look me in the eye-john elder robison

augusten burroughs is a lie. ok cool, sunday sensationalism aside-it’s an assumed name. this book is the story of his big brother and his life with asperger’s. i’m not quite sure how this one got onto my list, either, but it might have been the scientific american podcast, or something podcast-related, one of the libraries’ or npr books….however it happened, i’m glad. dood was kind of the devil, right? i’m not sure if it’s a teenage thing, or a social outcast thing, but some of the pranks that he came up with were really elaborate and mean. but that’s what makes for good reading. here’s what he tells his kid about santa claus:

“Because Santa skims some of the toys he’s supposed to give away, selling them on the black market in Russia and Mongolia, places where they don’t have Christmas. Toymakers donate stuff to Santa on the condition that he gives them all away, and he’s not supposed to sell toys. But he’s got a drinking problem and he can’t help himself.” (230)

i mean, damn. my recent analogy that santa is the template of deadbeat dads everywhere-daddy just comes around one night of the year to drop off a gift, and you don’t even see him because he has to jet in the night to give presents to all his other children that he doesn’t see either…is at least a little sympathetic to the man who probably has diabetes due to the fact that he just binges on cookies, not to mention the carbon footprint he leaves…but the above is on some next level shit.

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2 thoughts on “look me in the eye-john elder robison

  1. the temple of his familiar:

    “In some ways, the grown-ups around me had actually kept me from figuring this out sooner. Adults-almost all family members or friends of my parents-would approach me and say something to start a conversation. If my response made no sense, they never told me. They just played along. So I never learned how to carry on a conversation from talking to grown-ups, because they just adapted to whatever I said. Kids, on the other hand, got mad or frustrated.” (21)

    “Snort was getting bigger, too. He had learned how to sit up on his own, and he crawled around after me. He lived in a pen with rubber mesh sides. I took him out when he yelled and if he became a pest I put him back. Occasionally, I would flip his pen upside down so Snort was in a jail with a roof. He didn’t like that.” (25)

    “People die every minute, all over the world. If we tried to feel sorry for every death, our little hearts would explode.” (31)

    “As a logical thinker, I cannot help thinking, based on the evidence, that many people who exhibit dramatic reactions to bad news involving strangers are hypocrites. That troubles me. People like that hear bad news from across the world, and they burst into wails and tears as though their own children have just been run over by a bus. To me, they don’t seem very different from actors and actresses-they are able to burst into tears on command, but does it really mean anything?” (32)

    “Soon he would be too big to call Varmint. I would need to think of a new name for him. Chris, the name he came with, would never do.” (150)

    “My conversational difficulties highlight a problem Aspergians face every day. A person with an obvious disability-for example, someone in a wheelchair-is treated compassionately because his handicap is obvious. No one turns a guy in a wheelchair and says, ‘Quick! Let’s run across the street!’ And when he can’t run across the street, no one says, ‘What’s his problem?’ They offer to help him across the street.
    With me, though, there is no external sign that I am conversationally handicapped. So folks hear some conversational misstep and say, ‘What an arrogant jerk!’ I look forward to the day when my handicap will afford me the same respect accorded to a guy in a wheelchair. And if the respect comes with a preferred parking space, I won’t turn it down.
    Woof!” (194)

  2. just like music:

    “He had no comment at all about why a guy like me might have a big revolver in a gold briefcase. We all had guns. That was Florida in 1979. And with that, the deputy left.” (162)

    “By 1980, my special-effects guitars were a regular part of the show. Each of hey guys had a gimmick. Gene flew through the air and spat fire and blood. He also played a bass that was shaped like a bloody battle-ax. Paul had the eye, and a mirrored Ibanez guitar that reflected the spotlights. And Ace had my customized Les Paul guitars. Every show, he would start into Mick Jagger’s ‘2000 Man’ playing a stock black Les Paul guitar. Halfway through he would step to the edge of the stage and swap guitars for the black smoker. He’d begin playing his solo, and in the middle of it he’d twist the know that set off the smoke bomb and the lights. Ace’s projector lamp threw a square of light all the way to the back of the hall, and smoke poured from the hole. The guitar really looked like it had caught on fire.
    You could tell when Ace lit the smoking guitar just by listening to the audience. They loved it. We knew many KISS fans came for the spectacle, and I did my best not to disappoint them.” (168)

    “I don’t know if it’s an Asperian trait, or if it’s just me, but I was never affected by celebrity. No matter how famous a musician was, he was just a guy with a broken guitar or an idea for a sound effect to me. But I could never explain that simple reality to other people.” (141)

    “As a young adult, I was lucky to discover and join the world of musicians and soundmen and special-effects people. People in those lines of work expect to deal with eccentric people. I was smart, I was capable, and I was creative, and for them that was good enough.
    In some ways, it was a mistake for me to have left that world, because I was accepted and made to feel welcome there, something I seldom felt in corporate life. But I could not afford to keep moving ahead with my work in electronics with my nonexistent resources. I had to get a job.” (211)

    “It’s been a good trade. Creative genius never helped me make friends, and it certainly didn’t make me happy. My life today is immeasurably happier, richer, and fuller as a result of my brain’s continuing development.” (210)

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