March 29, 2010
Forgive me dear readers, as I diverge for a day from both autism and the shameless self-promotion of my manuscript. Instead, I’ve chosen to pay homage to a rite of passage with which we are all familiar. I am not referring to the impending American Idol finale, tax day, or my annual attempt at post-winter damage control on my thighs. No, I’m alluding to that fairly frequent event that invokes serious self-reflection, a measuring of one’s achievements to date, and an immediate renewal of that abandoned gym membership.
It’s High School reunion planning time.
Before I continue, let me take a moment to thank our class officers and co-counsel, Kate, Nancy and Courtenay, for taking many hours out of their busy lives for the thankless chore of trying to anticipate the needs of the 200ish individuals who comprised the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional class of 1985 (yes, I said EIGHTY-five). I am eternally grateful they’re even soliciting my input (so far I’ve suggested including alcohol, music and karaoke, because I’m eighth grade chorus good), and even more grateful they’re planning the damn thing. These three women are my heroes.
Truly, it’s a daunting task to create one of these events (trust me, I went to my husband’s five years ago, and our 20th reunion whipped their 20th reunion’s butt), and I am certain my classmates have high expectations. My educator parents moved to tiny and tony Fair Haven, New Jersey when I was six-years-old, and it is still, as it was then, quite the demanding, intense environment to have spent one’s formative years. It was the kind of public high school where almost everyone attended a four-year college after graduation, we were all competitive as hell about our acceptances, and the discrepancy between the cars in the student parking lot and those in the faculty parking lot was almost criminal. Enough said.
While I’ve heard Facebook referred to as a virtual haven for married people to reconnect to hotties they wished they’d slept with in high school and college, I think high school reunions are those actual havens for unfulfilled fantasies of yore. I admit, I’m really looking forward to it. After all, what other event can permit one to reminisce for two seasons prior about that ex-boyfriend/unrequited love/ex hook-up (or all three simultaneously) without guilt?
Seven months and counting. Time to pluck, tease, tan (this is New Jersey after all) and sweat ourselves back into the Me Decade. Rock on 1985, rock on.
March 26, 2010
My child has an imaginary friend. I am so ecstatic I will personally build him his own bedroom if required. Since I needed my husband’s help to assemble Zachary’s six-piece Sesame Street toy set at Christmas, this should indicate my commitment and strong level of enthusiasm regarding this latest development in my second son’s world.
My youngest child is three, and ordinarily, his life should be peppered with such invisible companions. There should be an extra place setting for his see-through buddy at dinner, perhaps an additional teacup provided for the English custom Zach must have learned about in school. On any given day I should be shamelessly cajoling his imaginary buddy to bribe my son to ingest a vegetable or two, or convincing Zachary that his compatriot does indeed, like him, need a nap. Zach’s world however is not an ordinary one, and for a time I feared his mild autism would keep him apart from the fanciful, the fun that evolves from contrived characters and events. Apparently I need not have worried however, because we now have a permanent guest in our home. I’m wondering if my husband will need to claim him on our census report.
It appears we are housing “Justin-ghost”.
Lest you think this apparition is just a paler (if that’s possible) version of my oldest son, please think again. I have asked Zachary if he is simply referring to his sibling when he regales me with his exploits, and he has assured me in no uncertain terms, that “Justin-ghost” is not Justin. That is a direct quote.
No, Justin-ghost is his own entity. Apparently, Justin-ghost is a scary but relatively benign apparition, not inclined to cause us harm. The other day my son eagerly informed me he had “chased Mommy, Daddy, Justin, and Zachary outside to the car, and we had to make the car go ’vroom’”. I asked if Justin-ghost had come with us in the SUV, and Zach replied in the negative, assuring me the wraithlike creature had instead opted to return home after hounding us into the driveway. I have been informed at bedtime that it should be Justin-ghost who should venture upstairs rather than my youngest offspring, and have been politely instructed that the supernatural being would prefer to carry Zach’s plate and fork to the sink for him. While I don’t believe in well, almost anything, I am a big fan of the supernatural set (my seventh grade science fair project won second place for its informative and intuitive portrayal of the benefits of ESP, hence my interest), and I would pay big money to watch a specter complete chores. I’d happily fit it in between diaper changes.
