have to disagree with you about the majority. The ones I've known best -- and there is a difference between having fleeting social contact with one and knowing one well -- have been difficult to deal with. And when they are difficult, there are certain distinctive patterns of behavior which are exemplified -- maybe to the extreme -- by the two described in this post.

George Lincoln said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

RE the last paragraph: that's exactly what you've been saying about sociopaths.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
Yes, no substitute for real life experience. Learning about sociopaths or Aspies from a book is like learning about love and hate from a book, or about sex from a book.