Successfully Straddling the Line of Creepiness and Benevolence
There are certainly things you are just not supposed to do. You are not supposed to talk about politics or religion in a controversial way. There are topics that are clearly taboo such as humor about stereotypes and ethnicities. There are other major “no-no’s” that are not necessarily illegal, but they also rage against the boundaries of common sense. For example, one is not supposed to write extremely long Sympathy cards due to the fact that “less is more” when it comes to Sympathy cards. It is also inappropriate to go trick-or-treating until the age of 31 years old. Perhaps another violation of the adult world is holding on for dear life to old friendships when the person on the other end makes it quite clear they do not wish to remain in touch. But I may resume contact after a long period of time has passed to justify the perseveration with some heavy-duty backing off. While I am rarely given credit for this self-control, I still think that reaching out to people in increments of six months to a year at a time counts as “backing off.” I also take it as a personal insult when some severs contact for no apparent reason or reasons that do not make sense. Something I have not been able to fully learn is how to “let go.” After thirty-eight years of only making minimal progress in this area, I do not know how much better it will become. But I am certainly able to compromise, “back off,” and put something on a backburner to warn off trouble from the authorities. Another surefire way to ask for trouble is contacting underage ladies even with the purest of intentions. It is just something that you are not supposed to do. As of about two months ago, however, I managed to reach this milestone of oddness in addition to everything else that makes me stand out in a way that attracts negative attention. People who read this post are entitled to their opinions, although it is not going to stop me from being proud of myself for being who I am and putting a smile on someone’s face. There have been a few times when my good deeds have spiraled out of control like wildfire and attracted the authorities. For example, one time I sent a large package with gifts to a school attracted by controversy that was decorated with about forty dollars worth of Breast Cancer stamps for overnight delivery only to be thanked with a phone call from the State Police. After explaining the situation everything was wonderful in my universe. I am not going to let the handful of phone calls from authority figures stop me from stifling my creativity. Allow me to elaborate on where I am going with this topic!
About a year ago, I saw a play with my agency at a high school. The star of the play was this supremely talented woman who stole the show and is going places. As I watched the students perform, I was filled with nostalgia and received this impression that this particular school is special. Everybody seemed to have a place in the fabric of adolescent culture. I doubt it is perfect especially by just watching the students interact on a stage of fantasy. Perhaps it is a little bit closer to perfection than what I remember from my youth. I decided to send the high school student from the play a thank you letter attesting to the impact that she made on the hearts of the people I was with that day including myself. To answer your question, I am not doing alright on some days, and it is acceptable for some of you to admit that you are not doing as well as you would like to project to the world. It sometimes helps to rebel against convention because I do not wish to waste time trying to be normal and pleasing a bunch of people who will ultimately not care about me in the long run. The pandemic has shown that life is too precious and fleeting to worry about such nonsense. Allow me to share the letter I wrote this individual, which was mailed to her father’s workplace because I did not want to push the envelope of creepiness in case things did not turn out so well. This is the letter that I wrote to the woman along with the disclaimer trying to inoculate myself from unnecessary fear and draconian consequences. You are welcome to offer as much constructive criticism as you want, but I am quite proud of myself and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was not hard to find her on Facebook where her birthday was listed. This is the letter!
Dear Ms. (Name is Omitted for Privacy Reasons),
I wish to offer my congratulatory wishes in your 18th birthday and hopefully the card reaches you just-barely on time by tomorrow. People from my agency that serves people with disabilities and myself saw your play, (name of play is omitted) last year. Something I should tell you about myself is that I am on the autism spectrum and one of my hobbies is worshipping birthdays even if I do not actually know the person who is celebrating their special day in the entire world. All birthdays are a very big deal and must be acknowledged no matter what happens. Even John F. Kennedy, Jr. received a birthday party day after his father was killed. The show must go on…
The main reason I am telling you I am on the autism spectrum is because the police station has been contacted on several occasions due to my actions such as this, but if I stop then others who like my surprise cards are going to miss out. I wish people were kinder, but it is never going to be perfect.
The character you portrayed is not real…but at the same time she is as real as you and me. People judged her without giving her a fighting chance, and it was not fair! People have also bullied me and inflicted emotional abuse for much of my 37 years. Even though things are much closer to perfect these days, I certainly remember how it felt. I try to advocate for others, and last month I was on the Dr. Phil Show because of finding resources to save the life of someone I really care about and the footage may be found on YouTube by typing, “David Elmore Smith and I meeting for the first time on the Dr. Phil show Wednesday, January 22, 2020.”
You are very talented and am hoping you will go after your dreams!
Jesse A. Saperstein
Just the other day, I received this lovely letter back from her in handwriting so eloquent that it nearly looked printed from a special calligraphy stationary store. It raised my spirits during the pandemic that not everybody is going to find my eccentricities disturbing enough to get the authorities involved. In fact, perhaps it is quite the opposite in the sense that most people like and accept my “behavior.” Or to follow my own philosophy, “If you are not creeping out or annoying about fifteen percent of those you meet then perhaps it means you are not doing something right.” If every single person in the world likes us it could be the product of being a social chameleon to please a ton of people who will never care about us. Here is her letter back to me that arrived in the mail most recently.
Thank you so much for your birthday card. It put such a smile on my face. You are such a sweet, kind, wonderful person. Please continue to spread happiness through your birthday cards! When is your birthday? I would love to send you a birthday card. Have a wonderful day!
On the back she wrote:
P.S. I saw you on the Dr. Phil Show! I looked it up on YouTube. So cool!
I am glad to be incapable of letting things go because I cannot let go of the fact that years ago people were once brutally unpleasant to me and made it difficult to exist. This bitterness may only serve as fuel to propel me to push the envelope in moderation while still tweaking my rampant unique as to not let the bullies win. They led me to believe at one time during the naivete of boyhood that if I changed my behavior and became normal then being embraced by my neurotypical peers would surely be the reward. That was hardly the case and merely fool’s gold…magic beans…breaking news from Fantasy Land.
I am going to listen to this woman’s advice. I will continue composing my long cards and will send her a Happy Graduation Card to partially compensate for the fact that real graduation ceremonies were not practical this particular year. I will also reassure her that such cards will not become a habit considering that is a common fear when people show kindness. “When you give a mouse a cookie they are going to ask for a glass of milk.” I myself have shown such kindness to people who are in dire straits emotionally and have found that my good intentions caused them to stick to me with the energy of Bob Wiley from “What About Bob?” And yes…I will let her know my birthday is April 2nd because the magic of a birthday shan’t be ignored. Now…how do you like them apples?!