CHRISTMAS SCENES (Particularly Outdoor Scenes), 2017

I really like this photo of this decorated Christmas tree in the forest. Courtesy of pinterest.com

 

I’ve always liked looking at photos and images of outdoor Christmas scenes this time of year.

They give me a feeling of calm, as being someone with Asperger’s who gets anxiety from time to time over the various stresses that life brings, it is quite helpful.

I also like looking at the Christmas displays around my neighborhood; though I’ve seen some that have gone WAY too far, that’s OK. It’s a part of the Christmas and holiday season.

With times being what they are in the world, I think we all need something like that to help cope – which I certainly thank God for as He created nature.

For those who are wondering what my wish is for this Christmas and holiday season, it’s the same as always,

Something that we SO need on this planet we call Earth, more than ever…

 

PEACE.

 

Of course It should go without saying that I wish everyone a…

VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

 

All right, on with the scenery. Please enjoy…

 

LOVE the star situated between the decorated trees. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

 

Check out this church nestled in this mountain range, all covered in snow. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

 

I like the subtlety of the Christmas lights on this house, nothing too outlandish. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

 

This is a perfect winter scene; a decorated Christmas tree in front of snow-covered trees. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

 

I feel obligated to show a big lights display – I like this one; it’s not too subtle, but it’s not as over the top as other displays, either. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

 

This is such a pure winter scene that give me such a feel-good effect, I had to share it. Photo courtesy of wallpapaercave.com

 

 

And of course a Nativity scene MUST be included here. I hope you like this one…

 

Photo courtesy of church militant.com

 

 

One more photo for the road – one which I like because it shows a sense of unity that’s sorely needed these days; a Hanukkah menorah placed next to the Christmas tree…

Photo courtesy of firenewsfeed.com

 

 

 

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The Only Christmas Album Worth Listening To (according to me)

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

 

I’ll get right to the point…

A significant reason why (in my and I’m sure millions of other’s views) A Charlie Brown Christmas is the greatest animated feature ever made lies in the soundtrack of that essential holiday classic.

Produced by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi in 1965, the beauty of the eleven songs is the fact that they were done by a mere three instruments

 

– A piano, which Guaraldi played,

– An upright bass, played by Monty Budwig on some songs and Fred Marshall on some others, and…

– A simple set of drums, played by Colin Bailey and Jerry Granelli

 

Two of the eleven songs, “Christmas Time Is Here” (an absolute classic that I love!) and “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing”, were done by a children’s choir.

And of course we can’t forget the song that became the theme music to that greatest comic strip of all time, “Linus and Lucy”.

But enough of the details!

I am going to post the links to some of the classically brilliant tunes below for you to listen (thanks to YouTube); these are my personal favorites.

I’m confident that you’ll agree with me that this is a GREAT Christmas album, if not the absolute best…

 

 

CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE (VOCAL)

 

 

 

 

LINUS AND LUCY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6zypc_LhnM

 

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVB18xbRMI4

 

 

 

 

GREENSLEEVES

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHU99s793q8

 

 

 

 

SKATING

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn4Y3sHyfsg

 

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE (INSTRUMENTAL)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvI_FNrczzQ

 

 

 

 

I hope these songs serve as evidence of why the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas is the best holiday soundtrack ever made.

It’s honestly not Christmas in my book without listening to this album multiple times, along with watching that holiday special.

After doing both since I can remember – well over four decades as I was five when I first recall seeing A Charlie Brown Christmas on TV for the first time – it’s safe for me to say that.

If nothing else, I’m confident that they’ll invoke good childhood memories of this time of year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

 

Image courtesy of gortoncenter.org

 

 

Another Excerpt From “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”

 

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Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php)
(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / mandygodbehear

 

I wanted to show another illustration of what it was like for me being a high school kid with Asperger’s while going to a regular high school and interacting with neurotypicals.

This is a blatant illustration of how bad things were for me, as these pair of excerpts describe my trips to Disneyland with my high school’s marching band during my junior and senior years and a particular incident that happened on both occasions.

