No Fence-sitting Allowed, Part 1: A Second Open Letter to the Mysterious Mr. Phicks

Hello Mr. Phicks,

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SMOKING IS NOT COOL, and this is not a picture of the mysterious Mr. Phicks smoking. I really hope the guy doesn’t smoke. Really, nobody should smoke. It’s a filthy habit that kills people and makes their breath stink. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me last Thursday morning. Shortly after we hung up, I went on a crazy shooting rampage over at the new MetLife GTO Campus in Cary, NC.

Of course, not literally, right? Goodness, I’m autistic, for crying out loud, not a murderous psychopath. As I went to great lengths to explain in my recent 6-part series Mockery Not Glockery: Why I Must Become A Lone-Wolf Terrorist, I’m merely a SO TO SPEAK lone-wolf terrorist, by which I mean an utterly harmless, but perhaps intensely frustrating (some times, and for some people, at least) Frustration Artist.

It’s a metaphor, for crying out loud. Like when I say that I got gang-raped by a bunch of my former colleagues at MetLife, along with their slimy and unscrupulous Seyfarth Shaw attorney, and three employees of the EEOC. Of course nobody literally gang raped me. In street-talk I would just say that these people “fucked me over”. When one says that “so-and-so really fucked me over” one is not suggesting that so-and-so made sweet, tender love to me. No. One is saying that “so-and-so raped me” — you know, “figuratively speaking”, whatever.

Similarly, and to be absolutely clear: I’m using the term shooting rampage here strictly as a metaphor. Absolutely no guns were involved, no blood was shed, and nobody got hurt. To put it less figuratively, I only mean that I quietly and politely walked around “shooting” lots and lots of MetLife employees with my GoPro Hero5 Black action camera.

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This is a black-and-white photograph of my GoPro Hero5 Black action camera sitting on black velvet. It’s kind of hard to see. For a better image click here. Image Credit: There’s no actual image to credit, it’s just a picture of blackness.

It was a harmless “photo-shoot” (video-shoot, really), as they say. None of the people I videographed even knew that I was doing it. I’d show you some of the footage here now, but I actually got arrested the following morning (Friday) for committing this victimless “crime” and I’m thinking I should probably speak with my public defender before I release any of the video I “shot”.

I’ve been officially charged with misdemeanor Breaking and Entering, although I broke absolutely nothing and really just entered the MetLife buildings by “tailgating”, which is when you walk in through an open door behind the person who opened it. Anybody who works there can tell you how easy it is to do. MetLife currently has a worthless “no tailgating” building-security policy that burdens its thousands of employees with the task of checking badges of anyone who tries to tailgate. During the two years that I worked there I only ever witnessed one person who actually tried to follow that policy, and he eventually stopped trying because after annoying half-a-dozen of his MetLife colleagues that he just didn’t recognize because he was new, he realized nobody else was stopping tailgaiters and wound up feeling terribly foolish.

Of course, that terribly foolish-feeling person was me!

Hey, what can I say? I’m autistic. If one knows anything useful about autism, one knows that we autistic types like our rules. I was trying to follow MetLife’s “no tailgating” rule, and the way I see it, “no tailgating” means NO TAILGATING!!!

Except with MetLife (and companies like it) “no tailgating” seems to mean “tailgating is actually just fine”.

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I don’t really like to see people as being stupid, but sometimes we do stupid things (there’s a difference). For example, MetLife’s “no tailgating” building-security policy is a stupid rule that just confuses people like me while accomplishing nothing of value. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Is there a better word for that than stupid? Is there some politically correct euphemism that isn’t dangerously misleading? One that doesn’t foolishly suggest that a “no tailgating” building-security policy is perfectly fine in some circumstances? It’s like telling people “please set the building on fire” when what you really mean is “please do not set the building on fire.”

Stupid! MetLife has at least one stupid building-security policy. If my MetLife Shooting Rampage last Thursday afternoon accomplished anything useful, at the very least it proved to the company that their “no tailgating” building-security policy is stupid — and it did so without hurting anybody. Now they will fix it. If they don’t, I’ll just come back one day and remind them again.

Now, in case you’re wondering what all of this has to do with our conversation earlier Thursday morning, it was all partly a spontaneous response to something you had said to me during our conversation, and which I found a lot more disturbing than you may realize. Please note that I said “partly a spontaneous response”, because really I’d spent several months thinking about and planning this utterly harmless little stunt. But before we spoke on Thursday morning, I still had no clear intention to go through with it yet. I hadn’t decided  in advance to do it that particular day, and I certainly had no idea I would be doing it until shortly after we hung up.

To be continued…

[Note: when Part 2 is published, I’ll post a link to it here.]

 

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.

