Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The good times are killing me.

This week’s shaping up nicely. Not only is this a four-day week, but three of those four days will be sans my co-worker, The Bobbleheaded Wolfman. Oh joy. I might actually be able to tolerate the sheer insanity of my daily workload.

Dog bite is clearing up nicely if not slowly. The swelling has diminished. My bruises are lovely little watercolor rainbows of purple, blue, yellow and green. Never having had puncture wounds before, I was a little dismayed when after three days the bite marks were not scabbing over. Attacking them with peroxide twice a day seems to have worked because the band-aids aren’t as juicy (Yum! Yum!) when removed.

I’ve been enjoying the shocked reactions I get upon telling people (and subsequently showing them my wound) I got bit by a dog. Suggestions for protection from future attacks when I run included carrying a stick, a collapsible baton, a taser, or my gun. It’s more likely that I would injure myself with said forms of protection while running than actually defend myself from any impending attack. For now, I’m taking my chances. Plus I’m skipping Dog Attack Street on my runs.

Sunday night, I engaged in an interesting discussion with my in-laws. As with most discussions we have, I learn that they have wildly different viewpoints on life and such from my own. They are definitely members of the Assign Blame Tribe. For example, my father-in-law decided that after watching a television program that his youngest brother, otherwise know as The Family Fuckup, is in fact a “high functioning autistic”. Apparently, according to my father-in-law his brother hadsall these symptoms and characteristics of a “high functioning autistic”, and therefore that must be why his life’s screwed up, his kid’s all screwed up, and why he sported a scary Hilter-esque mustache for a brief period of time.

Well, for one I’m always suspect of opinions formed after watching something on TV. It’s a highly deceitful and manipulative medium. Secondly, while I recognize that autism is a real and highly complex disease, I am beginning to think that it’s becoming the next ADHD. Any time someone, particularly a child, is behaving outside of the socially accepted norm or interacting in a manner different than the average person, the word “autism” is bandied about.

From what little I’ve read about autism, the talking heads who advocate its frequent diagnosis are now saying that such great minds like Einstein and Mozart were probably autistic. Man, that’s like the freaking Mormons trying to retro-baptize people like Anne Frank and Albert Schweitzer. Thank God Mozart or Einstein weren’t born in this day and age where at the first sign of an autistic-like mannerism in childhood and they would have been shipped off to some school or medicated or just flat out regarded as having some mental handicap. Would they have created such great works or developed their theories had they been treated as autistic by educators and family?

Anyway, what I found interesting about my father-in-law’s comment about his brother was the fact that he was looking for someone or something to blame for everything about his brother that doesn’t fit. As if attaching a disease to whatever his brother does wrong somehow magically excuses him of any wrongdoing. Instead of just saying that he’s a fuck up, by now saying he’s a “high functioning autistic” he’s somehow okay. He’s got a disease, he can’t help it, and it’s not his fault, whatever. My father-in-law can’t accept the fact that maybe his brother’s just not responsible or mature, but can accept that he has some mental handicap. That makes it okay for him to fuck up because he can’t help it. He’s autistic.

While I found my father-in-law’s revelation intriguing and mildly disturbing, his desire to assign to every anomaly in life a guilty party does not surprise me. His wife wanted me to admit that my perfectionism is attributed my being an only child. As if somehow I should blame my parents for making me a perfectionist because they didn’t have any more children. No, I am a perfectionist because that’s what I am. It’s my personality. Plus, why is perfectionism a negative attribute? I happen to like being a perfectionist. It’s maddening at times, but it’s who I am.

My mom and I have already decided that had my dad (and possibly myself) been a child in this modern age he would have been deemed ADHD and hopped up on pills. I am waiting for the near future when we are all attempting to eradicate the “weird” or “unacceptable” facets of our personalities with diagnoses of mental illness and the properly assigned drugs. What then will become “normal”? Will a constant state of mental numbness be preferred over learning to live with our quirks and tics?

Brave New World indeed. Let's all rush out for our prescription of Gleaminex.

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