These pair of excerpts are from Chapter 5 of my book, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, the chapter being called “ROUGH TIMES AT SAMOHI, PART ONE”.

Yes, I know I have posted excerpts from this chapter on this blog already, but seeing as these incidents were particularly traumatic and happened during the holiday season – thirty-something years ago this month – I thought it would be a good idea to write this.

OH, BY THE WAY:

I’m in the home stretch of my final editing and print-outs of the chapters to “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”; I have just three chapters to go before I can have it self-published.

In other words, this odyssey of mine is starting to get close to being done.

OK, here are more excerpts to “ROUGH TIMES AT SAMOHI, PART ONE”…

 

The performance went well enough, but in the grand tradition of deja-vu it was what happened afterwards, when we were sorting out who would have the glorious times with whom, that once again induced the type of trauma that I remember to this day…

I had found myself with a bunch of guys from the trombone and tenor saxophone sections. On the surface, they seemed friendly enough, and I was looking forward to having a crew to run around with in Walt Disney’s Original Magic Kingdom.

There we were, following the red line on the ground that led us from our buses to some back door that opened onto Adventureland when a couple of my so-called “crew” said to me, “Let’s check out Main Street! We need you to do a man test!”

So off we went, landing at an arcade that was reminiscent of those penny arcades that were all the rage around 1900. We came upon this Zoltar-type machine with these two metal handles, which was essentially the “man test” as the object was to grab those poles and see how long you could stand the electric shocks that ran through them.

“Go ahead Derek, you go first,” the guys were saying, goading me in that “Come and join the big boys and be part of the group” way, which of course I was more than willing to do because what average teenager doesn’t want to be part of something?

Most unfortunately, however, what ended up happening was something that was eerily similar to that bird poop sandwich episode that was put upon me in the 5th grade six years before, showing  that with the naiveté that characterizes much of the young Asperger’s population, things often stay the same as far as the way non-aspie youngsters take advantage of them.

At least such was the case with this Aspie.

To get to the point, I was badly duped, dumped, and taken advantage of in a very cruel fashion by those fellow band members I was with.

I know this is so because as I was grabbing onto those handles, I saw out of the corner of my eye those so-called “friends” sprinting away, desperately hoping to ditch me and leave me to my dorky self, which I’m sure they thought of me as because if they didn’t think of me that way, they wouldn’t have ditched me the way they did.

I gave chase like some little kid being teased on the playground – deja-vu there, too – before I gave up and found myself standing there all by my lonesome, feeling the same way I felt the year before at that very same park when that alto sax player and bass clarinet player told me (not in so many words, but you know what I mean) to sod off, me sobbing inwardly at the reminder that I wasn’t liked too much.

Looking back, I understand that being someone with a high-functioning form of autism, I was too weirdly different for my peers to tolerate and be around with any more than they had to. They were forced to interact with me at school and in the band but when it came to the Happiest Place On Earth I’m sure that they saw being there as a sort of vacation from me and how I was, which due to the difference in how my brain was/is wired I simply could not help.

That was no excuse for those guys doing what they did to me, however; I don’t care how dorky someone seems to be, no one deserves to be treated the way I was at Disneyland – or anywhere else for that matter.

Ever.

For ANY reason.

 

 

Main Street in Disneyland, including the very arcade where I was ditched, dumped, and humiliated by some of my high school band mates two years running on the right. Photo courtesy of dreamstime.com

 

 

 

FAST FORWARDING A FEW PAGES TO ANOTHER EXCERPT, WHICH DESCRIBES WHAT HAPPENED TO ME AT DISNEYLAND A YEAR LATER…

It was after our performance, when we changed back into our band shirts and jeans on the buses and headed back into the park, when the ultimate deja-vu came to pass and the proof of at least this aspie – I can’t speak for others with Asperger’s – having a tendency to be gullible showing itself in what happened.

