Posts by Autistickish

After bulling my way through Life's china shop, I finally got diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of fifty-three.

Thank You! — An Open Letter to Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison

Dear Sheriff Harrison,

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Image Credit: Pixabay

I wish to express my gratitude for the outstanding professionalism and humanitarianism demonstrated not just by your Detention Officers at the Wake County Detention Center on Hammond Road and my own arresting officers of the Cary Police Department, but equally for the kindness, helpfulness, and camaraderie of my fellow arrestees and the few inmates I had the pleasure to meet. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting before my arrest, but it certainly didn’t include any of that, and I must tell you that I was quite pleasantly surprised to discover it as part of the overall arrest/booking/charging experience.

Now, before I convey the wrong impression, I should tell you that despite that very pleasant surprise, overall I actually found thoroughly unpleasant the 13 or so hours between the moment the cuffs were placed on me at about 9:00 AM Friday morning and the moment I was finally granted release at 10:00 PM Friday night. Although as it began I was quite curious about what would happen next, it only took about two hours for my curiosity to be completely gratified, and then it all became thoroughly unpleasant. Although the anxiety was fairly mild, the 11 hours of uncertainty and chilly, gelatinous boredom were all but excruciating.

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Although my own jail experience involved clothing, plenty of light, and absolutely no bars whatsoever, this picture does convey the intense boredom I felt for, like, 11 hours! Image Credit: Shutterstock

I tried to transform it all into a kind of meditation retreat, but my meditation skills are sorely lacking. For the most part I was bored, bored, bored. Oh, my goodness, the boredom. If that’s all by design, then kudos to the designers. Eleven hours of sitting or standing around in a jail cell with a bunch of other equally bored arrestees, all of us waiting, waiting, waiting for the next step in the process, or at least for information about when it might take place.

That is actually not a complaint, by the way. I wish to express my gratitude even for that aspect of things. I think jail should definitely not be seen as pleasant. Really nobody should enjoy jail. Of course, nobody should be gratuitously tortured — even psychologically — but I see nothing wrong with boredom, even though I find it very uncomfortable. I actually think perhaps the best time to meditate is when one is bored, so when we bore prisoners, we’re actually giving them a chance to practice meditation, which is a good thing, I think, and could lead to less crime, to the extent that the prisoners accept the opportunity to practice mediation.

Of course, I realize that’s easy to say from the comfort of my own home, but still, as I reflect back on it all, I have to say that I find myself actually looking forward to going back to jail for more of the same. I am actually excited about my upcoming trial, and half hoping that I lose badly. Part of me seriously wants the full Orange Is the New Black experience. Naturally I’d write my own memoir. I even have a possible title for it already: How to Help Save the World and Make An Honest Living as an Ex-Con.

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To be clear: I’m only half-hoping for that. I actually have plenty enough to write about, so the possible 3-months maximum sentence I could receive is definitely not something I really need. And of course there are many ways in which even a brief period of incarceration or a small fine would be extremely inconvenient for me and my family. I’m not too concerned with the criminal record I would have (this is probably an autism thing, but I actually feel proud of my new arrest record, and will probably feel even more proud of an actual convinction record) but I do have two young children whom I love dearly, would miss terribly while I was away, and who would no doubt suffer from my absence. And of course, their mother would suffer too. Obviously, she needs my help to take care of our children.

So…there’s that too. I guess my real point here is that I’m feeling quite ambivalent about the outcome of my upcoming trial. However much I may actually want to lose, I also have a lot of good solid reasons for winning too. I’m not quite sure yet what to make of all that, but I suppose “time will tell”, as they say.

But what I’m not ambivalent about is my gratitude for all that I experienced last Friday as a result of my charges (“Breaking and Entering”), my arrest, and my day at your Wake County Detention Center.

Once again, I thank you, your staff, the Cary Police Department, and everybody else who helped make the day such an amazing one for me — including the inmates and my fellow arrestees.

