I became an UPS guy for a few weeks

During the holiday rush, UPS and FedEx hire minions.  Actually, they call them helpers.  Their job is to deliver packages when the driver they are sitting next to tells them to.  I was one of those, for a little while.  If I learned anything within those two-and-a-half weeks, it’s that people should be nice to UPS and FedEx guys.  Be nicer to UPS though.  They’re way better, obviously.

The first week was something of a mess for me.  Helpers never actually go to a “distribution center”, they just meet with their driver at a pre-determined location.  I got three different drivers within a week.  The first two were meeting me nearly an hour from my house.  On my first day, we drove back into the Wal-Mart parking lot where my car was parked only to find that I had left the lights on.  The battery was dead, and I didn’t have a jump cable.  Thankfully, we were in front of a Super Wal-Mart, and they have an automotive section.  My driver was nice enough to start my car up for me.  I’m not sure how much the battery liked that, considering the amount of sparks.  The next day was even more of a nightmare.  First of all, another driver.  This guy was wired-up and dropped f-bombs constantly.  Smoked in the truck often.  Seemingly always forgot one package or another, so we were backtracking all the time.  Second of all, we didn’t have any time for lunch on day one, so I didn’t even bother to bring any food.  Worst of all, there was a nor’easter rolling through that day.

For the uninitiated, this is a Nor'easter.  Not as windy as a hurricane, but crazy amounts of snow / rain.

For the uninitiated, this is a Nor’easter. Not as windy as a hurricane, but crazy amounts of snow / rain.

That day, the sky decided that dumping buckets of water on everyone along the east coast seemed like a fun idea.  There was no point in trying to stay dry – even sitting in the truck didn’t help in the least.  We rarely close the doors, and rain from a nor’easter does not know of this “gravity” you speak of.  Mostly, it rains sideways, right through the truck.  It took about two minutes before I was completely soaked.  My straight-fit Levis became slim-fit.  The rain soaked right through my gloves, and my hands became so cold that I had trouble gripping my seat belt enough to put it back on.  My fingers turned purple before I finally realized that we had an extra, semi-waterproof pair of gloves in the back.  Much of the rain from the night before had frozen, so the first half of the day was essentially a slip n’ slide.  By around 1:00, we were told that another truck would meet us to give us more packages to deliver.  We waited 45 minutes for the truck to get there.  In the meantime, my driver ate lunch.  He had me walk to a Subway so I could buy something, but by the time I got there I realized that I had left my wallet at home.  Thankfully, the driver was nice enough to buy lunch for me.  We finally closed the door of the truck.  With the heat cranked up, I was quite literally steaming.  We had to keep the defrost on high to keep the windows from fogging up.  Every time we stopped at a house, I immediately stepped into a half-foot deep puddle.  At one point, we drove through the crappiest road I have ever seen in my life.  It was a dirt road, and it was actually made out of potholes.  I imagined a truck driving through the woods, laying portable holes everywhere until they vaguely took the shape of a road.  This should be named Shit Road, I thought.  Then the water from the potholes splashed up into the truck.  No, wait –  Shit Creek.


Contrast that with my second week.  I was paired up with a positive, easygoing New-Englander named Bob.  I only had to drive fifteen minutes from my house.  The rout was fairly small.  We delivered and took packages from a bank, where everyone was surprisingly nice, and always seemed to have food.  We would deliver them food, and they would give us food back as payment.  They didn’t know what to do with it all.  Interestingly enough, I had multiple people call me Bambi that week.  I liked that, actually.  I’d rather be associated with Bambi then Skeletor or something.

 