I found myself with the same group of trombones and tenor saxes what duped and ditched me at that penny arcade and the previous year. They seemed to welcome me along as we went back to that same arcade on Main Street, asking me to take that same “Man Test” with the same electrical poles on that same Zoltar-like machine.

Like the naive kid on the autistic spectrum that I was, I took the boat and grabbed the poles.

Out of the same corner of my eye as approximately 365 days before, I saw those guys run away, taking a hard left onto a side street. After I gave chase for a few steps I gave up and stood there, once again dumped and duped, feeling al kinds of negative feelings, particularly at the thought that I was such an undesirable to too many of my band mates.

If I were a neurotypical, I would have told them to go fuck themselves and their “Man Test” and walked away.

But that was neither here nor there as at that moment I once again found myself all by my lonesome on that Disneyland thoroughfare; because I so wanted to be accepted as part of a “cool” group like roughly 90% of all teens, I ended up in the same sorry situation as twelve months before.

It was an innate gullibility that led me to be taken advantage of like I was at that penny arcade those two years as I didn’t want to face the fact that those group of guys thought of me as too much of a social undesirable to want to hang with me. For me to think that would have been yet another albatross among the many that I had built up inside of myself not only during my Samo days, but pretty much throughout my life up to that time and afterwards.

I know, those guys who ditched me for two years running at what to me in those days was Dismal-Land had no idea that I was on the Autism Spectrum, and I also know that we were all just immature, non thinking insensitive kids at that time, but even though I (of course) forgive them that doesn’t take away the pain of what I went through as if those incidents had happened ten years before, I would have been crying my eyes out over the hurt that was put upon me at Disneyland.

To be fair, the guys involved in that cruel deceit had no idea of how hurtful they were being, and I’ve only had contact with two of them (there were five) since graduation, so if they read this I’ll bet they would be surprised, if not shocked, at the amount of mental and emotional hurt that I suffered at their hands.

That’s why it’s only right to forgive them.

 

Flip the gender, add about ten years, and this was me in high school – at least that’s how I felt. Photo courtesy of myaspergerschild.com

 

 

“Work Is Not Supposed To Be Enjoyable”: AN EXTREME REBUTTAL

An illustration of someone who evidently enjoys her job. Photo courtesy of teflonline.teachaway.com

 

WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T ENJOY WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING?

I remember a few years ago reading something online about people who were stressed out, burned out, and generally unhappy in their jobs, the article offering suggestions on how to cope with that.

I also remember reading one particular comment in that section by someone who apparently was a miserable jerk because he wrote that those who were miserable in the workforce were nothing but whiny crybabies who need to understand…

A. That work isn’t supposed to be enjoyed, but is supposed to be difficult, which is why it’s called work, and,

B. People who feel otherwise are losers who need to get over it and feel lucky they’re earning a paycheck.

If I ever came face to face with this guy, I would tell him in no uncertain terms that he is nothing but a mean bully who a firm believer in misery loving company.

And who is just plain wrong.

Bluntly put, a career need not be eight hours of hell following orders from bosses who are essentially schoolyard bullies or supervisors with the mind of and who behave like slavery-era overseers.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that sometimes a person has to do whatever is necessary to survive, and to keep a roof overhead and the family clothed and fed if he or she has one.

I know this because like probably 98% of the world’s working age population, I worked at jobs l absolutely hated, ranging from telemarketing to working in retail, particularly at a luggage store in the early 1990s that felt much like a prison sentence, I hated it so much.

The minimum wage salary I made peddling luggage and handbags felt like blood money, as I felt that the only difference between me and a slave on a plantation was that I got a paycheck.

Those dark days were the product of me believing that making money however possible was the most important thing, and I eventually learned that nothing can be further from the truth – at least as far as I am concerned as I can’t speak for everyone else.

That luggage salesman gig taught me once and for all that you have to like what you do for work, else it’s just not worth it in the long run, and especially when you factor in mental health as I suffered from a couple of nervous breakdowns and some suicidal thoughts stemming from my unhappiness in some of the jobs I had.

There’s an old saying…

Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.

No statement can be more truer than that.