Sincerely,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”


Image Credit: Pictures of Sheriff Donnie Harrison can be found on the Sheriffs official campaign website.

 

Busted: I Got Arrested Yesterday!

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I spent all day yesterday (Friday) at the Wake County Detention Center in Cary, NC getting booked and charged with misdemeanor B&E. Image Credit: Cornerstone Detention

I have a lot more I want to tell you about this, but for now suffice it to say that I actually got arrested yesterday and spent the whole day in the Wake County (NC) Detention Center getting booked and charged with misdemeanor Breaking and Entering.

The charge is greatly exaggerated, really. Although I definitely did enter MetLife’s new Global Tech & Ops center in Cary, NC (where I used to work before the company fired me for being autistic), there was really no “breaking” involved. The company’s security system there is just so awful that all I had to do was politely “tail gate” my way in behind a couple of MetLife employees who chose blithely to ignore the company’s doomed and ridiculous “no tailgating” policy. There’s nothing at all unusual about the fact that these employees chose not to ask me to produce an ID badge. All MetLife employees at the Cary facility refuse to follow this policy. It’s a total joke of a rule, and in fact, the whole “no tailgating” approach to building security is a fine case study in bad behavioral economics just waiting for some clever innovator to come up with a good nudge to replace it.

[Note: If you actually do consistently follow your own company’s “no tailgating” policy, please let me know in a comment below.]

I have much more I want to tell you about this whole experience, and to show you too because I recorded every minute of what I actually did in the MetLife buildings on my GoPro Hero5 Black action camera. But for now I’ll leave you with this brief video in which Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison gives a nice virtual tour of the Wake County Detention Center where I spent yesterday. In particular, I definitely feel I personally witnessed the kind and compassionate characteristics of the detention officers working there, as Sheriff Harrison describes starting at minute 1:48:

“…It takes a unique person to be a detention officer because you’re dealing with people that’s made mistakes. Some of the people that they see they only see one time, they made a mistake and wound up coming to jail,…but then again there’s people that they see on a regular basis….it takes an officer that’s got to be professional, got to know the policy and procedure, do his job, do it professionally, do it humanely, and treat the person knowing that he is a human being….just like anybody else…..” Donnie Harrison, Sheriff, Wake County, NC (min 1:48)


Image Credit: (Daniel L. Scholten) Busted Newspaper

Agenda: A First Open Letter to the Mysterious Mr. Phicks

Hello Mr. Phicks,

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Even though it makes it seem cool, this is not intended as an endorsement of smoking. Nor is it a picture of the mysterious Mr. Phicks. Image Credit: Pixabay

Thank you for accepting to continue our conversation later this morning. I realize that now that I’ve given back your client’s laptop, this is all basically volunteer work for you, so I want to do want I can to make it worth your while. Toward that end I will sketch out here an agenda for our meeting, although I hope you will see this purely as a recommendation and feel free to modify it or even just to set it aside in favor of other discussion points that may be more important for you.

  1. For training and quality assurance purposes, I would like to record our conversation and possibly to post either the whole recording or segments of it on my personal blog at autistickish.com. I also wish to write about our conversation and to post what I write there as well. I believe our conversation presents a valuable learning opportunity, not just for the two of us, but for others as well, and I would like to make this opportunity publicly available to others. Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns or reservations about my doing this. In order to protect your anonymity (if such a thing is necessary), I have assigned you the pseudonym “Mr. Phicks” and will refer to you as such during our conversation and in my writing.
  2. I’m attaching two documents which I hope to discuss with you. The first is the EEOC mediation agreement I signed on April 24, 2017 alongside MetLife’s contracted Seyfarth Shaw attorney Frederick “Fritz” T. Smith; and the second is the Settlement Agreement that MetLife has asked me to sign last March, 2018 in exchange for $37,000.00. Please note that I have not yet signed the settlement agreement or received any money from MetLife.
  3. Please note as well that in the EEOC mediation agreement MetLife makes at least the following two promises which remain unfulfilled due to the fact that the company fired me for being autistic before they had a chance to fulfill them:
    1. That I would be assigned a new role within 1 to 3 months;
    2. That MetLife would work with my Autism specialist to determine the correct Reasonable Accommodations I needed in order to be successful at my job.
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I know Mr. Phicks is a busy man, but this is not a picture of him looking at his watch. Image Credit: Pixabay

