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

 

 

 

The Zipper Merge

I just came across this video. For years I have been “that guy” who actually drives the full length of the remaining available right lane before merging into the left. I’ve never been able to articulate why this is actually the correct and polite thing to do, but this video does a great job.

Or Should I Say: Autism Is Like When Your Car’s Steering Wheel Is Perfectly Balanced, And All The Roads Are Curved…

…and whether the roads curve a little or a lot, you must always adjust for their curvature, and nobody should be shocked if sooner or later you land in a ditch.

Sincere Apologies For Yesterday’s Ableist Version

I wish to apologize for yesterday’s ableist version of this post, which by  putting the source of the need for adjustment in the “unbalanced steering wheel”, suggested implicitly that there’s something wrong with being autistic. Although I must admit that I was aware of the problem even when I posted it yesterday, I’m frankly so enamored with the analogy, and believe it to be so useful that I thought it was worth posting anyway.

In any case, I hope you will agree that today’s version of this analogy actually does a much better job at what it’s supposed to do — illustrating some core and problematic issues with autism (it’s is only a “problem” because all of the roads are curved), while simultaneously pointing toward effective solutions (i.e. straight roads!) , and it does so without the implicit ableism.

However, I’m not going to take down yesterday’s post, because I think that a comparison of the two does a nice job of illustrating some core issues with ableism. I will, however, add a disclaimer to that post.

I sincerely beg your pardon for my confusion.

🙂

Autism Is Like When Your Car Has An Unbalanced Steering Wheel…

…whether it pulls a little or a lot to one side, you must always adjust for the pull, and nobody should be shocked if sooner or later you land in a ditch.

Disclaimer

Although I think the core analogy is sound and quite useful, this version of it, by putting the source of the need for adjustment in the “unbalanced steering wheel”, suggests implicitly that there’s something wrong with being autistic. The day after posting the above, I wrote a much better, non-ableist version of the analogy. I have decided not, however, do delete this version, because I think a comparison of the two does a nice job of explaining some core problems with ableism.

Calling All Slackers: How to Get Paid and Save the World by Being Lazy, Ignorant, and Self-Entitled

two_boys_poverty_316x210Do you need money? Do you want to help save the world? Are you lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled? If so, then today is your lucky day, because I have recently invented an easy way to re-purpose your currently worthless and embarrassing slackritude into a powerful world-saving money-machine.

[Note: if you are just too educated, hard-working and humble to qualify as a slacker, then don’t despair. You can still use this method, but you probably won’t make as much money. But then again, you probably don’t need money because you have a real job, and in any case you can still feel good about helping to save the world.]

Slackers have always been a persecuted minority. Most of us despise slackers and see them as merely human-ish. They are forced to live in a world that reviles them, marginalizes them, insists that they work for a living like everybody else. Everywhere are advertising messages, movie characters, and other constant reminders that all so-called “real” human beings are hard-working, educated, and humble; and that slackers are somehow defective, inferior sub-human beings. Slackers are systematically denied opportunities to relax, enjoy, love, and really for no other reason than that they earnestly believe that the rest of us owe them a luxurious lifestyle.

If you are lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled (or simply want to save the world), then get ready to transform your life, turn the world on its head, and become the envy of everyone who is too proud to accept charity.

Introducing: Diversity Acceptance Consulting

Diversity Acceptance Consulting is a totally new profession that I am currently inventing  by myself (but only because I haven’t yet been able to entice anyone else to invent it with me). It is nothing less than a way to fix everything wrong with you by re-purposing or up-cycling it into a professional credential. Although in this post we are looking at the particular credential package of laziness, ignorance, and self-entitlement, literally anything and everything about you that may be viewed by others as weird, strange, foreign, yucky, gross, offensive, unattractive, inappropriate, or somehow undesirable can be used by you to do Diversity Acceptance Consulting, if you so choose.

Here’s how it might work if you are lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled:

Whenever a so-called “normal” person — educated, hard-working, humble — becomes aware of your lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled ways, they are presented with a wonderful opportunity to practice and develop their own ability to become aware of, understand, and accept someone they currently despise. But that way of describing it suggests that you as a slacker are somehow constrained to the role of passive bystander. With that way of viewing it, you’re just sort of there by accident, slouched on a couch littered with candy wrappers, binge watching Downton Abbey, and waiting for your soul-mate to break into your home and kidnap you; and whether the so-called “normal” person is even aware of this opportunity, and actually sees it as such is entirely up to him or her.

