Oh, Great, Now I Need a Permanent Alibi

So apparently my physically harmless, civilly disobedient, one-man protest at the MetLife campus on June 14 has left a number of my former colleagues traumatized and fearing for their personal safety. In several sworn affidavits submitted by MetLife last week on their behalf, four of them affirmed things like like:

“…I feel targeted by Mr. Scholten and fear for my personal safety.”

“…I fear for my personal safety and the safety of my family.”

“…this post [a reference to this post], coupled with the fact that Mr. Scholten broke into MetLife and came specifically to the executive offices, cause me to fear for my safety…more importantly, I fear for the safety of the MetLife employees….”

Now, because I know for a fact that I pose absolutely no threat whatsoever to the personal safety of any human being, MetLife employee or not, at first I had serious doubts about the sincerity of these highly defamatory allegations. But in a hearing yesterday at the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh I had the chance to face three of my accusers, and after watching them testify I must say that I now have no doubt whatsoever that these folks are frightened.

My sister had come with me to the hearing and the two of us did what we could to reassure them that I am harmless and that they are safe, but in the end it was all for nothing because the District Judge granted MetLife’s request for a 1-year No Contact Order Pursuant to the Workplace Violence Prevention Act which imposes on me a long and fundamentally useless list of restrictions that…

1. Cannot possibly make me any more harmless than I already am.

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Hmmm. How could we make this cute little duckling even more harmless? Image Credit: Pixabay

I am already harmless, and these restrictions won’t make me any more so. I have no history of violence; no interest in violence; I own no guns nor weaponry of any kind; nor do I know or practice any martial arts (karate, boxing, etc.). I don’t even play violent video games. Once a gun has been unloaded, disassembled, and melted down into scrap metal, really the only thing left is to cast a magic spell over it. That’s really all this No Contact Order is: just a worthless magic spell that the Judge has cast over an already harmless person in order to make him harmless.

2. Cannot possibly even make me seem anymore harmless than I already do.

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Would this gargoyle seem less frightening with a nice coat of paint? Next to some flowers? With a duckling on its head? Image Credit: Pixabay

These folks are truly frightened and confused. Of course, they’re not really frightened of me, but rather their misunderstanding of me. I am not their misunderstanding of me. Their misunderstanding of me is an imaginary bogeyman who is so deranged that he intends to harm them, and I am absolutely not that guy. But if he’s truly that deranged, then surely he won’t let some court order stop him in his blood-thirsty quest to hurt them.

These folks aren’t thinking straight. They all believe that on the afternoon of June 14 their bogeyman stood right next to them while they were working. It was actually just me, of course, but were I really as dangerous as they imagine their bogeyman to be, they’d all be injured or dead right now. The fact that they aren’t proves that I’m not their scary bogeyman. But their fear blocks them from seeing it that way. Maybe they think that the visit on June 14 was just a warm-up. Maybe they think their bogeyman was just there on some sort of reconnaissance mission and that now that he understand the lay of the land, he’ll be coming back for the real kill.

What’s more, this court order only protects them at the MetLife campus. What if their imaginary bogeyman visits them at home? Or what if he ambushes them while they’re sitting at a traffic light on the way to work? Of course I — the utterly harmless real me who is definitely not their bogeyman — would never do anything like that, but they have no idea that the real me actually exists. For all they know their bogeyman is an extremely clever sociopath who truly exists, but who is pretending to be a harmless autistic person who has merely been misunderstood as a dangerous sociopath, etc., etc.

This is not reasoning. This is just rampant, ignorance-fueled imagination run amok, and the No Contact Order can do nothing to get it under control.

3. Makes it impossible for them to get to know the real me.

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These giraffes look pretty friendly. I wish they would get to know me better and see that I’m friendly too. Image Credit: Pixabay

One of the best ways to get over any irrational fear is to choose to encounter the very thing that frightens you. Obviously that won’t work if you’re afraid of jelly fish or hungry sharks, but as long as what frightens you is harmless (like me), then the more you interact with it and see that no harm comes to you, the safer you will feel in its presence.