My hope is that the above 3 items will provide us both with plenty of opportunity for an illuminating exchange, but please feel free to suggests other topics you might wish to cover.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Best,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”

 

 


Image Credit: (embedded brick statue) Pixabay.

 

 

 

 

Why I Gave Back that Laptop I Stole: Introducing, Mr. Phicks

Turns Out, Kindness Is My Kryptonite

laptop_with_other_objects_323x210Remember that laptop I stole from the most recent company that fired me for being autistic? Well, I decided to give it back.

I know, right? What happened? Did my civilly disobedient cyber-crime actually work? Did I get cold feet? Did the FBI raid my apartment? Did I succumb to torture? Am I now writing to you from a prison cell?

Uh…no, none of that happened. What happened, basically, is that some guy — let’s call him Mr. Phicks — called me up, explained that he represented my most recent employer (the owner of the laptop),  and then asked me kindly to give back the computer.

Then I pretty much just said “OK”, and gave it back to him.

For the most part, that’s what happened. I’ve left out a few details in that telling, but at the end of the day, that’s pretty much the size of it.

Now, the missing details can all be packed into that word kindly that I used to describe how Mr. Phicks asked me to give back the computer. He asked me kindly, by which I mean that he seemed genuinely concerned about me and my troubles and sincerely interested in understanding my tale of woe — including all the stuff that happened with MetLife. We actually spoke for about a half-an-hour, during which he really listened and expressed a genuine interest in helping me. He was warm, friendly, honest — i.e., he was kind to me. He was a really nice guy about it, and in the end I found it impossible to refuse his request to give back the laptop.

Turns out, Kindness has an effect on me something like Kryponite affects Superman.

And how do I know he was being sincere? Well, at first I didn’t, but I decided to take a chance and trust the guy. He assured me that if I gave back the laptop, it did not have to be the end of our conversation. He said we could certainly continue our conversation and that he’d be happy to help me explore other solutions to the problems I need to solve.

And I decided that the opportunity to talk things over with Mr. Phicks was much, much more attractive than going to jail for stealing a laptop, so I accepted his offer and returned the laptop.

Well, that was a couple of weeks ago, and now tomorrow morning we are scheduled to speak again. I have no idea what to expect from the conversation. Maybe nothing will come of it, but maybe something will.

I’m really curious to find out. 🙂


Image Credit: (olive branch) Pixabay

 

 

 

Does MetLife Really Reject Autism, but Accept Man-on-Man Sodomy? — An Open Letter to MetLife Exec Geoffrey Lang

Trigger Warning

Although I do know the basic rules and make every effort to follow them, I should confess here that on occasion I’m not 100% certain that I use semi-colons correctly.

Hello Mr. Lang,

Back sometime before you all fired me illegally for being autistic last year, I remember reading an internal memo in which you publicly declared yourself to be an “ally” to MetLife’s LGBT community.

At the time I understood this gesture of yours to be a sincere and altruistic expression not just of your own humanitarian values, but in fact part of MetLife’s own more general Diversity & Inclusion efforts,

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Image Credit: MetLife blog

and in particular the company’s own public embrace[1] of the increasingly popular but by no means universally accepted idea that a person’s atypical sexual preference and/or gender identity should in no way prevent their being considered and treated as a legitimate human being worthy of the same dignity, respect, and human rights traditionally granted most readily here in the USA to straight white men and perhaps their luckier sycophants, idolaters, and imitators.