Diversity Acceptance Consultant, At Your Service! — Another Open Letter To The Folks Who Recently Fired Me Illegally For Being Autistic

Dear Folks Who Recently Fired Me Illegally For Being Autistic:

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This is not really a picture of the laptop I’ve stolen, but it does exemplify the kind of excellent care I am taking of the real device. Everyday I take it out for some fresh air and sunshine. Image Credit: Pixabay

First, it’s been a good 10 days now since I’ve confessed to stealing your laptop in order to protest your decision to fire me illegally for being autistic, and I must admit that I feel surprised but fundamentally relieved that I haven’t been arrested yet.

Although I am psychologically prepared to “do the time” for this civilly disobedient cyber crime I’m committing, of course I’d much rather you all just come to your senses and give me back the job you stole from me. But if you really want to send an autistic man to prison over this, well, then rest assured I’m really prepared to go. But in the meantime, every day that I don’t go feels like a gift, and I’m grateful and fundamentally relieved to receive it.

I don’t know what’s taking you all so long to figure out what to do about our predicament, but as long as you’re mulling things over, I would like to suggest a third option — a kind of compromise, really — if it will make things easier for everybody. Basically, I’m wondering if you might like to become my very first paying clients for my new Diversity Acceptance Consulting business.

Please allow me to elaborate:

The obvious (to me) fact that you all fired me for being autistic strongly suggests that despite your company’s being one of the more autism friendly places to work, it nonetheless has some growing it might do with respect to its current Diversity and Inclusion Strategy — especially as this strategy addresses the autism issue, specifically, but probably also the more general issue of psychiatric disability as wellIn my opinion, and I hope you will agree, your company could really benefit from the help of an actually autistic person such as myself — someone who has the skills, background, and experience necessary to challenge your own complacent (let’s face it) and self-congratulatory (just being honest here) status quo, and to lead you all towards greater awareness, understanding, and especially acceptance of autistic people and more generally the psychiatrically disabled as well.

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Again, not your laptop, per se, but yours is comfortable and in the company of friendly and familiar objects. Image Credit: Pixabay

Now, I realize you’re probably skeptical, of course. I know my methods are somewhat eccentric or unconventional. Heck, I bet I’m the only service provider you’ve ever encountered who is actually willing to risk going to prison in order to offer his services to a prospective client, am I right?

But if you know anything useful about autism, you know that if I were truly capable of doing things the way normal people do them, I would have done so long ago. I didn’t choose to be the way I am. Nobody chooses to spend his life with his nose pressed to the glass wondering what its like to be a “normal” person. And nobody should be surprised when an autistic person does something unconventional, eccentric, or just plain weird. If my methods surprise you, then clearly you haven’t spent enough time with autistic people, and that’s a problem I was born to help you solve.

Also, I think if you are honest with yourselves — if you take a good hard look at the facts —  you’ll see that much of my work with your company has already been completed. I’m sure that if you all take careful stock of what you’ve learned about autism in the past few weeks — learned with my help, and, I might add, at great personal risk to me and my family — if you really open your eyes to how you now feel about autistic people (perhaps not me, per se, but at least other autistic people) and especially the whole situation vis-a-vis autism in general, I’m quite sure you will see that I definitely deliver the goods. I’m sure you are now much more aware, understanding, and accepting of autistic people than you were.

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Image Credit: Pixabay

I’m all about customer satisfaction, and oh, did I mention that I offer a 100% money back guarantee?

Yes, that’s right, you understood correctly — a 100% money back guarantee!

Due to the unorthodox nature of the service I offer, for now at least I have chosen to use an entirely tip-based business model. Like a waiter in a restaurant or a street performer, first I deliver my service to my customers for their complete enjoyment, and only after they’ve had a chance to fully benefit from that service do I offer them the opportunity to pay me, with absolutely no obligation to do so.

Yup, you understood that correctly: if you are not completely satisfied with my Diversity Acceptance Consulting service, then you don’t have to pay me a dime. Of course, if you are, say, 30% satisfied, then my hope is that you will pay me 30% of what you would have paid me if you’d been 100% satisfied, but I will leave all of those details entirely to your discretion. The upshot here is that because I’m running a tip-based business with all this, my customers have total control over whether and how much I get paid or not.

In any case, that’s the compromise I’d like to offer you. If you simply cannot give me back my job, and you simply cannot bring yourselves to press charges against me, then how about taking a middle road by becoming my first paying customer for my Diversity Acceptance Consulting business? If you do that, I will still keep your laptop as a souvenir, but you can definitely deduct the cost from whatever you were going to pay me.

I hope that makes things easier for you all. As I said, I am all about customer satisfaction!

Sincerely,

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

Diversity Acceptance Consultant — at your service!