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Something Something Book

Me and some of my friends / family are thinking of writing a book.  That’s right, multiple people.  Perhaps multiple books at that, we’re not sure.  Before we do that, we are going to have a book club.  Books on the list include The Lord of The Rings, Slaughterhouse Five, The Host, Eragon, the Artemis Fowl series, and others.  Once we read most or all of the books on the list?  Here’s our idea, although we don’t have much – Imagine a napkin.  You know how napkins tend to have three “layers”?  Imagine each of those layers were different worlds.  The two outer layers, though similar, are completely separate from each other, supposedly except for one particular location.  And even then, they can only communicate through a journal left at this location.  This is not a well – known fact.  Actually, most people have forgotten that this “other world” exists.  But many still remember, at least in legend, the layer in-between.  In my mind, many people think of the in-between the way people here think of the afterlife, and some who die actually end up there, creating a way for the two worlds to actually co-exist, if only in death.  We are not settled on that idea.  What we do plan on is for these two worlds to plan something of a mass-evacuation.  For some reason, (I hope a non-malicious reason) these two worlds go on a co-operative effort to reach the in-between.  There are many things which we have not settled on.  For instance, I strongly feel that these two worlds should be rather different from one-another, but some of my buddies are convinced that they should almost be like mirror-images of each other.  Either way, we aren’t sure what the general setting of these worlds will be.  Are they technologically advanced?  Are they similar to earth?  Are there fantasy elements?  We’re hoping to decide at some point soon.  Hopefully this takes years to actually accomplish.  I cannot imagine anything coming from it otherwise.

ERMEGERD

STER WERS!

Why am I talking about star wars again?  Because we are finally getting a trailer for the next three movies, and I am extremely exited.  Also, a whole bunch of people are already complaining, and I want to explain why I feel that they are wrong.

Not long after Disney bought Star Wars, they decided to kill off the entire expanded universe.  A great deal of Star Wars fans were pissed off at this.  I can see why – the EU was a good portion of their childhood.  But there is a major issue.  The Expanded Universe was a total mess.  George Lucas did not care about the EU in the least, and his company had to categorize the EU into different “levels” of cannonicity.  They actually had to say “story X is more likely than story Y, but we can’t say that any of them actually happened.”  The stories contradicted themselves as time went on, as different writers had a different view of the universe as a whole.  Attempts to create an actual time-line of events failed.  It’s sad that the EU had to be put down, but it was like a horse with a broken leg.  You’re in denial if you think it didn’t need to be removed.  I’ll say it again, George Lucas had nothing to do with the EU, and actually contradicted it.  I read an EU story called “Tales of the Bounty hunters” (actually a decent book) which was a compilation of stories about the bounty hunters who Vader hired to hunt down Luke.  The last story wrote something of an origin for Boba Fett which the prequel trilogy and Clone War TV show smashed to pieces.

Also, some people are complaining that no one asked for more Star Wars.  OK, well, George Lucas has gone on camera many times saying that he intended to make three generations of the Skywalker family, and anywhere from nine to twelve movies.  Look it up.  May the Google be with you.

On to the actual trailer.

Some incredibly unobservant people seem convinced that there shouldn’t be any such thing as a black Stormtrooper.  “Stormtroopers are clones!”  they argue.  Well…  Listen to what the clones sound like.  Now listen to what Boba Fett sounds like – Even Jason Wingreen’s original dialogue sounds enough like Jango that it’s clear they are father and son, and I honestly believe this similarity is why Temuera Morrison was cast as Jango Fett for the prequels in the first place.  If the Stormtroopers of the original trilogy were meant to still be clones, it’s likely that Jason Wingreen would have voiced all of their dialogue, but that’s not the case.  It is never even suggested in episodes IV – VI that the troopers are clones, and in the EU Luke’s mention of signing up for “the academy” in A New Hope was actually referencing the Imperial Academy.  Whatever the case, the empire stopped using clones at some point, simple as that.  Perhaps the facilities on Kamino were destroyed.  Maybe the empire found some fault with clones that the republic hadn’t thought of, who knows?  Anyone simply complaining for the sake of it or saying it looks like a parody is just being racist.

I’m not going to bother arguing about “soccer droid” and the gigantic-engined transport that lady is riding, but I will mention that I saw someone complaining that the large force-pike like object on her transport disappears when the camera cuts.  You, sir, are just looking for something to whine about.  Trailers often use clips from different parts of a movie to create a new scene, and this is likely no different.  I imagine that in the first shot she is being chased, considering how tired she looks.

You know what?  Actually, I will argue about the “soccer droid”.  Some people are calling it “An R2-D2”.  I want to scream.  First of all R2-D2 was the designation of one generation R2 Astromech droid.  Having the same dome on top as an R2 unit does not make it one.  This is a droid most likely made by the same manufacturer.  And rolling around like that is not all that silly – try kicking a ball over some rocks.  Chances are it will roll over them.  Spheres are good at that.  And don’t bother with the whole “how does the head stay up” thing.  It’s Star Wars.  If you’re going to argue about that, I’ll come right back at ya and ask this – how do AT-STs (the two-legged walkers) stay upright?  They are clearly way too top-heavy to make such huge, stomps steps and shouldn’t be able to shuffle around much faster than the four-legged AT-ATs.