But then you all fired me for being autistic — a psychologically debilitating, emotional meat-grinder of an ordeal that was so very harsh on me and my family that I have actually described it as a form of gang rape — and now I don’t know what to think of your apparent “alliance” with LGBT people.

On the one hand, it seems to me at the very least that being such an ally must mean that you find it perfectly acceptable, say, for two grown men to engage in consensual sodomy (a.k.a. “butt-fucking”). Perhaps not during business meetings, of course, but certainly at home in the privacy of their own bedroom (see photo).

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If MetLife can accept the sort of behavior pictured here, then the company should find it easy to accept Autism. Image Credit: Icon Male

Although the acceptance of a male professional colleague’s fondness for “taking it up the ass” (see photo) is for sure just one aspect to your commitment as an LGBT ally, I figure at the very least it is an important one. Surely you’d be the most pathetic sort of ally if you conditioned your support and endorsement of consensual and mutually gratifying homo-eroticism on the promise that gay men stop poking their penises in and out of each others’ “poop-chutes” (see photo, again).

If I’m right about that and you really do think man-on-man sodomy is acceptable, and given that a hefty percentage of the World’s human beings believe fiercely to the contrary that such acts are highly unacceptable, then really you’d have to be petroleum jelly not to recognize the egregious hypocrisy of the decision you all made last year to fire me for being autistic.

Yes, yes, I know. That is not the narrative you want everyone to believe. You want the world to believe it was somehow all my doing — that I deserved to get fired. You want the world to believe that a lone autistic man’s so-called “inappropriate” and “unprofessional” behavior so totally overwhelmed the coping resources of a billion-dollar multi-national insurance company like MetLife, that the poor, defenseless billion-dollar multi-national insurance company (MetLife) had no choice but to sack the lone autistic man (me).

Bullshit.  You don’t even believe it yourself, which is why you all tried (and failed) to buy my silence with $37,000.00 and why your Seyfarth Shaw lawyer had to lie to the EEOC investigators about the facts of what really happened. He had to lie, because had he told the simple truth, MetLife would have gotten caught (with it’s pants down, so to speak).

You guys fired me for being autistic. Period. You know it as well as I do. And I’m not going to be silent about it.

But then, apparently, you’re all totally at ease with a little frolicksome fudge-packing?

You do realize that lots of people think sodomy is just downright disgusting, right? You do know that lots of people — no doubt lots of MetLife customers even — find it positively abhorrent, do you not? You have to be aware that some people find sodomy so very evil that they’re actually willing to beat, torture, and murder gay men in retaliation for doing it?

For many, many people in the world consensual man-on-man sodomy is horribly unacceptable, but somehow you and MetLife are all OK with it. Somehow you and MetLife are OK with sodomy, but Autism is just too much for the company to handle.

Did I get that right? Did I understand that correctly?

Sincerely,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”


[1]For example, here is an exuberantly LGBT-friendly MetLife propaganda video. In my opinion it should be called Bring Your Whole Self To Work, As Long As You’re Not Autistic.

I Don’t Know What You Mean by ‘Character Flaw’, and Honestly, I Don’t Think You Do Either: An Open Letter to the World’s Character Assassins

Dear Character Assassin,

 

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Have you perhaps mistaken a psychiatric disability for a character flaw? Image Credit: Pixabay

I really don’t know what you mean by character flaw, and honestly, I don’t think you do either.

Based on my numerous encounters with you and your kind, you at least seem to think that a character flaw is a kind of psychiatric disability that has been caused by showing the disabled person too much kindness, compassion, and respect. And apparently you believe that effective treatments for such an affliction include plenty of scowling, growling, condescension, unsolicited advice, disapproving glances askance, disdain, sarcasm, whispered gossip, and unexplained passive-aggression and rejection.

Is that right? Did I understand that correctly? Is that really what you think?

If that’s the case, then you may want to re-think your position on the matter, because a psychiatric disability is definitely not a character flaw.

And the above mentioned “treatments” for it aren’t helpful.


Image Credit: (eye) Pixabay