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Autism: Different Humour

22 Feb

As we walk along, he speaks to me in German. “I don’t know what you are saying,” I respond in exasperation. “That is the point,” he tells me, and laughs. It is a great joke to him that he is able to speak in another language. I catch some words that are close enough to English to make out, and others that he has used several times, but mostly I don’t know what he is saying to me, and he continues to talk almost non stop.

If only I could get that in English – but he has always liked codes. Perhaps that is what would make him a good programmer. He learns the languages quickly when he wants to – American Sign, German, Java, and so many others. He has always been good with languages.

It isn’t just me, however. He also talks to the cats and dog in German. It is a good way to learn, I suppose, as we are pretty much the only ones he talks to anyway. Though I pretend to be frustrated, I am really amazed at how well he is doing. I started learning Spanish at the same time he started German, and I had taken several courses in the language in the past – but though I can read it a bit, I find it very difficult still to speak it.

This is his humour. Different than most, but still developed in his own way. I like how it makes him laugh.

He is busier on his computer these days (now that he is an adult, and I cannot set limits to how long he spends on it.) However, in the past, many of his jokes were shared with me: I would come home from work to find he had hacked into my computer and blacklisted all of my favourite sites, or he would be playing a virtual game (Second Life, or Minecraft, or something) and create invisible teleports that would send unsuspecting people to other worlds – or cause their head to fly off (Lego) – or have them fly up into the sky as if they had stood on a geyser that erupted.

One of his favourite interactions with me, which he has been doing since he was a preschooler, is to sneak up on me to see if he can make me scream (as he just did before I wrote this sentence.) I jump and scream (I am easily startled that way,) and he walks away laughing, as if his job is done.

And then there are the cupboard doors. I commented to him yesterday that if he were a ghost, he would haunt me this way. I walk into the kitchen only to find that every cupboard door, every drawer, and even the dishwasher are open. He knows this makes me cringe, and finds it hilarious – or at least a good way to get back at him for ‘annoying’ him.

Every once in a while, I am able to get him back. Perhaps I finally catch him unexpectedly when I jump around a corner, and he jumps and yells… of course, then he chases me around the house, and my heart races so hard I think I am going to have a heart attack (but I think it is worth it… maybe.) Or, after he has cleared the sink (dishes are his job) I will put one dish into the sink, which he will clear, and then I will put another… this usually only happens when he fills the dishwasher while I am feeding the dog, or having lunch, though. He is much better at this game than I am.

While both of us struggle with typical humour, that does not mean that we have no sense of humour. It just looks different from other people, and perhaps isn’t seen so often when we are in groups (I mean, there is so much to filter out in those environments, how can we be expected to get the joke then, too?)

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