 

Here’s my point:

A person needs to have a passion for whatever job or career he or she may be involved in.

Happiness, enjoyment, and work satisfaction are essential or else bitterness and depression will set in; I know this because that’s what happened to me.

It was wanting to enjoy my work – as well as being able to work without some bully or overseer, I mean boss or supervisor, micromanaging me and telling me how much I need to improve or flat-out suck, looking for faults and reasons to fire me – that is the reason why for almost ten years I’ve been an online writer with two blogs (including this one) and working on a book about my life and struggles as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome in mainstream society called WALKING ON EGGSHELLS.

Which is getting closer to being finished and ready for (self) publishing, by the way.

While it hasn’t been the most lucrative venture, I can safely say that I very much like what I do and am pursuing my passion.

My message for all you folks who are hating on their jobs is this…

Unless you would definitely be on the street if you quite your hated job today, you don’t have to suffer through misery, because life is too short.

Go paint or work with kids.

Write a book like I’m doing.

Or anything else that you have a passion for.

Find your happiness.

It may the thing that will restore your mental health and save your sanity.

 

It’s my hope that everyone can find this. Photo courtesy of idealistcareers.org

 

 

I’m A Lifetime Resident of Los Angeles and I’ve Never Had A Car: Why?

A common occurrence in America’s second largest city for the past sixty years: parking lots that are supposed to be freeways, this one the 405 in West Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of  la.curbed.com

 

THE VARIOUS REASONS I NEVER HAD AN AUTOMOBILE IN A CITY WHERE THE AUTOMOBILE IS KING

 

I know that in the City of Angels, I’m something akin to a freak of nature, a space alien who’s on the wrong planet.

Or seen by at least a few people as a “loser”, or someone who is somewhat less of an adult, because of this:

I have lived in the greater Los Angeles area for over forty years, and I’ve never owned a car – nor do I ever plan to own one.

Let me go right into the reasons why…

 

1. TRAFFIC, AS IN L.A. HAVING THE WORST IN THE U.S.

Of the over ten million people who reside in Los Angeles County – and in neighboring Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties – no one enjoys the gridlock traffic jams that have been part of the Southern California landscape and culture since the 1950s, when the automobile became the virtual symbol of L.A.

For me personally, it’s more than merely being annoyed while stuck in parking lots that are supposed to be streets.

A personal part of this Asperger’s Syndrome that I have is that my anxieties grow to a pronounced level, a 12 on a scale of one to ten, whenever I feel like I’m in a hurry to get someplace (which is much of the time) and the bus I’m riding in – my main form of transportation – is either stuck somewhere in traffic or stops because the driver is ahead of the bus route’s time schedule.

Yes, I know that plenty of aspies drive cars just like neurotypicals, but If I were driving a car, those anxieties could lead to me doing something that’s not good, like get into an accident because I’m trying to go somewhere too fast, or get into a road rage situation.

For me, it’s just easier and simpler to let the bus, Metro Rail, or taxi driver do the driving; it would save me and everyone else some potentially bad disasters and incidents.

As for Uber and Lyft, that’s an option that I’ll probably be using in the near future.

2. DWB – DRIVING WHILE BLACK

I’ve heard too many stories in the news about how African-Americans like me have been stopped, searched, handcuffed, arrested, and killed while driving by white police for no other reason besides the color of their skin.

Getting racially profiled like that has happened to me more than once while riding my bicycle in Santa Monica when I lived there in the early 1990s; while I wasn’t handcuffed, I would be stopped by motorcycle cops and given tickets for reasons I don’t know to this day.

Experiencing what those fellow blacks have experienced is something I want absolutely no part of, which is why for me, driving my own car is not worth that risk.

 

 

A major part of driving a car as a black man that I want NO part of. Photo courtesy of justicenotjails.org

 

 

3. AFFORDABILITY

I don’t want get into any details about my income as I feel that’s no one’s business, but suffice it to say that it’s not at the level where I can afford to buy and (particularly) maintain a decent car.