Ok, OK, I know, you want to talk about the lightsaber.

Some people think it just looks stupid.  Fair enough, you are entitled to your opinion.  On the other hand, most people are making all sorts of arguments about the functionality of such a weapon.  Some people don’t seem to understand what the perpendicular beams are for.  The prevailing theory is that they act as a crossguard to stop other lightsaber beams.  Why make the crossguard out of a lightsaber beam?  Let me ask you this – what have you seen stop a lighsaber?  Certainly not blast doors.  My point is that in these movies, the only thing which we’ve seen stop a lightsaber is another lightsaber, so that’s what the crossguard would have to be made out of.

Many people have brought up a valid flaw with this idea.  It is often argued that the bits on the side of the hilt which the crossguard spews out of would just be cut off, as opposed to stopping the attacker’s saber.  Steven Colbert actually explained how this might not be as flawed as it seems, suggesting that since the beam is created by one crystal in the hilt, the beam is actually traveling the length of that “side-bit”, making it impossible to cut the whole way through.  With this explanation, it could also be said that the hilt covering is merely to protect the user’s hands from the beam, which actually makes a great deal of sense.

Some people have also argued that the side-beams would make it extremely easy for the wielder to cut himself.  First of all, I don’t think the Sith care about self-preservation very much, considering that they are pretty much all mutilated somehow.  They tend to give up well-being for power.  Also, people seem to be making the assumption that this guy is going to be swinging his lighsaber around while doing flips like most of the Jedi of old.  Not necessarily true – the weapon is reminiscent of a rapier, so they may be fighting more like a fencer or 17th century duelist than a typical Jedi Knight.  Notice that the beam is nothing like what we’re used to.  All of us nerds have an explanation – the lightsaber’s crystal is misaligned, so the beam is unstable.  Why this is the case is unknown, but the general consensus is that either the wielder had no actual training in how to build a lightsaber, or it is an extremely old weapon.  The idea that the wielder is untrained actually lends credit to my theory that they may fight differently than a typical Jedi or Sith would.

Oh, and the Stormtroopers updated their armor.  Please stop saying they “don’t look right”, it’s been 30 years since ROTJ and the Star Wars galaxy is not static.  X-wings now have their engines attached to the wings, likely to make them more stable while in attack formation.  Oh, and the Falcon’s radar dish has been replaced since it was snapped off in Return of the Jedi.  You’re welcome.

Probable improbability

People often say that their story is an improbable one.  They imagine that because they met X person on date Y, their story is special, and better than most peoples. This is silly.  The thing is, there are an infinite number of possible outcomes to every situation, and the possibilities of situations to start with are infinite, as well.  I don’t want to think about infinity, so let’s look at the likelihood that you meet a particular person.

Replace "Famous person" with [i]anyone else[/i].

Replace “Famous person” with [i]anyone else[/i].

OK, so you met a famous person.  It’s just as unlikely that I meet anyone else – In a turn of extremely improbable events, the person I met was created by two other people who happened to like each other, and just so happened to end up at the same place as me at some particular moment.  So you met Reese Witherspoon?  Cool.  I met someone named Slartibartfast.  Way less likely.

Wait a second – If there are infinite possibilities, than the chance of anything happening is infinitely small, which means that mathematically speaking none of this should be happening.

Possibilities.  There are too many.

Possibilities. There are too many.

This is why we shouldn’t try explaining why the hell any of this is going on.  It shouldn’t exist, anyways.

The Last PTA Meeting I Will Ever Attend

My first shameless Reblog. If only I could Reblog the whole website. I would.

Raising My Rainbow

PTA-logoImagine my utter delight when I learned that at the next PTA meeting, someone would be speaking about the anti-bullying laws in place to protect LGBT and gender creative kids.

Although I’m a card-carrying PTA member, I’ve attended only three PTA meetings in my six years as mother to an elementary-school-aged child. Each time I sat through the meeting feeling like the PTA wasn’t the place for me.

But, hell, if they were going to be discussing LGBT and gender issues, maybe I had been wrong.