This is new and completely beguiling territory for me, both the language, crisp and clear in its diction and its message, and the concept that Zach can inhabit a world outside the confines of the literal, the commonplace. I am amazed and enthralled that my son, who a little more than a year ago was reduced to a vocabulary that limited him to half a dozen words that were delineated solely for requests, has not only been able to conjure up an invisible cohort, but can tell me about him, in no uncertain terms. As far as I’m concerned, his friend can take up permanent residence.
And if he does, I sincerely hope he likes me.
March 24, 2010
Bitch, bitch, bitch.
No, I’m not referring to myself, although on many days and many occasions, this title is apt. Instead, I’m referring to a number of ongoing discussions within the autism community. There is a lot of kvetching going on in regards to different subsets within our little island of misfit toys, and I think it’s time we all played nicely with one another. I will begin by offering my personal, giant Kumbaya and best hug to anyone dealing with autism in their lives, no matter what you believe.
We have to start somewhere.
There are parents who feel that biomedical/alternative treatments have been instrumental in helping their children, and there are those who have selected a more traditional approach in trying to eradicate the symptoms of autism. Some parents believe we are doing our children a disservice by not embracing them entirely as they are, while others would go to great lengths to help their progeny shed their autism label. There are groups within the autism community who feel vaccines and/or environmental factors are to blame for their child’s disorder. Others are certain their family trees are replete with deeply organized, relatively anti-social individuals who were not stingy in passing down their DNA.
We’re all entitled to our beliefs, but the problem seems to lie both in how firmly entrenched we are within them, and our need to foist these beliefs on other families. Some of the discourse can get really nasty, reminiscent of some of the mean notes I saw passed in high school (yes, I’m old enough to have passed notes in high school). In my opinion, not all of these issues are so clearly defined, so patently black and white. There is room for enlightened discussion if we all just listen to one another.
Shades of gray my people, shades of gray.
I’ve checked out blogs written by mothers and fathers whose kids have other disabilities, such as Downs’ Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and Tourette syndrome. I am not discovering the vitriol, just sensing the support. Theirs seems to be a kinder, gentler world.
I know we all need to vent, and some of us are writing simply because we’re stuck in our homes. Clearly we have a lot to say, and much of it, despite its antagonistic nature, is thoughtful and illuminating. We parents of autistic children are, after all, not a dumb people.
There’s even a study to prove it.
This is all I’m saying. Many of us have embraced the theory of Applied Behavioral Analysis, whereby if we don’t like a behavior, we ignore it and engage in something else. Perhaps we can put a little more theory into practice. Maybe every minute we spend reprimanding each other we could spend a commensurate minute using a connection to get an adult with autism a job, sacrifice a few seconds to petition our state’s congressmen about insurance reform, or try to harass our director of special education to make certain our kids aren’t being instructed in classrooms the size of my walk-in closet.
Just think about it.
March 22, 2010
It’s the third Thursday of the month, and for Justin and me that generally means a trip to church, but not for worship. This evening our visit will include a romp through a graveyard, an event which will hopefully conclude with my little boy excited about his loot, a myriad of pastel-colored Easter eggs released from their temporary hiding spots by my son’s strong fingers. I am hopeful this will be the year he enjoys this activity, because prior attempts have ended in a muddied mom and boy traipsing dejectedly (at least on my part) back to our waiting vehicle with a paltry stash, due mostly to my son’s incomprehension as to why this activity has any merit whatsoever. After all, Easter eggs don’t light up, spin, or play a Wiggles tune, so why on earth should he participate?
I choose not to relent on bypassing this activity, in part because we’ve had to relinquish so many events which “normal” families participate in and take for granted. I also refuse to let this go because somewhere, deep down in the vestiges of what remains of my tired soul, I think someday he’ll actually enjoy this. Of course, having his pretty teen-aged “buddy” from his disabilities group accompany us on our scavenger hunt will be part of the allure, and I’m happy to procure a girlfriend for him to make the experience more palatable. I am willing to do what it takes.
There is more however to my hesitation in bringing him tonight, because Justin has recently decided he will only engage in any activity I’ve provided for him outside of our home for twenty-seven consecutive minutes, tops. I had briefly contemplated skipping the first portion of the evening which usually includes crafts, something which Justin generally disdains, but I can’t bring myself to show up just for the “good part”. Some people with special needs children and very hectic lives took the time to make this evening special, and I feel compelled to try to get him through the entire agenda. Even among the disabled, there is a social code after all.