Really, the only way to help these people with their fears is to give them the opportunity to face them, which is now prohibited by law. These folks desperately need to get to know the real me, at least well enough to see that I’m not their bogeyman, that I’m harmless to them. But because of this No Contact Order, such an encounter is now impossible.

4. Means I now require a permanent alibi.

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I’m fresh out of excuses! Image Credit: ShutterStock

With this No Contact Order in place, I need a permanent alibi. For the next year at least, if anything happens to any of these people and which is even remotely mysterious, I am going to be suspect number 1. If one of them gets a mysterious flat tire I can be promptly arrested, booked, charged, and tried — even if I’m totally innocent. Even if I do have an alibi, that won’t help until after I’ve already been arrested, booked, and charged. Then the real investigation will begin and the alibi will exonerate me. But if I don’t have an alibi, then what?

Because of this fundamentally useless No Contact Order, I now need a permanent alibi. And something tells me that “Sorry, your honor, I’m autistic” won’t cut it.

I really don’t understand the purpose of this No Contact Order. Is the goal to ensure the objective safety of these individuals? Or is the goal merely to help them to feel subjectively safe. Although these are not mutually exclusive outcomes, in the end, being safe and feeling safe are really two different things. For example, many people are afraid to fly in an airplane, but feel perfectly safe in a car, which is objectively much more dangerous. Many people dread kittens, while others have no fear of texting while driving. Further, the pharmaceutical industry makes a ton of money selling anti-anxiety medications to people seeking relief from anxiety that they themselves know has no function whatsoever.

The fact is that fear is an unreliable indicator of objective danger, just as feeling safe is an unreliable indicator of objective safety. The one simply does not imply nor guarantee the other, and in any case, this No Contact Order will achieve neither goal, for the reasons described above.

 

Six Good Reasons to Blame Autism for All Your Problems

1. You are actually autistic.

This is pretty much the foundation for what follows. If you aren’t actually autistic, then please find some other excuse for all your problems. Tip: a lot of neurotypical folks seem to enjoy blaming shit on an autistic person. I’m not sure how they rationalize this, because many can see and will even admit that autism causes problems for an autistic person, but somehow they seem to think that it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the particular problem they’re trying to blame on the autistic person they’ve chosen to scapegoat at that moment.

2. You need a polite way to tell someone to fuck off.

People hate it when you blame all your problems on autism and if you do it consistently in their presence they will eventually go away and leave you alone. I’m not sure what the real reason for this is, but if you ask they’ll say something like, “But what if you murder someone?” Now, if ever you find yourself trapped in this kind of conversational cul-de-sac, do NOT say anything snarky like “there’s only one person I’ve ever wanted to murder, but then I realized that I prefer to just watch you suffer.” Rather, calmly explain that you have never murdered anyone before, indeed have no wish to harm anyone at all, and are in fact philosophically opposed to violence. That probably won’t cure them of their irrational fears, but it will at least give your interlocutor the impression that you’ve taken the question seriously.

3. You botch things up royally in some way and have no idea what to do about it.

This one is tricky. In a situation like this, and if you’re anything like I am, your natural inclination may be to apologize profusely and to feel like a total loser. DON’T DO IT!!! Or at least, do not admit to doing this. Hide those guilty thoughts and feelings deep, deep down somewhere in the impenetrable fortress of your most private self. Look, if you pay close attention to neurotypicals (not too close or you’ll spook them and they’ll slap a restraining order on you), what you will see is that very, very few of them know how to take responsibility for themselves. Oh, yeah, sure, they talk a good talk, and will often appear to take responsibility for a mistake, provided it’s one of those small-potato mistakes that anybody might make. But as soon as they screw up big time — commit some really bizarre super-gaffe (a daily occurrence for some of us) — then suddenly they turn into scapegoat shepherds, and if you’re anywhere in the vicinity, you’ll be branded into their personal herd. This is why it is imperative in such situations that you fully avail yourself of that cornerstone of the U.S. Legal System: INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!!!! And the simplest and most effective way to accomplish this (again, provided that you’re actually autistic) is just to blurt out “AUTISM MADE ME DO IT!!!” or something like that. By doing this you will shove the full burden of proof onto the shoulders of any witnesses.

