NOVA NOTES


~CHANNELSURFING AND CHEAP CURES~

September 19, 1998,8:00 p.m.

 There's a new journal out called BAKER STREET which I think will bear watching. I hope he'll continue, especially on a regular schedule...

I would hate for him to become a Baker Street Irregular. (And no, I am not recommending it just to make the pun. Honest. He's good.)

There's an old journal that seems to have devoted one page to a passing comment I made a few days ago. Right here, linked off this page. A reader of both journals alerted me to it, I hadn't read Gus today. Okay. I wonder why he is go oddly bothered by any passing sexual reference I make? Brian wouldn't have even blinked at that one, and he's only twelve! I suppose any references to "Kegel exercises" and "tantric yoga" would similarly be interesting to him? The oddest people react Puritanically when you approach them the wrong way...it's rather like Ken Starr being alternately fascinated/disgusted by Clinton's sex life. I suppose I should be flattered at having so faithful a reader. I ought to do a strictly sexual entry just for the delight of seeing him react...

However, today isn't the day.

 It was a slow, lazy, relaxed day. Or as relaxed as it ever gets around here, anyway. A movie came on this afternoon called HOUSE OF CARDS with Tommy Lee Jones and Kathleen Turner on BRAVO, the Arts and Entertainment network on Cable. It was made in 1993, and it showed a very cute little girl on a dig at a Mayan ruin, and later talking to an Indian woman of Mayan ancestry about where souls go when they die. It then switched to the US, and the father had died. The girl was showing classic symptoms....

...Of autistic behavior.

I wasn't expecting it, I didn't want it, I wouldn't have tuned in if I had known....

Can't get away from it, can I?

The latest issue of X-Men had a superpowered "autistic" character with a "chaos effect". That's not counting the X-Men spinoff which has "M" who sometimes displays what the writers think is autistic behavior. It isn't, not by a long shot...

Wonderful! For most of you it is an escape into a fascinating subject. For me it's my everyday life and I'm sick of it.

 Jamie's beating on the smoke alarm. I'll shoo him away, and he'll come back, and I'm afraid he'll either set it off or break it, so we won't know if there's a real fire. Eric is screeching more and more...it has become a regular mantra for Brian to yell,

"Shut up, Eric!"

He's not in pain, he's smiling, he just has no idea how much volume he's using. He's often squealing/screeching in delight. It's slowly driving the three "normals" in the house completely bonkers.

Since the girl in the movie had spoken a blue streak before....could speak in three languages, yet! --you knew it wasn't going to last! Tommy Lee Jones was excelllently cast as the psychologist who specialized in autistic behavior. I was genuinely moved when he confronted the mother. This was after she discovered one autistic kid was saying various prime numbers over and over, even prime numbers as high as eleven digits long.

"Miracles are cheap around here. It's normalcy that's precious! When was the last time your daughter hugged you, told you she loved you? It's that you should be working on..."

I flipped channels when I saw the young girl started to climb a construction site. Been there, done that---or at least been witness to some of the amazing climbs by autistic children, their fearlessness in certain situations...I didn't want to experience it again. Too painful .

 I flipped around the channels, and settled for a minute or two at MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE 3000, on the Sci-Fi Chanel. It was a bad film set in the Middle Ages called JACK FROST, but I was rather startled at the man-eating witch on there. At first I didn't catch her name, but the hut she was in kept on swaying....

Then the camera cut away, and we got a long view of the hut, which was atop giant chicken legs. Of course the MST3 crowd were making fun of it, but I was instead speechless at the mythological literacy.

It was Baba Yaga, the Leshy witch out of Russian folklore!

It was still a silly story, and even the cracks from the MST3 crowd couldn't elevate it, but it was refreshing to see an old "friend" out of folklore. (I am using "witch" in the same sense as the Wicked Witch of the West, the Witch of the Iron Wood in Norse folklore, and the "witch-smellers" that worked under the Zulu king Tchaka. That is not meant to offend any of the Wiccan persuasion. It's just easier to say than "malevolent sorceress", okay?)

 I finally switched back. The gist of it was, she had witnessed her father die. She was convinced, from something a Mayan woman said, that the soul of her father was on the moon....alone and lonely. She wanted to get someplace high enough to reach him. When she couldn't...after a huge edifice was built purely for her to walk a winding path higher and higher...she spoke, and told "him",

"Goodbye."

In the tradition of easy endings everywhere, that "cured" her. The next day, she could hug her Mommy, talk normally, make fun of her brother, ask normal six-year-old questions.

Yeah.

Right.

Some neurotic behavior can be cured, sometimes, by such a moment (although not psychotic) but they're saying such an incident can cause autistic-like behavior? That autistic-like behavior is cured by this?

I just wanted to smash my fist through that TV screen, and reach---somehow---to the other side, and grab the director and screenwriter and drag them out into the real world. I wanted to scream in their faces, how dare they use cheap psychiatry as a miracle cure for autism?

How dare you mock what I go through every day of my life and will probably go through every day of the rest of my life??? How dare you paint such a silly, slipshod happy ending when there are people who would give everything they own this side of their soul to have their children so miraculous cured? How dare you cheapen our struggle?

I came from the movie to my own life. I love my kids...all my kids....but sometimes, especially when Eric is screeching for...literally...the thousandth time today, it gets a bit much. I handle it well, most of the time. That's not to say it's not a strain. I don't expect any miracle cures.

It's not an option, I'm afraid.

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