For once, Justin surprises me. He ends up with a substitute buddy, a lovely girl with a level of enthusiasm for a new challenge I never would have been able to muster at her age. She doggedly assists him through the trials of egg dying, and after Justin regards his kaleidoscopic results I actually glimpse a glimmer of a smile on his face. She is not remotely fazed when we have to kill the last seven minutes before the hunt sequestering him in the bathroom, so he won’t insist on vacating the property. By the end of the half hour, my son is suitably enthralled by his new, vivacious friend. He knows a good thing when he sees it.
Finally, after six prolonged hand-washings and a shameful waste of toilet flushings, we quickly head outside to traipse respectfully through the hallowed ground of many Protestants’ permanent slumber. This year, instead of going deep we veer shallow and right, and unearth a mecca of synthetic cylinders containing a variety of candies my son will have no interest in eating, much to his mother’s delight. He grabs the bucket from my hand and revels in acquisition and containment, stopping periodically to make certain we’re watching his success. We are, and I smile as I tell his newest love that she is witness to the first time my son has discerned the purpose for retrieving Easter eggs. She returns my smile, and as Justin concludes his hunt and makes a break for the playground, I embrace my newfound first, and run.
March 19, 2010
In case you’re worried about my sanity I can assure you I haven’t joined a cult, although my experiences with two kids on the autism spectrum have led me to become a fabulous rule-follower. No, I am simply referring to the joys of a blood draw with a six-year-old autistic child. This afternoon I took Justin to LabCorp (the medical equivalent of the DMV) to have him checked out for PANDAS, which is a disease not nearly as cute as it sounds. Apparently, even though his last viral event was not strep, the fact that his OCD is through the roof now may be somehow related to this infection. Of course, the symptoms may actually not be related. The existing test for it only involves markers for the disease, is not necessarily definitive, nor is the course of treatment clearly defined.
Anyway, we’re here, early afternoon on the soggiest Friday ever, because I had the presence of mind (a miracle) to make an actual appointment rather than engaging in the LabCorp cattle call, and Justin had a half-day at school. I mean really, what better way to spend it with my son than getting his arm pierced?
After we’ve slogged our way through the unrelenting downpour into the waiting area, I am relieved to see only a few individuals/families ahead of us, and have a moment of hope that this experience will indeed be swift. I’ve got a tight handle on Justin who is usually fairly well-behaved in these situations, but today I’m battling severe sleep deprivation (his and mine), as well as his overwhelming need to touch everything single object and person repeatedly within a five-mile radius. We walk over to the reception window, and after practically body slamming him against the glass partition just so I could sign in and search my wallet for his always elusive insurance card, I finally release him.
I have just enough time to dump my purse, coat, and goodie bag on an empty chair before having to run interference between Justin and the nice Asian family huddled in the corner, regarding my son with some consternation. Apparently they’ve had the grave misfortune to purchase a baby toy which plays music AND lights up, and Justin of course feels that gives him proprietary rights. After removing his clenched fingers from the toy in a grasp reminiscent of my hold on good dark chocolate during PMS, I manage to maneuver him to the other side of the room so the assaulted family can recover. I’d offer them wipes, but Justin will simply view that as another invitation to touch what he feels is his, so I decline my own silent offer.
The gods are smiling upon me, because the wait is indeed brief, and within minutes and only three or four rounds of chasing my impulsive six-year-old around the room, we are called in to register. I am an old pro at this part, and thankfully the check-in area boasts cubicles, which are excellent receptacles for hyperactive autistic children. There’s nothing interesting for Justin to get into over there, and if worst comes to worst there’s chairs, and I can always sit on him. I’ve done it before.
Unfortunately the technician can’t find Justin in the system even though he’s been here so often he should contribute to their mortgage, and quickly things start to get a bit dicey. In desperation I allow him to spin the pen on a leash quite firmly embedded into the computer desk, and although it occasionally comes dangerously close to putting out the eye of the man so valiantly re-typing my son’s life history, the tech doesn’t complain. Justin continues in his perseverative pastime, and it’s on his fiftieth twirl (give or take a dozen) that I hear the voice emanating over the walls of our tiny cubicle.
I look over, praying it will be somebody we know, someone who will so enrapture my son with their attention that I’ll make it through this intake with everyone’s body parts intact. Alas, to my dismay, our new friend is a stranger. Justin has responded however, and has momentarily abandoned his rotating dagger to check out what this new person might have to offer him. I’m certain he’s thinking at this point that it will be better than a pen.