And as for financing and monthly payments, that’s likewise something that would induce a level of stress in me that I do not need at this point in my life, as I want to live more simply.

Worrying about money for gas, and fixing my car if it broke down and needed new parts like an engine or transmission is something that I don’t want to do.

4. BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

I definitely don’t need to contribute to the dirtying of the air (despite changes to cars that have offset that) that the exhaust from cars brings.

One can say that by not driving, I’m doing my part to improve the environment and slow down the global warming that’s getting to be more and more of an issue.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE…

It’s just simpler for me to take public transportation, an area where Los Angeles has improved as there are things like the various Metro Rail lines and a planned “Subway To The Sea” going from downtown to Santa Monica that didn’t exist twenty years before.

Besides, when I had my bicycle I recall crashing and wrecking it at least three times in a twelve-month span, scraping myself fairly badly on one occurrence.

I can only imagine the ramifications of going through the same thing while driving a car.

I know that having never had one has led at least some folks to see me as a loser, or something less of an adult.

If you are one of those who are of that opinion because I don’t drive and have never had my own mode of transportation other than a bicycle, go ahead and think such.

It’s OK.

I have to do what’s right for me, no matter what.

 

A part of Los Angeles culture that I likewise want no part of. Photo courtesy of abc7.com

 

 

 

 

Some Personal Thanksgiving Thoughts

Photo courtesy of people.howstuffworks.com

 

Just Being Honest Here:

While I like Thanksgiving as much as the next person, what with all the comfort food, the various parades and football games on TV, and being thankful for all the blessings that I have,

Which I am very thankful of and always will be, don’t get me wrong,

Thanksgiving Day – one of the three days out of 365, along with Christmas and Easter, that the homeless and others down on their luck are guaranteed a full meal, by the way – has never really given me the same exact type of warm, fuzzy feelings that Christmas Day has.

As much as anything else, it’s been a welcome four days off from the routines of school as a kid and work as an adult.

The fact that for the Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning, has influenced these opinions as while if not for Squanto, Samoset, Massasoit, and the rest of that Wampanoag tribe from New England, Thanksgiving Day would not exist, has contributed to my feelings about this holiday that Abraham Lincoln officially designated as such in 1863.

It was particularly Squanto who saved those Pilgrims from dying at Plymouth Rock by teaching them how to fish, plant corn and hunt turkey after half of that Plymouth colony died off in the winter of 1620-21.

And what did those Native Americans got for their kindness and generosity?

Let’s put it like this…

While plenty of folks can claim ancestry from the Mayflower, there are absolutely no descendants of Samoset and the rest of the Wampanoags.

In other words, that tribe was completely wiped out, the Pilgrims eventually showing that those Wampanoags were no friends of theirs.

 

Linus telling Charlie Brown and the rest of his friends about the significance of Thanksgiving. Image courtesy of disneyabcpress.com

 

 

As for personal memories,

My three main Thanksgiving memories as a kid were:

1. Watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”,

2. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and the CBS All-American Thanksgiving Day Parade, where they would broadcast different parades from across America; I especially remember them showing a parade from Hawaii that I thought was cool.

and…

3. Watching the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving morning as a high school and college kid, and a few years after that.

And I wasn’t , nor am I now, a Lions fan; it was just something to do for a young guy who liked football, I guess.

As far as watching the parades, I stopped watching Macy’s, or any other parades on TV, years ago; the only parade that holds any interest from me is the Tournament of Roses Parade from Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

In fact, I think the “Up With People”-like presentations that dominate the Macy’s telecasts are lame and unwatchable.

And in my view, you can only see giant Underdog balloons so many times before they get old.

 

And as for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving…

While it has its merits,

And while it was one of my favorite things to watch as a youngster, particularly during my elementary school years as it premiered in 1973 (I was in the first grade),

It doesn’t hold as much appeal to me as its Christmas counterpart does as a middle-aged guy. And I’ve felt that way for most of my adulthood.