I walked into the crowded Multipurpose Room and found a seat in the back corner by myself. I listened as the PTA board and its members ran through the agenda. When they started passionately discussing the nutritional value of whole-wheat goldfish crackers versus original goldfish crackers, I tuned out. I will never argue about goldfish crackers; of that you can be sure.

Finally it…

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Hypocritical Hippopotamus

I have a claim to make.  People are hypocritical far more often than they would like to admit.  For instance – religious people who refuse to watch / read things about magic.  Harry Potter?  Oh no, don’t watch that, it’s “demonic”.  The Lord of the Rings?  Nope. The Black Cauldron?  Of course not.  Star Wars?  Sure!  “Wait, what?”  you might say.  “What does Star Wars have to do with this?”  Remember a little thing called The Force?  You know, that think that allows certain people in the Star Wars universe to levitate objects, shoot lighting out of their fingers, see into the future, and continue on as spirits after death?  Yeah, that Force.  Sounds like magic to me!  So what argument do our dear hippopotamuses (or hippopotami, if you like) strive to make?  They argue that The Force isn’t magic because Star Wars is essentially a different universe (ignore the galaxy far, far away thing) and the explanation for The Force is different than the”real-world”  “magic is just a thing” explanation, or the “It’s actually demons” explanation that some religious people make.  Let’s see, how is The Force described?  This is how the “cannon” section of Wookieepedia explains it:

“The Force was an energy field that connected all living things in the galaxy. The power of the Force could be used by individuals who were sensitive to it, a power that was tapped through the midi-chlorians.”

OK, fair enough.  Wait a second, though.  Can’t this argument be brought to Harry Potter as well?  How does J.K. Rowling explain her story’s version of magic?  Here’s what Wikipedia says:

“In the Harry Potter series created by J. K. Rowling, magic is depicted as a supernatural force that can be used to override the usual laws of nature. Many fictional magical creatures exist in the series, while ordinary creatures sometimes exhibit new magical properties in the novels’ world. Objects, too, can be enhanced or imbued with magical property. The small percentage of humans who are able to perform magic are referred to as witches and wizards, in contrast to the non-magical muggles.

In humans, magic or the lack thereof is an inborn attribute. It is inherited, carried on “dominant resilient genes”.  Magic is the norm in the children of magical couples and less common in those of muggles. Exceptions exist: those unable to do magic who are born to magical parents are known as squibs, whereas a witch or wizard born to muggle parents is known as a muggle-born, or by the pejorative “mudblood”. While muggle-borns are quite common, squibs are extremely rare.”

Dominant resilient genes?  They sound a little like midi-chlorians to me.  Magic can be passed from parent to child?  Well, in Star Wars, the Skywalkers clearly has a knack for Force shenanigans, and the Emperor himself seemed to believe that Luke would be a “powerful ally” solely on the knowledge that he was part of the Skywalker family.  Also, it’s mentioned that humans who can perform magic are always referred too as “witches” and “wizards”.  In Star Wars, force-sensitives are most often referred to as the “Jedi”  and “Sith”.  Witches and wizards of a different name.  Just look at these two pairs fighting each other – the only difference is that one of these pairs happens to be holding some sticks.

wizardfight1

Yoda fights Emperor Palpatine

wizardfight2

Harry Potter fights Voldemort

Yep.  Totally different.