The two engage in what passes for discourse between a friendly, unintimidated adult and a non-verbal autistic child, and I am able to conclude our little interview and receive further instructions, which I am miraculously able to retain long enough to usher Justin to the appropriate place. I smile quickly at the woman next to us, corral Justin and gear, and move on. Normally, I would have thanked her for her help and told her he was autistic in an attempt to educate and instruct people about spectrum disorders (in the remote chance she hadn’t figured it out already). I look at my son as a mini-autism ambassador, and every positive interaction with the community at large scores another point for all of us. But today I’m just too tired to give my spiel, and instead we exit our mini-cave with haste and strike out for our final destination.
Justin, who has the memory of a dozen elephants, leads me down the corridor to the correct location, and is none too happy about it. He is fourth in the queue, and is not ecstatic about his less than diva status either. Out of the corner of my eye I notice our cubicle neighbor approaching us, but as I am now too busy having my fifty-DVD collection being rejected while simultaneously attempting to keep Justin from stealing medical supplies, I don’t make eye contact again.
Finally Justin relents, sequesters himself in a seat with an apparently non-offensive video, and waits for the inevitable. When it’s his turn the techs insist he change his location, a request which once again is not met with a great deal of enthusiasm.
It’s when I’m sitting on our bloodletting throne and trying to keep Justin still on my lap, reassuring him I’ve numbed him so much with Lidocaine they could amputate and he wouldn’t feel it, that my son’s new friend pokes her head around the partition and makes her appearance again.
“My son had Angelman’s syndrome. He had a lot of the same symptoms as autism, and when he was grown it used to take four people to hold him down for a blood draw. Can I help you?”
God, yes. You can sing, dance, hold down an appendage (his or mine), whatever you want. Just help.
The use of the past tense in referring to her child doesn’t escape me. I wonder at her calm use of it, the juxtaposition of this friendly, helpful woman with the pain she must have endured raising a severely disabled son to adulthood only to lose him. I am impressed she has the strength to offer aid to anyone who might remind her of her sorrow, rather than simply sitting this one out, feeling she had done her time.
Since Justin is “secured” I briefly contemplate that although “this autism life” is none I’d wish on anyone, we have it comparatively good to any family going through this thirty, twenty, even ten years before we did, when autism diagnosis and treatment was conducted in a veritable wilderness. I think momentarily of the parents who not only raised their challenging children in almost inhumane circumstances, but also somehow managed to enact IDEA, begin insurance reform, and a variety of other initiatives that I am appreciative of, but mostly take for granted. I don’t know how they did it, helping others with such scant resources, when for the last six years I’ve pretty much just kept my kids alive, and haven’t contributed much to the community at all. I don’t know how women like the one in front of me survived, particularly in an era where disabilities were far from accepted, even embraced, by society. I don’t know how she buried her son, still smiles, and helps perfect strangers.
But she is doing just that, and I am eternally grateful, as I have as much desire for a return trip to LabCorp as I do for that first post-winter bikini waxing. As we make our way through the corridor to the parking lot I thank her verbally as the torturous event concludes, and silently thank the generations before me who through their efforts have made my life, and more importantly my son’s life, so much easier.
March 14, 2010
There are several reasons I decided to write a book about my autistic child (and later, due to overachieving, both of my autistic children), and to be perfectly honest, most of them are not altruistic. Sure, I want to help raise awareness for autism, and perhaps impart some gems of wisdom to newbie autistic families. Also, if I can harass everyone I’ve met since grammar school (I’m in my forties, that is a formidable amount of people now) into buying my book, the organizations I’m hoping to donate a portion of my profits to might actually be able to buy the good post-its. You know, the ones with the pretty colors and the sticky stuff that actually works.
But if I’m perfectly honest with myself, the main reason I wanted to pen my manuscript is that with the advent of the second child, I began to forget everything. I don’t mean just the memories of the extravagant fun of teaching my own autistic toddler for over a year. I mean important things, like recalling each child’s real name at least 50% of the time, or remembering to shave my legs seasonally. I figured if I exercised my brain (in theory) on a daily basis, some of my ability to recall would return.
For the most part, I was wrong.
And that’s okay, because I got something else out of trying to sit down every day and pretend I wasn’t completely intimidated by that cruel, blinking cursor. I was afforded the opportunity to really examine all factions of the autism community, and to truly take a look at what society at large was focusing on when it came to our children. I realized when you ask the average person on the street what they know about the disorder, you generally hear these responses.
Vaccines. Diet. Recovery. Jenny McCarthy. Not necessarily in that order.