But you don’t have to be so passive. Even though you are a slacker, there is really nothing stopping you from taking an active role in the encounter. You can literally choose to take control over the situation and guide it proactively toward success. For example, you can simply tell the other person that your own slackrositous magnificence is an opportunity for them to practice and develop their ability to be aware of, understand, and accept boorish space-wasters such as yourself. For example, you might say to them something like,

poor-child_210x224Hello. I am a professional Diversity Acceptance Consultant, specializing in raising awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people who are lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled like I am. Basically, it’s my job to help hard-working, educated, and humble people such as yourself to become aware of, understand, and accept that people like me are perfectly normal human beings who just happen to be lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled. If you see value in your own ability to be tolerant towards people who are different from yourself, then you may wish to become one of my clients and pay me to help you further develop your own awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people like me.

Now, that’s really a hypothetical example. Here is the real deal:

If You Like This Idea, Please Pay Me For Sharing It With You

dscholten 8-8-15Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”, and I am a professional Diversity Acceptance Consultant, specializing in halitosis acceptance. What that means is that it is my job to help people such as yourself to become aware of, understand, and accept walrus breath as a perfectly normal part of the human experience. If you value your own ability to be tolerant towards people who are different from yourself, then you may wish to become one of my clients and to pay me to help you develop your own awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people struggling to survive with breath that can ruin photographs while living among people who can be french-kissed immediately upon waking.

If you would like to pay me for this service, which I provide to my clients in part by refusing to brush my teeth and by chewing plenty of fish oil capsules and raw garlic, then please visit my How to Hire Me Retroactively! page and follow the instructions there.

If You Really Like This Idea, So Very, Very Much That You Too Want To Get Paid And Save The World With Whatever Is Unique About You

If you love as much as I do this idea of Diversity Acceptance Consulting, and you want to get started in this profession, then this is your invitation to do so. And here is one basic way to do it (you are welcome to invent your own way):

  1. Identify your own specialty or specialties: make a list of everything you’re ashamed of, embarrassed about, etc. — the stuff that makes you weird, offensive, or otherwise rejectionable. These are your credentials as a Diversity Acceptance Consultant; this is your platform, your own unique area of expertise. Note: If you really can’t think of any reason that someone might reject you for, then you can use “in deep denial about how others see me” or maybe even manufacture the aforementioned halitosis credential by refusing to brush your teeth and chewing fish oil capsules and cloves of garlic on a regular basis. There are surely other credentials you can simply adopt as well.
  2. Take a proactive role in presenting your credentials to others as opportunities to increase their awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people who share your credential or credentials.
  3. Ask them to pay you for this service.

A few additional points: I view the development of the Diversity Acceptance Consulting profession as an open source project, by which I mean that nobody actually owns this amazing idea it, and anybody is free to contribute to its development and evolution, provided she or he does not try to take control over the project and turn it into some closed source thing.

Have fun, and let me know what you think!

diversity_heart_small

How to Get Paid and Save the World with Halitosis

man_blowing_smoke_315x210Do you need money? Do you want to help save the world? Do you have breath that sets off smoke alarms? Then today is your lucky day, because I have recently invented an easy way for you to turn that denticulated stink-hole beneath your nose into a powerful world-saving money-machine.

[Note: if you don’t already suffer from halitosis, you can still take advantage of this amazing opportunity simply by refusing to brush your teeth and chewing fish oil capsules and cloves of raw garlic on a regular basis like I do.]

People who suffer from chronic halitosis are still and always have been a persecuted minority. They are forced to live in a world that oppresses them, marginalizes them, reviles them. Everywhere are advertising messages and constant reminders that they are somehow defective, deficient, inferior sub-human beings. They are denied opportunities to work, play, and love, and really for no other reason than that they can cause gagging and eye-watering when surrounded by other people in an enclosed space such as an elevator, waiting room, or hockey arena.

horse_mouth_315x210If  you suffer from chronic halitosis (or simply want to), then get ready to transform your life, turn the world on its head, and become the envy of everyone who can’t knock a bird from the sky by yawning.

Introducing: Diversity Acceptance Consulting

Diversity Acceptance Consulting is a totally new profession. It is nothing less than a way to turn everything wrong with you into a professional credential. Although in this post we are looking specifically at the halitosis credential, literally anything and everything about you that is viewed by others as weird, gross, offensive, unattractive, inappropriate, or somehow undesirable can be used by you to do Diversity Acceptance Consulting, if you choose.

Here’s how it might work with halitosis. Whenever someone detects your bad breath, they are presented with a wonderful opportunity to practice and develop their own ability to recognize, understand, and accept someone with halitosis. But that way of describing it suggests that you are somehow constrained to the role of passive bystander. With that way of viewing it, you’re just sort of there by accident, stinking up the room, causing the paint to peel on the ceiling (melting the polar icecaps, etc.), and whether the person is aware of this opportunity, and sees it as such is entirely up to him or her.