Living with Asperger’s Disorder

Asperger’s Disorder (AS) is difficult to explain. It is typically describe as a mild autism-spectrum disorder, but most psychologists don’t think of people with Asperger’s as being truly autistic. Asperger’s Disorder can have a wide variety of symptoms, and doesn’t necessarily have one primary characteristic. People with AS tend to be introverted, and can have some difficulty recognizing sarcasm and understanding how actions may affect people. People who don’t have AS (sometimes called neurotypicals or NTs) see them as machine-like, insensitive and calculating. Many wonder how people with AS manage to get by in life, and that they will never be particularly successful. What is true is that they usually have an affinity for math and science, and can be very good at jobs which require a logical thought process. While not entirely understood, it’s clear that they think differently than NTs – Their brains operate differently in some respects. While they may seem impaired to some, I argue that they aren’t impaired – just different. The condition now known as Asperger’s Syndrome has a relatively short history, dating back to 1944 when a German pediatrician and medical theorist name Hans Asperger noted that multiple of his clinical cases were showing very similar, distinct symptoms. They were nearly identical to the symptoms of Autism described by Leo Kanner just a year earlier, but Asperger distinguished between Kanner’s observations and his own, explaining that his patients were not typically showing as much difficulty with speech, showed poorer motor skills, and that their symptoms were revealed somewhat later in childhood. It has been said that Hans called these children “little professors” due to their ability to explain subjects that interested them. Hans’s work was hardly recognized until 1981 when an English doctor named Lorna Wing translated his writings into English and conducted case studies of her own. Wing named the condition Asperger’s Disorder. Interest in the concept steadily grew, and in 1994 The American Psychiatric Association, which creates a list of “official” psychiatric diagnoses called the DSM, released the DSM-IV, which officially listed Asperger’s Syndrome as a mental disorder. Interestingly, from an official standpoint, Asperger’s Disorder no longer exists. The American Psychiatric Association, which creates a list of “official” psychiatric diagnoses, recently released the DSM-5, which umbrellas AS and a few other disorders into Autism Spectrum Disorder. The basis for the change is reasonable enough. Brian King of the Seattle Children’s Autism Center explained, stating, “There was no evidence after 17 years that [the DSM-IV diagnoses] reflected reality… There was no consistency in the way Asperger’s or PDD-NOS were applied.” PDD-NOS stands for “Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified”. It is even vaguer than Asperger’s, and covers an unreasonably large number of issues. The problem is that Asperger’s Disorder is such a specific diagnosis (there were only a couple of symptoms pertaining to Asperger’s specifically) that a child who would be diagnosed with AS by one institution would be diagnosed with PDD-NOS by another. Now, people with Autism Spectrum Disorder are rated on multiple symptoms to create a more accurate picture of the individual. I suppose it’s important that I explain that I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I will never truly understand how you see the world, nor will you truly understand the same about me. If you were to meet me, it likely wouldn’t be immediately obvious that I have a mental disorder. When I explain my condition to others, their reaction is usually “Oh, really?” or “That’s interesting, I wouldn’t have thought that.” When I was a child, it was usually far clearer that there was something different about me, at the least. I learned to read at a very young age, and was somehow fascinated reading things like the nutrition facts on the side of a box of food. When I went to Kindergarten, my mother brought me to my two teachers before classes started to explain that I might be an issue at times. She had me read an entry from an encyclopedia. The teacher’s wouldn’t believe it. “Yes, he’s reading the words, but does he understand what he’s reading?” They said. At some point that year, I ripped up a piece of paper from a coloring book in anger. I hated coloring, and knew that it wouldn’t help me learn anything. The picture was just the letter A. I realized that I already knew how to read, and that I would be stuck in a class that wouldn’t teach me anything. My Kindergarten teachers realized the same thing, and understandably couldn’t stand me. Situations like that didn’t end there. Other children would sometimes take advantage of our difficulty with understanding social interaction. Somewhere around First grade, a kid who I somehow thought was a good friend told me during recess that If I didn’t pull my pants down in front of everybody, he wouldn’t be my “friend” anymore. So I did. What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t supposed to include my underpants. You can imagine how that ended. A similar, though far worse issue arose recently where a 16 year old boy with AS in Maryland was harassed by two girls, one of them his “girlfriend”. They convinced him to retrieve a basketball from the surface of a frozen lake. He fell in, and the girls didn’t bother to help. He fell back in, and they still didn’t help. They then made him ride in the trunk of their car, saying that they didn’t want the interior wet. On another day, one of the girls held a knife to this throat while his “girlfriend” recorded it on video. There are two other videos, one of the girls dragging him by the hair, and another of the girls trying to make him have sex with his family’s dog. The (second) most bizarre aspect of the story is that the boy doesn’t want the two girls prosecuted. He still wants to be friends with them. There is now a great