Ms. McCarthy is regarded as a controversial figure within our community. Certain groups view her as an “autism angel” for bringing attention to the theory of a vaccine-autism connection, as well as biomedical interventions and recovered kids. Some elements believe her theories flout scientific evidence to the contrary. Frankly, I think a few of those groups are just pissed that she actually got the media to cover her story. For the most part I couldn’t care less about all of it. I am not a hater.
I will say this however. While it’s great that autism is practically a household word now, like vampires or health care reform, the truth is this: most of the attention is still focused on kids with supposed vaccine injuries, and those who shed their diagnosis, or at least eventually “pass” for normal. Although I’m pleased our community has become the “popular” disability, I’m afraid we’re not focusing enough on issues that pertain to the vast majority of the autistic population.
Perhaps 10-20% of people with autism fully integrate into society, and there still is no evidence accepted by mainstream science that a subgroup(s) of children exists who succumbed to the disorder due to inoculation. By the way, just so you don’t think I’m just another embittered parent of a disabled child who won’t be attending an Ivy in 2021, I do have another child at home with autism who was singing Christmas carols less than a year after he regressed. There is a good chance at least one of my progeny won’t be my permanent roommate.
Fortunately, there has been a steady rise in stories lately regarding unrecovered children with autism, and the blogosphere is now replete with posts pertaining to other issues. Perhaps I’m selfish, but I think we could continue to ramp it up a bit and pay even more attention to some of the problems that continue to plague my oldest son, and about 80% of the autism population at large. I hope we can focus on the little things, like the fact that the medical profession is finally beginning to identify children at-risk for autism as early as six months of age, but in many of the states in this country there are completely inadequate early intervention programs to tide a child over until he can enter a school program at three. It would be exceedingly special if more attention could be brought to public school districts who are actually instructing their autistic students correctly without requiring parents to take out that fifth mortgage to supply their legal aid habit, so that perhaps other districts will emulate them.
I also think it would be super fun if we could all concentrate more often on appropriate jobs for autistic adults who can handle employment, and insurance reform in every state so that parents aren’t eating Kibble by the time their autistic kids are potty-trained. Finally, it would be nice to see some extra attention paid to the housing issue, so that someday when my son is an adult he might be able to live in a safe place while I’m still savvy enough to recognize my own dementia. I have extravagant dreams.
I’ve been told, bluntly, that bylines about unrecovered children with autism are too sad for public consumption in a way that the vaccine/recovery story is not. Apparently pieces about children requiring lifetime care are just not sexy enough. What I’ve finally realized in our Octomom, Real Housewives-obsessed country is that in order to bring attention to these issues and get as much air-time as the vaccine/recovery community, we need our own celebrity.
That’s why I’m calling for Clooney.
Lest you think I have no claim to him JUST because he’s not on my list of previously stalked celebrities, I’ll have you know I have, for the most part, always been faithful to him. Sure, there have been minor dalliances in my fantasies with John Cusack and Bradley Whitford from the West Wing (you KNOW you think he’s adorable too), but for the most part, he has been my stalwart companion in REM sleep. In my dreams I’m even respectful of his lifestyle choices. There are no wedding rings, no sons bearing fabulous hair and chins. George Clooney is like that fantastic new ride at the amusement park. He’s thrilling and might make you a bit disoriented at times, but ultimately the ride is over, and it’s time to get off. There are no souvenirs.
I know he’s really busy with his charity work in Darfur, and I’m not saying he isn’t needed there. Even on my worst days with Justin and Zachary, and there have been more that a few, I’m not equating my situation with what they’re experiencing. We always manage to eat here, and to date still can afford housing. I’m not that much of a narcissist.
I do think it would be lovely if Clooney had a domestic charity too, and since autism and Africa both start with “a”, I think it’s a natural pairing. Let’s bring the sexy back to autism. Our children deserve the best, don’t you think?
March 2, 2010
My name is Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty, and I am the mother of two wonderful boys, ages three and six, both of whom have autism. Six years ago I was a resident of the great state of Virginia, living twenty minutes from the White House and reveling in the fact that after two years of fertility treatments and several miscarriages, I finally had a kid. Six months into my parenthood journey I had mild concerns about my infant’s behaviors that were not shared by my pediatric group; a year later they finally were. My oldest son Justin was diagnosed at seventeen months with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a label followed half-a-year later by the one we’re all so much more familiar with, autism.
