My first memory

My first memory is a lie. I am sitting on a sofa couch, and my mother is sitting beside me. “It’s your second birthday tomorrow,” she is telling me. I remember nothing else. except the couch. Everything outside of it is a black void.

My perspective isn’t even correct. My mind’s eye is observing this from a distance. But I have a distinc memory that mom is sitting on my left, turned towards me. Her right arm is slung over the back of the couch. She is wearing a gray sweater, her blonde hair back in a pony tail.

The nice thing about this memory is that I can peg it to a specific date: December 19. At dinner parties, I can trot it out, and sit back with a sense of self importance, being the only one in the room that not only can identify their first memory, but can remember the exact date.
Definitely a false memory. But I still lead out with it at dinner parties. After all, I dare you to prove me wrong.

A bum by any other name

We’ve gone from one extreme to another. Not too long ago, they were bums, but we felt guilty about it. So we stopped calling them something derogatory and opted for something clinical. 
Homeless.  As if they’re afflicted by an annoying condition. As if they’re just a step below renters. I suppose the rents feel a little offended. And intimidated, to know that they only thing separating them and the people on the street is an eviction notice.

So really, it’s just a housing issue we’re dealing with here. They just need some homes. They’re homeless.
It’s easier to use this term: it allows you to ignore them. If we called them beggars or destitute, then we get into the sphere of moral obligation. Who needs that at 7:30 in the morning?

Me, at meetings

And now, my impression of myself at every meeting I’ve ever attended, in haiku form

Check your phone check it
Check it check it check it now
Maybe somethings new

New parents not welcome

No one wants to see parents enjoying themselves.
They want to see them haggard and gaunt, towing a screaming psychopath down the sidewalk like a husky pulling Klondike provisions. It reinforces society’s addiction to a culture of youth.
As long as parents look like they are experiencing hell, the shallow youth of today can be comfortable in their own narcissistic hedonism and go back to fuelling the economy with purchases of $6 coffees and weekend jaunts to Mexico.

The business of ignoring the children

As a parent of small children, my life is primarily occupied with finding ways to ignore the kids. Sometimes, I can distract them with a movie. Other times, I can bust out the coloring book. When all else fails, I throw an iPad at them.

Yet they always wait for an opening. If I let my guard down for a single second, the radar antennae in their heads start vibrating, and they rise like zombies, and shuffle towards me. And they speak.

THEM:  I want juice.
ME: You just had juice.
THEM: I want milk.

or, sometimes,

THEM: I want Fruit Loops
ME: It’s midnight. Why are you still up?

I described my insight – that my life is about creatively ignoring my children – to my mother not too long ago. She didn’t speak for a moment, then nodded her head.

“You always wanted a hug,” she told me. “Especially if I was busy with something else. You tugged and tugged at my sleeves and told me to hug you.”

“Did it work?” I asked.

“Of course,” she shrugged. “But that was before DVD players. The only way we could distract you was to give in. Or send you to your room to play. We did that a lot, too, when you wouldn’t leave us alone.”

“My room was in the basement,” I remembered. “I was scared to death to go to my room.”

“We told you there were monsters down there,” she admitted. “We also punished you by sending you down there alone.”

Our conversation saddened me. We live in a different age. Back then, when they had enough of me, they sent me to my room in the basement. Not to the tv. Not to the iPad. But to the basement, where I crouched on my bed, under the blankets, and trembled with fear. We don’t do things like that today. We don’t have a basement.

But, oh, if we did …

10 ways an autistic person can be funny

With an autistic daughter, I spend a bit of time each month, checking out autism blogs, resource sites, and the like, always curious what the most recent lines of thought are.

I’ve noticed something.

There’s not a lot out there about humour by autistic people. Possibly, it’s because the people who might write about how to be humorous when you’re autistic are not themselves autistic.

Or humorous.

I came across an article at the Autism Support Network that advised people with ASD on how to be funny.
It was, indeed, ironic:

An autistic person’s sense of humour is often about things which suggest silliness, ridiculousness or which appear slightly insane.

This was the very first recommendation. I’m not sure if the author is advising autistic people to limit their comments to things that are slightly insane, or if the author is is giving a backfill analysis to help an autistic person understand why they are laughing in the first place.

It may be necessary to keep your laughter to yourself when there is something which is funny to you but not as funny to other people. Laughter is one of the best feelings in the world and to have to hold it back is a nuisance but, none the less, to laugh at the wrong times may annoy other people.

So the first bit of advice on how to be humorous is: don’t.

A non-autistic person’s sense of humour is often to do with finding clever ways of pointing out faults in other people and causing them embarrassment. … Everyone is a victim of someone else’s humour at some time or another but some people are made to suffer more than others. … Sometimes, non-autistic people can get quite ruthless with their humour. … This is especially true amongst teenagers and younger adults who are perhaps less likely to care than older people.

Good grief, this is not the Hunger Games. This humour thing sounds an awful lot like the opposite of humour.

In the eyes of many zoologists, humour is a human replacement for the violence which animals use on each other to establish an order of dominance (the pecking order).

So now we’re quoting zoologists?

No-one talks about the pecking order of which they are a part.

The first rule of Pecking Club is “don’t talk about Pecking Club.”

Many gangs or groups of people are not particularly welcoming to outsiders but some are more welcoming than others.

Gangs? We’re talking about making a pun, not getting a prison tattoo!

Often, the reason two or more people gang up on one person is because it gives them a feeling of being united together. For reasons such as this, it is often easier to talk seriously to people if you can find them on their own.

That’s just creepy. In essence, we’re advising readers to stalk someone until they are alone, then confront them. That sounds hilarious.

If you say or do something which can be misinterpreted into a sexual context then it probably will be as a joke, often at your expense.

That’s what she said.

Try not to aim your humour at people wittier or funnier than yourself because they might retaliate and will probably do better than you, causing you to lose face. It is the verbal equivalent of picking a fight with someone bigger than you.

Correct: only make fun of stupid people, because they won’t have good comebacks.

Don’t make jokes about peoples mums or dads unless everyone else is. To make jokes like these at the wrong time can make people violent towards you.

Correct again: if you crack a joke that makes someone want to hit you, only do it when everyone else is doing it, because they’ll likely be too intimidated to do anything about it.

Try to avoid laughing at your own humour.

Nobody likes that. People would rather be confused about whether or not you were serious.

Comedy is not just about playful confrontation, it is also a very clever way in which people can accept the tragedies of life without getting depressed. “If we didn’t laugh then we’d cry”.

Holy crap, this author has a way with words. In less the 500 words, I now hate – and fear – humour.