But you don’t have to be so passive. There is nothing stopping you from taking an active role in the encounter. You can literally choose to take control over the situation and guide it proactively toward success. For example, you can simply tell the other person that your stinky breath is an opportunity for them to practice and develop their ability to recognize, understand, and accept people who have halitosis like you. For example, you might say to them something like,

walrus_cartoon_280x210Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. You can call me The Walrus, and I am a professional Diversity Acceptance Consultant, specializing in halitosis acceptance. What that means is that it is my job to help people such as yourself to become aware of, understand, and accept halitosis as a perfectly normal part of the human experience. If you see value in your own ability to be tolerant towards people who are different from yourself, then you may wish to become one of my clients and pay me to help you develop your own awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people who suffer from halitosis.

Now, that’s really a hypothetical example. Here is the real deal:

If You Like This Idea, Please Pay Me For Sharing It With You

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. You can call me The Walrus, and I am a professional Diversity Acceptance Consultant, specializing in autism acceptance. What that means is that it is my job to help people such as yourself to become aware of, understand, and accept autism as a perfectly normal part of the human experience. If you value your own ability to be tolerant towards people who are different from yourself, then you may wish to become one of my clients and to pay me to help you develop your own awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people who struggle with autism to survive in a world that has been largely designed by and built for people without autism.

If you would like to pay me for this service, which I provide to my clients by writing and promoting this blog, then please visit my How to Hire Me Retroactively! page and follow the instructions there.

If You Really Like This Idea, So Much That You Too Want To Get Paid And Save The World With Whatever Is Weird About You

If you love as much as I do this idea of Diversity Acceptance Consulting, and you want to get started in this profession, then this is your invitation to do so. And here is one basic way to do it (you are welcome to invent your own way):

  1. Identify your own specialty or specialties: make a list of everything you’re ashamed of, embarrassed about, etc. — the stuff that makes you weird. These are your credentials as a Diversity Acceptance Consultant. If you can’t think of anything, then you can easily create the halitosis credential by refusing to brush your teeth and chewing fish oil capsules and cloves of garlic on a regular basis. There are surely other credentials you can simply adopt as well.
  2. Take a proactive role in presenting your credentials to others as opportunities to increase their awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people who share your credential or credentials.
  3. Ask them to pay you for this service.

A few additional points: I view the development of the Diversity Acceptance Consulting profession as an open source project, by which I mean that nobody actually owns it, and anybody is free to contribute to its development and evolution, provided she or he does not try to take control over the project and turn it into some closed source thing.

Have fun, and let me know what you think!

diversity_heart_small

Towards a Manifesto for a Minimally Intolerant Civilization: Part 2

For context, please see Towards a Manifesto for a Minimally Intolerant Civilization: Part 1.

Note: the notion of diversity (i.e. weirdness in layperson language) is fundamentally subjective. One person’s weirdness is just what another person considers normal. Because of this, one must be careful with phrases like “my diversity” or “your diversity”. When I say “my diversity”, I could be referring either to what I judge to be weird about myself, but I might also be referring to what you judge to be weird about me. Similar remarks apply to phrases like “your diversity” or “her diversity”, etc. Because both interpretations are valid, I will take care in what follows to qualify which interpretation I’m using, unless either it doesn’t matter or is perhaps clear from the context.

Some Basic Principles Of Diversity Acceptance

For now at least, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that might change my mind, I hold at least these principles to be reasonable:

  1. Genuine diversity acceptance can only begin with genuine self acceptance of one’s own diversity. The better I can genuinely accept what I judge to be weird about myself, the better I can genuinely accept what I judge to be weird about you. I assume that you could affirm likewise, but please let me know if you think I’m wrong to assume that.
  2. Therefore, if I would like you to accept my diversity (what you judge to be weird about me), I should encourage you to accept your own (what you judge to be weird about yourself).
  3. Some forms of intolerance are necessary and good (e.g. intolerance of murder, rape, theft, pedophilia, etc.)
  4. The very best form of intolerance would be that which minimizes the need for any sort of intolerance overall.
  5. Intolerance is always on trial, and should never be given the benefit of the doubt. Intolerance is always presumed wrong unless proven right.
  6. One should always remain vigilant to the possibility that what was once a good form of intolerance has somehow turned bad.

I would love to know what you think about the above, especially if any of it rings false to you in some way.

Note: I’m not sure yet if there will be a part 3, but in the event I will post a link to it here.


Image Credit: Pixabay