To say this wasn’t a pleasant time for our family would be quite the understatement. I quickly realized the services for children in Virginia through the state’s Early Intervention program were almost non-existent, and if we wanted him to have a comprehensive home program without entering bankruptcy, the job would fall upon me. I quit my teaching job, got trained in the core therapies for autism, and was his primary therapist for the next fifteen months. Since massive amounts of quality therapy at an early age is about the ONLY thing the myriad factions of the autism community agrees is a good thing for autistic children, I dove in and worked at least six hours a day with my son for over a year. When I eventually realized our school district’s program would not be right for him when he became of age, we decided to relocate back to my former state of New Jersey. There, Justin would not only have a one-on-one aide, but would actually receive Early Intervention services not conducted by his exhausted and perpetually cranky mother. It was a win-win.
We quickly settled into our new home. A few months later my husband Jeff and I were pleasantly surprised to discover we had forgotten to claim something at customs upon our return trip from Aruba, a little something who eventually ended up being our second son, Zachary. Other than a slight speech delay during his second year, Zachary’s development was completely different than his brother’s. Not only did he hit every milestone on time which Justin also had done, but he displayed none of the “extras” which had so concerned me during the first few years of my older son’s life. Unfortunately when Zach was twenty-months-old he was taken ill twice in one month, and within weeks began displaying the classic symptoms of autism. These were not good times chez McCafferty.
I quickly realized my life was not exactly going in accord with my extravagant plan of marrying a good guy, having two healthy kids, being an educator, and cultivating a healthy attachment to a fruity pinot grigio and being in bed by 10. It was pretty obvious the career had to stay in the crapper so I could continue to don the mantle of “mommy-therapist”, and heavy drinking was out if I wanted to be any good at it. Since I am the suckiest martyr ever I decided I had to have something for me, something more than the satisfaction of seeing that sixth load of laundry get folded AND put away.
So I decided to write a book, even though I hadn’t written anything longer than an email since grad school in the early 90′s. Creative writing was the only course I’d gotten an A in during college, so I figured what the hell, and went for it. I thought I’d just whip it out in a few months. It took two years.
Part of the reason it took so long was my inability to function after 7:30 PM, and in part it was those damn kids getting in the way of my writing. They are just SO time-consuming! Eventually I did finish it, and now have turned my attention to becoming (just slightly) famous through my blog, so I can get my manuscript published and achieve my goals of opening as many doors as possible for my sons, and helping other families struggling with autism.
So here I am in the blogosphere. Before I decided to go this route however, I felt compelled to explore other avenues to fame simultaneously.
My alternative opportunities were twofold. Join the cast of a reality TV show (Jersey Shore is practically in my backyard), or exploit the famous people I’ve met. Since I don’t have nearly enough tattoos to qualify for the Seaside Heights venture (and there have been no casting calls for cougars), unfortunately I feel I must shun this option. Sadly, its proximity would have made it so convenient, and I do tan well. It’s a pity.
So, that leaves the shameful exploitation of celebrities I’ve encountered in my travails. There are three.
First, there’s Dirk Benedict from the original version of Battlestar Galactica, whom I tormented in the Theater in the Round in NY in the mid 80′s when I was in high school. I made him give me an autograph and blew his cover. I doubt he’s forgiven me, so he’s out.
Then there’s Bill Clinton, whom I met while chaperoning my students on a field trip to a Baltimore Orioles game. Mr. Clinton shook my hand in a completely random moment of kindness (because, clearly, I am a person of no importance), and I responded by forgetting every pithy, clever comment I’d been honing and instead greeted him with a slightly subdued and breathy “hi”. Somehow, I don’t think he’ll remember me.
Last, and most lucrative, is my little brother. He’s a death metal rock star. Yes, I can claim stardom for him since women on the street stop him to have their picture taken with him (every time it happens with me around gentle mocking ensues, it is GREAT fun). I’m certain he could make me famous at his concerts by incorporating autism into his lyrics, somewhere between the references to rotting corpses and rancid brains. Since I kept him alive on Kraft macaroni and cheese for a few years during our childhood, I figure he owes me.
After indulging in my fantasies of a quick trip to fame for some time, alas, in a moment of clarity, I have come to realize I will just have to buckle down and get my name out there the old-fashioned way, simply by writing.
So, if you’ve received an email about this blog you either know me or my mother, and despite the fact that we’re all insanely busy these days, it would be great if you would visit it from time to time, perhaps leave a relatively appropriate comment, and badger everyone you know to visit it too. Thank you, and I promise (REALLY!) to respond!