Monday, February 27, 2012

The Detector

Many individuals with Asperger's syndrome are characterized by having black-and-white thinking.  This is certainly true for the one that lives at our house.  His world has very few shades of gray.  For that reason, jokes, sarcasm and idioms are often lost on him.  For better or worse--I'm not entirely sure which--he lives with a father that derives a considerable amount of pleasure in teasing.  He loves the reaction he gets from pushing the biggest buttons.

Alyssa figured her dad out long ago.  She's mastered her signature eye roll which is all the reaction she'll usually give.  Not much fazes that one.  But he who gives the biggest reactions gets the most pestering.

Dad can't stop teasing any more than he can stop his hair from going gray, so Caleb's developing a "detector" instead.  Sometimes I'll give him hints like, "Caleb, I hope your detector is going off."  That's his clue that Dad is only being sarcastic.  Sometimes his detector is quick to respond and he'll shout, "Sarcasm!"--with a tone that implies, "Ha! You didn't get me!"  But then there's times that he'll think he's detecting sarcasm only to struggle to understand that we're really being serious.  His device is not yet fine tuned but I'm actually quite proud of how far it's come.

Jon's teasing is not limited to those with poor functioning detectors.  Just ask my mom.  Or Natalie.  Just last night, after we'd turned out all the lights, she crept into our room to say, "Daddy, my American Girl doll is downstairs and all the lights are off."  In other words, "Daddy you are big and strong and brave but I am just a scared little girl who is too frightened to go downstairs by myself, won't you help me get my doll?"  To which Jon replied, "Well that's because the bogeyman is downstairs walking around and he likes it dark down there."  Poor thing.

Evidently Guatemalans also have poor detectors.  I've heard Jon tell how he used to love to stand in the middle of a corn field and ask the natives, "Is there any corn around here?" just to see their reactions.  So the message is this: if you plan to spend any amount of time with Jon, get your radar operating at optimum power.

No, Caleb's not quite ready to join the National Sarcasm Society.  He'll have to keep working on the accuracy of his detector.  But Dad, well, he could be the president.  And I'm being serious.


Chad said...

Jon definitely wins the prize in the sarcasm department. :) Caleb will get the detector full proof soon enough!

SuburbiaMom said...

Ha, ha! Love that sign. I hope your kids turn out alright ;P!

Lucy said...

I love this post because I live my brother. Seriously, I'm giggling about his response to poor Natalie. I hope he enjoyed his funny moment and then got that doll for her! Man, Caleb has the perfect training partner in you to help him learn about teasing. You must be a master responder because I know how much Jon loves to tease you!

Such a funny post. And warn Caleb to have his radar running around Seth this summer. He's a big fan of Comminicating via sarcasm.

Jen said...

That's classic! Love that Caleb is "getting" sarcasm. I've never heard the corn thing before. Too funny!

Mom said...

Amen and amen. Jon is the king of " getting Billy" as well!!

Erin said...

I'm surprised my name wasn't included in the "poor functioning detectors" list! I definitely have a hard time knowing sometimes with Jon. So funny!

Ben and Carrie said...

I hate to side with Jon, but I too am a huge fan of all things sarcastic. My family is a huge sarcasm family, thanks to my dad, and Ben was really thrown by it when we were first married. Sadly/happily, I have drawn Ben over to the dark world and he is now part sarcastic, part normal. Life is too short NOT to be a little sarcastic, let's be honest, but it is hard for those who don't understand it. Good luck to Caleb in his quest to detecting it.

And where did you find that "National Sarcasm Society" sign? I need a few of those for christmas gifts for my family! :) That's hilarious.