My funniest line

In 1993, I was in Grade 11 and a member of the Parktown Boys’ High School Public Speaking team. Our four members were as unlikely to be public speakers as you could find. Two were exceptional athletes in their respective disciplines, and stereotypically assumed to be intellectually dim (they weren’t), one was a class clown.

And then there was me, the autistic anti-athlete. During one physical education lesson at school, the teacher had yelled something about how his grandmother could run faster than me, and I’d shot back, “I’m not your grandmother”.

Our topic for one particular speech, in a competition between several schools, was “The Games People Play”.

It was particularly memorable because both my parents attended (my father died only a few months later).

During our rehearsal, our team had come up with a very similar topic, so our stress levels were low, we were in a good mood, and I believe we came second in the competition.

Just before my summation as the leader of the team, the class clown, André, handed back to me by saying “Randolph is what you’d get if Snow White slept with Dopey.”

Naturally this brought the house down, and I could see my parents laughing too. I remember finishing very lamely, and that was that.

After the event, people had congregated as they tend to do, and I noticed André talking to my parents. I also knew that they’d never met, and it was unlikely they had introduced themselves in the short while they’d been chatting.

I walked over, and the line came to me as I opened my mouth:

“Ah, André, I see you’ve met Snow White and Dopey.”

Fifteen years …

[Originally written in 2010. I’ve been sitting on this post for over five years. I’m not sure why.]

This is a long post. I’m pre-empting your tl;dr comments by making this note here. I may migrate it to my website under “articles” later.

I had a lightbulb moment earlier today, reminding me that I’ve been “on the Internet” for fifteen years, as of May 2010. This commentary is very subjective, so don’t expect a technical article or timeline. What I want to talk about is how the Internet has changed my life, in every way possible. And how a part of my life long forgotten, never went away at all.
Continue reading Fifteen years …

So here it is

Since I originally read that Terry Pratchett is a Humanist (albeit a “bad one”), I liked the sound of the description, and I’ve adopted it where appropriate. I’m more of an irreligious person nowadays, but I’ll get to that.

In Pratchett’s own words, “I think if there is any intelligence behind the Universe, it is so far from our comprehension that we may as well act as if it’s not there. I’m quite certain it doesn’t care what kind of food we eat on Fridays.”

I grew up in an interesting time. My father was born Catholic, my mother was born Methodist. Apparently the two were mutually exclusive in 1976 when they were married, so they wed in the Methodist church. There was some disagreement with the Catholics, as I understand it. My father was quite unhappy about it (he’s been dead for a while now, so I can’t ask him).

Since my paternal grandmother was a practising Catholic, I’d been with her to church several times and learnt all the words.

On the other hand, my maternal grandparents were practising Methodists, and as I lived with them for a time in my earlier years, I attended the same church in which my parents married, and learnt all the words.

Continue reading So here it is

A state of mind

As someone with autism, and aware of my differences, one thing I’ve noticed again and again is my inability to see things from a perspective other than my own. They call it “theory of mind” in the degree I’m studying.

For example, I’ve noticed that whenever I decide to retreat from the world (for example, when I’m sick and have to stay home), I stop thinking about everyone else. It’s not even a conscious thing. I simply do not even process thoughts about anyone else. As a result, I may come across as selfish.

Remember, all that I’ve got is a brain wired slightly differently to yours when it comes to social interaction. Paths that develop naturally for most people have to be mapped through conscious learning on my part. Frustrating for me, almost invisible to you if I get it right. I suppose I could say that my mission is to be invisible :-).

I live with my fiancé, and without interacting with him and going to work, I don’t interact with many other people. I have to make a conscious effort to say “I wonder how he or she feels about this or that”, and run through a list. I haven’t stopped caring: I just forgot to think about that person.

I bring it up because it’s something I’ve noticed and am working on, to become a better person. It’s working, little by little. I actually do care how Marinus is, and tend to recognise and apologise (!) when I hurt his feelings. I’m not always accurate, but I think I’m getting better.

To all my friends who read this, if I’ve taken the time to talk to you, fear not, I care about you too. I know it may be months between conversations, but I do care. I am not very good at showing it, but I’m working on that too.

P.S. Thanks for the call yesterday, Ian.

P.P.S. I love you Marinus 🙂