I just received some emails that had been sent to me by highschoolboy from a comedy website that he likes to read. They were sarcastic, bombastic and just plain old-fashioned fun. These emails linked to pages that parodied parodies, skewered pundits and satirized religious zealots. Whoever said that aspie’s don’t have a sense of humor never lived with and aspie. I think it comes down to the same thinking about lieing. The powers that be, the psychiatric community, have decided that our children lack the social and inferential knowledge to understand humor. They say it takes an advanced sense of societal norms to know when something is funny. I guess they never saw the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers. Funny? Hell yes. Highbrow sophisticated? I don’t think so. Perhaps it’s the psychiatric community that quite frankly doesn’t get it, our children I mean.
Highschoolboy has the most advanced sense of humor. His favorite book is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You have read that his favorite number is 42; the answer to life, the universe and everything. His gym locker has to be number 42, and when you ask him a question that he just doesn’t want to answer he gives the answer as 42. Of course at those times, it comes along with a wee-bit of an impish smile and a chuckling under his breath. He has begun to read the sequel to Hitchhiker’s Guide. He carries it with him everywhere, even reading it at bowling team practice. His teacher commented that she had never seen anyone bowl while holding a book. He didn’t want to lose the page. Of course he got a strike while holding the book. So he continued to bowl that way the entire night, got his best score ever. Highschoolboy does march to the tune of his own drummer.
Now does the humor attributes apply to collegeman as well? He has been trying his hardest to make me laugh since the fractal mole episode with his brother. It is constant jokes and puns and silly expressions and slightly rude retorts. Unfortunately nothing has struck me as falling down, side splitting laugh til you cry funny. But he keeps at it. Even on the new chore board in his room, he writes a note to me that is sarcastic, having nothing to do with his chores. He watches the board, hiding in wait to see if he can elicit the laugh that he so desperately wants. I wrote an obnoxious note back to him, and I actually got a laugh from him. Now that was fun. (I am not being mean; it just hasn’t been one of those extreme ha-ha moments yet.)
I have to say that one of the best times we have together is watching The Big Bang Theory. The story about aspie roommates living across from a beautiful blond, and how they all mesh together to create this very ‘oh my God that is my life” scenario. (At least that is how I feel every week when watching that show. ) Anyway, collegeman loves the show. Whatever he is doing he will stop and watch. In fact don’t get in his way or he will run you over to get to the television. He absolutely adores Sheldon. Thinks he is the bomb, possibly the funniest character alive. I know it is identification; here is a character like him. Someone who has schedules, rules, an acute understanding of reality but seems lost in the normal day to day world and someone with all these issues who can be successful and happy with his life and funny to boot. Apart from Sheldon’s extreme pedantic use of language which collegeman just adores but can’t imitate, they really are very similar. ( In truth, we associate Sheldon’s pedantic language and totally anal existence more with highschoolboy.) I also think the best part for collegeman is that the non-sports playing, totally nerdy, aspie does get the beautiful blond rather than any of her hunky friends. (Collegeman’s life skills coach told me that he has this group of beautiful girls who like to say “hi” to him in that very giggly teenage girl way. Yes he says “hi” back. You bet I asked.)
So what does this mean for your child? Simply put, you bet they get humor. They understand it, they create it and they revel in it. They take as much joy from inanity, irony and sarcasm as the rest of the world. They love life like any other person. They deal with its issues, but even better than that they learn like all humans to laugh with others and at themselves. Now that is understanding the social construct. Psychology community- 42.