deal of controversy over whether the boy’s autism should affect the girls’ sentence, as no one is really sure how much of an effect it had on his decision making. While I was intelligent in some respects, I was incredibly naïve in others. If I was carrying something in each hand and needed to open a door, it would take me a second to think to put something down. Putting a shirt on required a strict routine – I would take the shirt, check what side the tag was on, lie the shirt face-down on my bed, stick my arms through the bottom, and wriggle around until I got it on. My mom tried to explain that I really didn’t need to put the shirt down on the bed, but I either didn’t understand or didn’t care. I had my routine, and I was going to stick to it. Routines were, and are, a sort of security blanket for me. Brushing my teeth? Get the toothbrush wet first. Taking a shower? Take it before bed, never in the mornings. My mother always said that God ran out of common sense, so he gave me two brains instead. As far as people with Asperger’s are concerned, rules are not meant to be broken, under any circumstances. Board games were always difficult for me, because no one ever seemed to play correctly. More recently, I’ve had issues with speed limits. I seem to be the only person who is willing to follow them, and as a result, huge lines of cars sometimes pile up behind me. I think to myself, “If they can’t bring themselves to follow the rules of the road, they just have to deal with it.” Yet I simultaneously feel like a jerk for plugging up a road full of people. Religion becomes a minefield of seemingly contradictory rules, leaving me thinking in useless circles that often make me want to give it up altogether. But, once again because of my obsession with rules, the very thought horrifies me. Life can be complicated when it’s difficult to think outside of black and white. Math has always been difficult due to rules that often have no obvious purpose, are not explained, or turn out to be altogether not true later on. A major component of autism is sensory discomfort. I took baths, not showers, for quite a long time because I hated when water would run down my face. I try to bring mechanical pencils or pens wherever I go, because the sound of a #2 pencil is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Crowds are a nightmare, not only because of the closeness but also because of the noise. It’s nearly impossible for me to “filter out” the conversations going on around me, which can become incredibly overwhelming. Just the sheer volume of a noise can put me off. I have to bring earplugs to most concerts. Even at home, I can never really tune out everyday ambiance. When I was younger, and I was particularly stressed at home, my mother would sometimes just wrap me up in a blanket like a cocoon. Summertime was the worst time of the year for me. All of my family and friends would be outside, and I wanted nothing less. I was horribly afraid of most flying insects. Flies scared me because of the noise they make (I have always had sensitive hearing), and bees and wasps scared me more than could ever be reasonable. If something starts crawling on me, forget it, I’ll panic. Having something buzzing around my head still makes me very uneasy. Today, I have overcome many of my more immediate and noticeable issues, but Autism fundamentally affects the way the brain functions. I can still seem somewhat cold and emotionless to others, and can sometimes come across as an insensitive prick – and sometimes, I really am. This will likely always be a point of confusion, frustration and sadness for me. One of the most claimed symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder is a lack of empathy. As someone who actually has the disorder, I have always been extremely hurt by this. I can understand why people believe this to be the case, but I am not un-empathetic. Far from it. In fact, a study from the science journal Molecular Autism recently found that people with Asperger’s Syndrome are likely to carry a specific variation of a gene related to empathy. The DSM-V did not even include a lack of empathy as a symptom for autism spectrum disorder. Yes, I have trouble showing people that I care about their problems. And yet I seem to recognize how people are feeling before most. If they are someone I know well, it will likely affect my own mood. Once I know someone well, I can understand what frustrates them, what scares them, what they enjoy. At that point, I do care about them. I just can’t do anything about it. I’m not sure how to react. If someone’s sad about something, do I try explaining my point of view on the situation? Should I try comforting them somehow? If I attempt to help, I’ll usually say something wrong and make the situation worse, so I try to just be there. I may not seem like I care, but if they’re willing to talk to me, I’ll listen forever, and maybe I’ll say something If I understand well enough. I’d rather someone tell me what the issue is then have to worry about them, because people on the spectrum tend to internalize the negative moods of others. If two people in a room are arguing, there’s a good chance I’ll just get as far away as I can. Recently, people have become wearier of aspies, for good reason. Adam Lanza, the teen who committed the Newtown massacre, had AS. Looking for something to blame, the media was quick to note that Lanza had the disorder. Some worry that aspies will now be seen as cold, murderous individuals. The fault in that logic is that nowhere is violence mentioned as a direct symptom of Asperger’s. Most young children with AS will throw more tantrums than most, but it’s not their disorder that causes the issue, it’s the frustration that everyday life causes. We learn to deal with frustration just as others do, and as we overcome our symptoms, it becomes less frequent. That’s not to say that it’s impossible for someone with Asperger’s to become violent, as Lanza’s case shows. If an aspie does become violent, it’s