4. You want to promote thought and discussion about autism.

When you start to blame all of your problems on autism, people are going to feel uncomfortable about it and want to talk about it. They probably won’t want to talk to you about it, but at least they will talk to each other. No doubt this talk will lead to additional conversation about autism in general, and perhaps other good stuff too like responsibility, ethics, equality, justice, and so forth. By the way, this is not why I’ve decided to blame all of my problems on autism, but it’s still a pretty good reason so I figured I’d list it. For my part, I’m just doing it because I’m sick and tired of being held accountable for shit I can’t control. I do realize that people will continue to blame me for whatever they want no matter what I do, but at least I won’t be helping them.

5. You’re sick and tired of being held accountable for shit you can’t control.

Yup.

6. You have problems.

Look, regardless of your particular problems, the fact is that if you are autistic, then at the very least autism exerts some sort of influence on all of those problems. Anybody who thinks that you somehow have two distinct types of problems — autism problems, say, and then “normal” problems — is just talking nonsense. Of course the actual effect of autism on any given problem will be more or less with respect to any other, but one way or another, you cannot escape autism’s influence on any of your problems, whatever it may be.

Now, one way in which autism can influence a given problem is through your own subjective judgments regarding just how much autism actually influences that problem. More specifically, any time you think something like “autism is 40% responsible for causing problem X”, you are most likely wrong about the 40%. Maybe you’re close — maybe the real number is 38% or 44%, but you’re almost certainly off one way or another. But really it’s quite likely you are way off the mark in these kinds of assessments. One’s feelings of confidence and especially certitude are notoriously unreliable in these kinds of judgments. Unless you have access to some objective way to measure the influence, you’re really just guessing, so why not guess that autism is 100% responsible for all of it? To the extent that a problem is trivial, the consequences of blaming it all on autism will also be trivial. And to the extent that a problem is serious — i.e., “not normal” or not the sort of problem that a normal person would have — then it’s quite likely autism truly is the root cause of the problem.

 

So, what do you think? Can you think of other good reasons to blame autism for all of your problems? Or maybe you can think of reasons not to do this. Either way, please share your thoughts in a comment below, unless of course you are seriously worried that I might one day use autism as an excuse to murder someone. If that’s the case, please know that I have never murdered anyone before, indeed have no wish to harm anyone at all, and am in fact philosophically opposed to violence.

 

Autism Made Me Do It

I’ve recently decided to start using autism as my go-to excuse for everything. (For background, see yesterday’s post Why I’ve Decided To Start Blaming Autism For All Of My Problems, So Fuck Off!)

“Why are you late for work?” — autism.

“Why haven’t you paid this bill?” — autism.

“Why is your car full of trash?” — autism.

“Your honor, the defendant peed on the claimant’s chihuahua because he’s autistic.”

Yep — I’ve decided to blame autism for everything — every problem I have, every mistake I make, every relationship I destroy — it’s all because of autism. All of it.

To be clear: I hereby officially reject — in writing, no less — all responsibility for my behavior. Going forward, everything I do wrong — especially the serious shit — I do wrong because I’m autistic.

And why have I decided to start doing this?

Well, several reasons, actually, but mainly because — yep, you guessed it — I’m autistic!

Boom! (Drops the mic, throws back his crimson-velvet, ermine-trimmed cape, and struts off while eating a chocolate-covered cheeseburger.)


Image Credit: Shutterstock

Why I’ve Decided To Start Blaming Autism For All Of My Problems, So Fuck Off!

Because I’m autistic.

So, fuck off!

Oh…and happy World Autism Awareness Day!

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Image credits: Angry Walrus, Shutterstock; World Autism Awareness Day, Wikipedia.