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Today I found myself wondering about my parents. Specifically, I was considering the possibility of either one of my parents having Aspergers. It’s common knowledge that Aspergers and autism seems to run in families. Could either of my parents have been an aspie?

When measuring the possibility of mental disorder, my mother comes to mind first. I love her to death, but I’m not going to deny that she is kinda nutty. She does possess some aspie-like traits: she is ritualistic, slow to adapt to change, and fairly antisocial. One thing that doesn’t fit, however, is her expression of emotions – if anything, she is OVERexpressive. Last time I visited, she got upset and tried to console me when I dropped an egg on the kitchen floor.

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The funeral procession for the embryo was not at all necessary.

She might have OCD tendencies, she might not be a social butterfly, but I don’t think she has Aspergers. My father, on the other hand…

I’ve brought up the possibility of my dad having Aspergers to my wife before, and she has easily dismissed the idea in the past. “He had a good sense of humor, he was very sarcastic,” she says. “Aspies aren’t usually good with sarcasm.”

First off: Aspies can be good using sarcasm. I use it all the time. The problem aspies have with sarcasm is detecting it in others, not using it themselves.

Second: I don’t think she quite understands what made my dad so funny. The reason he was hilarious was because he would “act” serious when doing something completely crazy that nobody would ever expect. One example I always love to use is how he used to openly discuss his tipping plans with the waiter while the meal was still underway. My family thought it was so funny, how he would joke around like that.

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The waiters found it hilarious.

What if he wasn’t joking? What if he just had no clue that that’s something that you aren’t supposed to do? Social awkwardness – check.

Another thing about my dad – I only remember seeing him cry once, when my mom was very sick and was hospitalized. Other than that? I don’t recall him showing many emotions at all. Home movies of us show him basically being there, every once in a while telling us kids to quit doing annoying things. I know he loved me, but do I have any concrete evidence showing an emotional bond between the two of us? Inability to outwardly express emotions – check.

There are other reasons that I won’t get into here, but what it boils down to is that there is a decent chance that my dad has Aspergers. Then, of course, I got to thinking…

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What in God’s holy name were they thinking when they came up with this?

Then I got to thinking…

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Hey, wait a minute… what DOES the fox say???

But then I started thinking…

I have some unresolved issues with my dad (I was not aware of them until after he died). Do I really want my son to have those same issues with me when he gets older? Of course not. So I make sure that he knows I love him, every single day. I do more than tell him – I show him. I show him by being there for him when he needs me, by being there when he doesn’t, by being engaged with him even when he tells stories that take ten minutes and six run on sentences to complete. I don’t want him to have to question whether or not his father loved him. I’m going to make that answer obvious for him.

And you know what? It’s EASY. My kids are part of a very small group of people in this world who I feel completely comfortable being real around, and connecting truly with. He may realize when he grows up that Daddy was a little strange, but he’ll never feel disconnected from me. I won’t let that happen.

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I Don’t Get It

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Decided to splurge a little on myself tonight and went to Dunkin Donuts for a mid-shift snack. I know the guy who works there and he’s very nice. This sounds like a good thing, however many people with Aspergers like me would actually prefer a stranger to a familiar face. Familiar faces tend to try to be friendly and joke around, which doesn’t go over well when you can’t figure out sarcasm.

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Professor Frink could have made millions off of the aspie community.

I step up to the counter and begin to order myself a coffee cake muffin and as I continue my list of fattening treats, the guy behind the counter tells me that I can’t have any of those. I know from previous trips to this DD that this guy likes to joke around so at first I kinda laugh it off, but he’s still telling me I can’t have them. Now I start thinking… maybe he’s serious? Don’t normal people end the joke when everybody laughs? He’s not getting my muffin. I think he’s serious. Something is wrong with those muffins.

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Um, on second thought I’ll just have a french cruller…

 So I ask him, “Is there something wrong with the muffins?” And he laughs, “Nah, man, I’m just messing with ya.” Now I know he’s just trying to be funny. But I’m an aspie, so um, yeah… no. Didn’t get it. Never will. 

This happens to me all the time. At least once or twice every single day, someone tells me a story that ends in a joke, or at least I interpret it as a joke from the way they are talking. However, to me, it’s not a joke because it’s simply not funny. But I figure that because I’m the aspie, I must have missed the joke, so I laugh anyway. Most of the time I’m right on, but it has led to some awkward moments.

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When you said your mom was in a better place now, I thought you meant Hawaii or something.

UPDATE: One of the comments below is just so WTF, I can’t even believe it’s serious. In no way do I condone the ideas in the comment. I approved it simply because it’s just too crazy for me to be the only person to ever read it.