because they feel as though they have been seriously offended in some way, and that everyone should know it. There were times in years past when I would have to remove myself from games of monopoly because I knew the rules weren’t being followed to the letter. The most difficult aspect of Asperger’s Disorder is that as far as anyone can tell, it never truly goes away. The symptoms can be masked and worked around, but aspies are always working harder than average just to seem, well, average. Asperger’s can be exhausting and incredibly disheartening when the symptoms and consequences still show through after so much work. Very few aspies manage to reach their full potential, because navigating through everyday life can sometimes be difficult. When they do reach their full potential, they sometimes go on to reach incredible goals. Asperger’s Syndrome is a fairly new concept, so it’s impossible to know for sure, but people from Albert Einstein to Abraham Lincoln have been suggested to have Asperger’s. So many of the people who have affected history were known to be eccentric, socially awkward, and single – minded that it’s nearly impossible not to imagine that Asperger’s can be a blessing as well as a curse. Teenagers often use the phrase “you just don’t get it” when arguing with their parents. They forget that their parents were once teenagers, too, and that teenagers will always be teenagers, no matter what generation they’re a part of. I, too, have said “you just don’t get it”. In fact, I’ve probably said it more than most. When I was younger, I actually convinced myself that my parents were spies, or aliens. Maybe I’m the alien, I thought – maybe my real family is waiting for me in some other world, a different planet or even a different dimension. I cannot count how many times I dreamed of some other world where no one was selfish, where everyone could speak their mind without fear of being ridiculed or ignored entirely, only to wake up and realize that I’m still stuck here on Earth. I wouldn’t say “you just don’t get it” blindly, I would say so after realizing that quite literally no one understood a word I was saying. I often get the feeling that many people are incapable of truly caring about someone else; that they operate entirely on their own selfish desires. There are times when I would actually rather be alone than with a group of people, because feeling as though no one really understands you just makes the loneliness worse. Most people with AS, including me, live with the profound feeling that something is wrong with the world, and sometimes we hope to somehow fix it. So what do individuals with Asperger’s Disorder do with their lives? In a 1999 article for the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Temple Grandin wrote a list of good and bad jobs for people on the Autism spectrum. She explained that people with autism usually have wonderful long-term memory, but sub-par short term memory. The list of bad jobs for people with Autism essentially includes all jobs which require keeping track of a great deal of information all at once, including food service or service dispatch. The list of good jobs is split into jobs for visual thinkers and non-visual thinkers. Visual thinkers on the autism spectrum are good candidates for jobs like drafting, computer animation, and commercial artwork. For people who are better with math, music and literature, jobs such as computer programming and library science. In the end, as with anyone, one person with an autism spectrum disorder may not be as sufficient at a particular job that another individual might be. For instance, if someone’s social impairment was especially pronounced, being a librarian might not be the best idea. Someone who doesn’t have good fine motor skills might not be able to handle programming because of all the typing that would be involved. The skills of the individual matter more than a mild psychiatric disorder. All that being said, it is still difficult for aspies to get and hold jobs. There are very few jobs where social interaction is not necessary, and job interviews will always be a part of the employment process. People on the spectrum may take employer’s questions too literally, and have trouble keeping eye contact with the interviewer, making them seem uninterested. Some bosses are simply jerks, and yelling at employees with Autism (as well as other employees around them) will only make the situation worse. Sometimes, just mentioning Asperger’s disorder ruins people’s chances of acquiring work. Yes, there are laws against that sort of behavior, but how do you prove discrimination? If the employer never specifically said “you have Asperger’s disorder, so we aren’t hiring you”, there’s no way of proving anything. Even jobs which could be considered “aspie friendly” can become overwhelming under the wrong circumstances, and sometimes co-workers just can’t seem to deal with people they don’t consider “normal”. That’s not to say that employers are obligated to tailor jobs to the individual, but it is to say that people need to stop being completely apathetic about the nature of the difficulties of someone with Autism. Challenge us, but at leas acknowledge that we may need longer to adjust to a situation. People with autism can be very efficient under the right conditions. Autism has been recognized for one-hundred and eighty years, but there have been people with abnormal minds for as long as humans have existed. Some of them may have been locked in mental institutions, some just seen as eccentric. They have all had to deal with a world built for “neurotypicals”. Surely they can be treated the same as any other human being. Everyone has issues; it’s only the degree to which the issue affects their lives that determines whether their issues can be given a name. Everyone’s issues are asking to be fixed, just some more than others. Individuals should be looked at individually, not as part of a category. We aren’t impaired. We are all just different.