Saturday, March 3, 2012

Autism Diaries XXXIII: J as editor, provocateur, and philosopher

The practical jokester:

Take your sister's shoes out of the closet, pull the laces as tight as possible, and tie two really tight knots at the base of the laces, just above the top lace hole.

(Somehow this seems like a standard practical joke, but I've never seen it written up anywhere).

Keep your face straight afterwards and deny all wrong doing.

The editor:

I've never edited Wikipedia before, but noticed recently that some of the articles I'd assigned to my class had some embarrassing typos in them. No big deal, I thought; I'll just click [edit page] and edit them away. Instead a notice popped up saying that my i.p. address had been banned from editing Wikipedia.

Apparently J. has returned to his old editing habits--which ranged from such inoccuous edits as adding "some beachhouses have ceiling fans" to Wikipedia's "beachhouse" page, to more draconian ones like deleting Wikipedia's "delete key" page.

The provocateur:

He helped clean up the trash around his school on Martin Luther King Day, but couldn't help asking me beforehand what would happen if he yelled "Whites Only" during the event.

The introspector:

"Sometimes when I want to do something bad part of my brain says 'no' because it knows I will get in trouble."

Whereupon I praise him for the good voices in his head.

The metaphysician:

"If electricity prefers metal, why do people get a shock if they touch a wire?"

Unsure of the answer, I instead introduce the term anthropomorphize and ask "Does electricity have feelings?"

"No."

"Do your cells have feelings?"

"No."

"Do your brain cells have feelings?"

Without missing a beat, he gets my drift. "One brain cell does not have feelings. Many brain cells together have feelings."

Ah, he's grasped emergent properties. Time to teach him that term as well.

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