The Life Autistic: Living with Obsessions and Enthusiasms

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I used to be a strange boy with strange obsessions.

I still am, but I used to be, too.

It can’t be helped. It’s one of those markers of The Life Autistic, where you just hyper-obsess over something arcane, mundane, maybe a little odd.

For me, it was many things.

Cameras. LEGO sets. Beanie Babies. Watches. Chess. Left Behind books. Countries.

But the strangest of all: Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

I don’t know why. I never know why.

But back in WWTBAM heyday, I delved into the minutae of game shows, contestants, record winnings, facts about the show.

Rarely the trivia though.

That’s kind of the thing: back during my camera fix, I didn’t care much about photography, but rather makes and models and variants and formats of camera.

And for Who Wants to be a Millionaire, I picked up some good trivia skills, but only as they related to things like “One-Day Money Records on Jeopardy,” or “Answers Worth Over a Million Dollars on Game Shows.”

I had hopes, too, that I’d be the first winner on Kid Millionaire, a show that didn’t exist.

So what are the autistic obsessions and enthusiasms like?

Imagine being compelled to learn every single thing, every detailencyclopedically broad, expertly deep on the most impractical aspect of a subject.

Say it’s math. 

But not, like, “doing math,” but learning about its history, functions, luminaries, formulae, theory — and then stumbling when it comes to working out a differential equation.

It’s as silly and unhelpful as it gets when it comes to a functional subject.

That’s The Life Autistic.

So yeah, I can tell you that Dan Blonsky was the 2nd winner of Millionaire, or that Rahim Oberholtzer was one of the youngest game show millionaires, which he won on a short lived revival of Twenty One.

But throw me in a quiz bowl and I’ll probably drown. Unless the topic is Game Show Facts, Trivial and Arcane

Oh yeah, that’s a signed copy of TV Guide from Regis Philbin himself.


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