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Image Credit: Shutterstock (colored blocks)

Tilting At Windmills: How To Turn Just About Anything Into A Civil Rights Issue

 

defiance-386x500In my opinion, and especially with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, we all just don’t do enough public protesting, and I suspect it’s because we tend to think that we are just too busy working to pay our bills and to keep food on the table. But this is too bad because the two goals need not conflict, and can in fact be pursued simultaneously and with little extra effort, simply by making a conscious decision to re-purpose into spontaneous mini-protests all our mistakes, bad habits, shortcomings, etc. — basically, all of the ways we might frustrate, annoy, or cause discomfort to another person in some way — and this simply as we go about the ordinary humdrum business of our daily lives.

A few examples will make the general point. Imagine you or others saying any of the following under suitable conditions:

“Defend free speech by farting — often, loudly, odorously!”

“I’m chronically tardy in protest of the Trump Administration!”

“Their armpits stink in defiance of the way animals are systematically abused.”

“What do you mean you forgot to invite me to the party as a gesture of good will toward all sentient beings????”

“Your willingness to just accept that I’m a terrible kisser in the name of Nuclear Arms Reduction is a noble sacrifice for a worthy cause.”

“I have not shaved yet today because I’m hoping it will help raise awareness for diabetes.”

“Let’s all show our disapproval for Trump’s sexist behavior by talking too loudly on our cell phones in public!”

Now, you may find this technique a bit odd, but that’s probably just because it’s such a great idea. Great ideas always seem a bit odd at first, until they catch on and then everybody’s like “wow, that’s a great idea!”

Or maybe you think it’s comical? I agree! Which is partly why I think it can be so effective too. Nothing starts a conversation like a good joke — especially a good fart joke! Jokes always set everyone at ease — especially fart jokes! — and make it easier to keep the conversation on a friendly, collaborative track, rather than letting it veer off into mayhem, murder, or negative attitudes.

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The link between a symbol (green light) and it’s meaning (go/move forward) can be completely arbitrary. Image Credit: Pixabay

One thing to notice with all this is that the link between a given act of protest and the thing being protested can be completely arbitrary. It can be based on nothing more than the occasional need for a good excuse for some random gaffe or foible that might otherwise make you look ignorant, incompetent, or insensitive.

Looking through the examples above, although farting may plausibly be a form of free speech (especially for anyone who talks out of his ass — badump bump!), what’s really the link between animal abuse and stinky armpits? Or between beard stubble and diabetes? None, really, but that’s OK, because the protest is a symbolic gesture, and symbols are often quite arbitrarily linked to what they symbolize.

Consider, for example, that a green traffic light symbolizes that it’s time to move forward through an intersection, but it does so purely by convention and not for any obvious connection between green and forward movement.

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Why does this circle with lines in it symbolize peace? Image Credit: Pixabay

Or notice that only rarely do words have any clear connection to the meaning they symbolize. For example, the word snow itself isn’t cold or white or fluffy, but we have no problem using this word in English sentences as a linguistic symbol for the actual cold, white, fluffy stuff. And consider that the famous peace symbol is just a circle with some lines in it (flowery lines in the one shown here). What does that have to do with peace? Again, the connection between the symbol and its meaning is arbitrary and conventional. So why not take advantage of that basic semiotic principle in order to be more politically active?

In summary, political activism need not be limited to voting or riding 15 hours on a bus to attend a rally in Washington, DC. Virtually anything that someone else finds unpleasant in some way can be re-purposed and politicized into a Civil Rights issue of your choosing.

One caveat: the people that you annoy, frustrate, etc. in this way are probably not going to like that you’re doing it and will likely try to fight back and do their own counter protesting. They may try to trivialize your protest or characterize it as “silly” or “childish” or both. They may try to convince you that you are “insane”, or being “utterly ridiculous” or “infantile” or “irrelevant” or “acting like a complete fool” or making “mountains from mole hills”, a “tempest in a tea cup”, or “tilting at windmills”.

But don’t listen to them. Of course they will say these kinds of things. When they do so it likely means that you’re protesting effectively. Especially if they play the “tilting at windmills” card — that’s when you know you’re doing it right!

What about you? Can you think of any more examples to add to those shown above? If so, please let me know in a comment!

 

 

 

 

The Diversity Acceptance Project

diversity_hands_707x500Well, it’s now official. I’ve gone and set up a blog for The Diversity Acceptance Project. I’ve mentioned else where that I see this as an “open source” effort, by which I mean anybody can contribute, provided that he or she doesn’t prevent anybody else from contributing. It must remain open source and its materials will be free to use as anybody wishes. That’s the general gist at this point. This is the first time I’ve tried to do something like this, so I’m sure I have a lot of mistakes in my future.

At the moment I am the only one actually working on this project, but if you’d like to participate, please shoot me an email from the contact page of this or that blog. I will add you as a user and you can do your own posting, etc. The only requirement at this point I think is that whatever you post will have to have some clear relevance to the topic of diversity awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

Please stop by the blog to like it, comment on it, follow it, and all that good stuff!

🙂