Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Wrong Child?

Yeah, yeah, poor poor pitiful Pearl. Put a sock into it. Don't read if you don't want. I'ma spew pity party chunks all over this here screed.

Still convinced that as a youngster, I was dealing with a mild form of autism...perhaps Asperger's or even a bit milder. Reading The Autism Revolution kinda clued me into that. I was reading it on the recommendation of a patient of mine. But it makes me wonder why in the world I was not taken in for evaluation. Strange mood swings that seemingly came out of nowhere, self-absorption, some rather significant aversion to social situations, occasional absence spells (mild seizures?) that drove my parents nuts, a few fainting spells, evidence of "stimming" (repetitive actions that serve to release neural excitement), and some idiot savant-ish qualities (absent-mindedness right alongside academic excellence). Lots of these have persisted to the present day: the stimming (on a daily basis, no less, whenever I get happy or overexcited), absence/mind drifting, some moderate antisocial tendencies, more self-absorption, and perhaps worst of all, those mild seizures eventually developed into full-blown grand mal seizures. First one was probably around 10, the next about 5 years later (while snowboarding! Thank GOD I was on terra firm and not on the chairlift!), and another five scattered between then and 2005...including two in one day. So yeah, I'm not all neurologically sound. In one rare instance of acknowledgment of conventional medicine, I have to say I'm grateful for my antiseizure meds...even if it means that my liver is very unhappy with me all the time. (Chronically elevated liver enzymes = slow destruction of the liver. Perhaps I should be on some milk thistle or other liver regenerative therapy.)

Of course, getting into a fight with Mr. Man didn't help matters last night. Compound the two, and you've got yourself one seriously insecure kid inside a grown man's body. You get to wondering...if I have this much of an issue with being social, and am this screwed up, am I really the right kind of person to be in a relationship? Don't get me wrong: Mr. Man is all kinds of awesome. He's just so social, and I come in on the opposite end of the spectrum. Can't help but feel insignificant in such a situation. And I have dreams and ambitions, but I feel like they've been lost in the shuffle of being in a relationship with someone else. I look back on the only 6 months of my adult life where I was living on my own, and I really, really flourished. It's occasionally tempting to chuck it all, especially when I look at my interests vs. his, and there is very little overlap.

God. Just want to crawl back into bed. Particularly since I slept like shit last night...tossed and turned, finally fell asleep around 2, and woke up at 7. (I'm not one of these people who can thrive on 5 or fewer hours of sleep a night.) Hmm...maybe I will. After a good full lunch.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Save Big Bird!

Here's what PBS meant to me as a child/budding nerd:

Sesame Street - The original, the best.
The Electric Company - For those into phonetics (and OMG, was I ever.)
3-2-1 Contact - More on the science side of things (didn't appeal quite as much.)
Vision On - Yes, I actually watched this way back in the day. Was there ever a nerdier show?
Geometric iterations - I saw how cool it was to take a simple figure, rotate a superimposed figure 90 degrees, then repeat the process over and over to produce some amazing designs. No talking. Nerdy-as-Moog music. 100% awesome. And of course, I can't find a video for this.
Vegetable Soup - All's I remember is the opening credits.
Big Blue Marble - Ditto...although this show might have subliminally planted a tiny environmental ethic in me, even at the ripe old age of 3 or 4.
Mr. Roger's Neighborhood - Yeah, some people thought he was a bit weird and smarmy. And as an adult, I can see it. But as a kid, it passed me by. All I saw was a gentle guy who was good friends with his neighbors and had some kinda creepy but still cool finger puppets. And I loved that trolley.

Then, as I got older:
The St. Olaf Christmas Festival - I'm biased, being an alum and all, but can you imagine this competing on any of the major networks with the likes of football? Or any Christmas cartoon? Events like these need to be preserved.
TeleTunes - Very few of these videos would have been considered for MTV, unless it were on some version of 120 Minutes that played at 3 am. Only found in the Denver area in the late '80s-early '90s.
The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross - Who doesn't love happy little trees? Or happy little clouds? I watched this show in high school not to aspire to become a painter, but because after a long, tough day, Bob Ross was the best nonpharmaceutical alternative to Prozac or Xanax. One half-hour with this guy, and suddenly all was well with the world again. R.I.P.

If Romney gets elected, you can say goodbye to all of the above. Or at least, their modern equivalents. It'd be a tremendous loss.

Talking with my mom recently, I was kinda surprised to hear her say that she gave full credit to PBS for an excellent out-of-school education when I was really young. Considering how much flak TV gets nowadays for contributing to the dumbing down of our society, this was quite the testimonial. Apparently, I just would sit in front of the tube, and gape, hypnotized by the moving pictures, utterly undisturbed by anything else, absorbing everything unquestioningly. And all through the K-12 treadmill, I was consistently among the top students in my class. My mom is convinced the two are linked inextricably. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, Romney.

Oh, what the hell. PBS can say it better than I can.