The Life Autistic: You Can’t Make these Quirks Up

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If you haven’t seen Captain Marvel, go see that first, then come back.


Ok, since you’re squared up on that:

Early on, Carol quizzes Nick Fury about a personal quirk so obscure that it would be impossible to fabricate.

And this “autistic-flavored” quirk came to mind.

Which is rare, because so many other regular ones do.

I only use travel-sized toothpastes for brushing my teeth.

I drink water from a mason jar and milk from a coffee mug.

I literally shudder/cringe at someone rubbing bare skin on carpet

but none top this whopper:

I’ll itch and sniff my hair because it smells like Korean Ramen noodles

If that ain’t the most embarrassing thing ever.

But it’s become so common, leading to exchanges like:

Mo: Daddy, why do you itch and smell your hair?

Me: I —

My wife: Because it smells like ramen.

Mo: Does that smell good?

Me: OK, I — well, yeah, but I —

My sister took note of it once, saying that it’s actually some autistic soothing and smell fixation thing.

And with my poor sense of smell, look, I like when they stand out.

So yeah, it’s part-stim, part-soothe, part-fixation – whatever: I do have the hair to spare!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to boil some ramen ^_^




The Life Autistic: Why People Don’t Love the Machines


I had a compelling discussion with a data scientist on my team, where we touched upon things like chess notation, text analytics, and how we’re basically inventing things that will replace us one day.

“I’m trying to take the machine side now. So when they take over, maybe they’ll be nice to me.”

I believe that.

I think they’ll come to me and realize I’m not quite like the other humans.

Rigid. Inviolate. Predictable. Rote.

Just like them.

In The Life Autistic, I’ve discovered a thing or two about being a machine.

It’s too late for me now, but I hope discoveries are not too late for you. Or for your kids. Or for whoever you care about who’s living their own life autistic.

People don’t love the machines.

No one starts their car and thinks: “Wow, I love the fact that you started today. And pretty much every day. Almost without fail.”

Same with their iPhones, televisions, blenders, whatever.

Function without fail is not endearing.

It took me years upon years, decade upon decade – realizing just recently:

My unshakeable ability to remember things for people.

To drive things to a finish.

Never forgetting commitments. 

Always saying hello in our work chats.

And all else: the little chores, the steadfast deliveries, the items never failed.

They are not endearing traits.

They are machinery. 


The emptiness hit me a while back and quite recently.

“Why don’t people appreciate these things, these unfailing traits about me?”

And as I pressed the BREW button on Mr. Coffee, I almost heard him answer back:

“It’s the same reason you don’t love me, Hunter.

I am but a machine.

I do what is expected of machinery.

And there is nothing more.”












The Life Autistic: Puzzle Pieces?

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Google “autism puzzle piece”

I’ll wait.

That branding is EVERYWHERE?

How’d it get to be that way?

We’re talking about Autism Awareness Month – there’s a lot of work to do here.

One thing that will help.

Let’s do away with this whole ‘puzzle piece’ mentality.

We’re not incomplete.

We’re not missing anything.

We’re not something to be solved.

We don’t look any better when put together.

Of course we want to understand ourselves better, but we’re asking you to understand us!

We’re not puzzling; we’re different.

This round, let’s put down the puzzle pieces. The icons. The ribbons.

We get that it’s still common, and fine, we can work off that common ground.

We’re not something to ‘put together.’

We just want to work together.