I still watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving as Peanuts will always be the greatest comic strip of all time in my book, but I can’t help feeling that Charles Schultz sort of mailed it in compared to A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

I mean, Peppermint Patty was just being rude to just invite herself and her friends Marcie and Franklin to Charlie Brown’s house, not even caring that that round-headed kid and his family weren’t going to be home.

And it would have been all I could do to avoid smacking her, grabbing her by the scruff of the neck and throwing her out of the house when she complained about the spur of the moment meal of popcorn, pretzels, toast, and jelly beans that Charlie, Snoopy and Linus put out, as she expected them to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner of turkey and the works.

I think you can see why I don’t get the nostalgic, “Greatest Animated Feature of All Time” feeling over A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” the way I do over “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

 

 

I can’t write a post about Thanksgiving without including a picture of people preparing dinner for the homeless, as these folks are doing in Boston. Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com

 

 

Speaking of turkey…

Because of my gout condition and the fact that turkey has the purines, which turns to uric acid, which causes the extreme pain in my foot area,

I haven’t eaten that delicacy in nearly seven years, opting for roast chicken, which has fewer purines.

So I can’t even partake in the food that makes Thanksgiving the national holiday that it is.

But that’s OK; chicken is a good substitute.

And of course I eat plenty of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and the other dishes that are so part of this holiday.

As such, I’ll do some relaxing and vegetating tomorrow, like I pretty much have done on this day.

And oh, before I forget…

 

Photo courtesy of midlifecrisishawaii.com

 

 

 

 

WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Excerpts From Chapter Six

I can certainly relate to scenes like this, because it happened to me many times throughout my school days. Photo courtesy of wisegeekhealth.com

 

My experiences as a high school kid with Asperger’s were so many, I had to divide them into two chapters.

These two excerpts of my (hopefully) soon to be self-published book, WALKING ON EGGSHELLS, is from the chapter I call “ROUGH TIMES AT SAMOHI, PART TWO”:

 

It was like there were so many areas of my life where I was behind seemingly everybody else: kids were partying up a storm complete with the obligatory drunkenness and debauchery with me never being invited to any of those shindigs. Kids were getting driver’s licenses and cars and God, seemingly, was telling me no to doing that same thing.

Not to mention kids, particularly in that moment in time, pairing up and hooking up like crazy…

In my mind at least, people were leaving me out of things because they generally didn’t see me as cool, which I fully admit I wasn’t, and that hurt. Every time I found out about some kegger bash which I was obviously not invited to, like this one huge blowout that the band had in my junior year in the Santa Monica Mountains, I felt humiliated, degraded, and like my peers regarded me as nothing but a waste of space.

But getting back to the prom:

There I was, without a date and feeling more than ever like a dorky loser.

Mom, who was dead set on my attending this rite of passage, made a call to one of my cousins who was not only a teacher, but the coach of her drill team at her high school.

The next thing I knew, I had a date to the Samohi prom.

Just in case you’re going “Yay, that’s wonderful!” right about now…

Don’t even bother.

This date was the classic nerd-getting-fixed-up kind, complete with a girl who, looking back, I suspect was compensated by my cousin either with money or in some other way; I sensed the why-did-I-agree-to-go-with-this-goofy-mark vibe when I talked to her on the phone a couple of days beforehand, and again when the big night arrived.

She wasn’t very outgoing or friendly; it was as if she was working a shift at McDonald’s, particularly as we rode in the town car on the freeway back to her house. As I tried to tell her what a good time I had and to hug her goodbye, she kind of pulled away from me, her body language saying “Yeah, whatever, just let me out you goofy-ass mark!”

At least, though she may deny it, that’s what I’m convinced that she wanted to say to me.

After that big soiree, I told everyone that I had a fun time, essentially lying to myself as I quickly saw the light of my situation and faced the reality of it all, which was this:

I should NOT have gone to the 1985 Santa Monica High School Prom.

 

 

Except for the gender, skin color, and hair texture, this was me in high school. Photo courtesy of  yourlittleprofessor.com

 

 

EXCERPT #2 FROM CHAPTER SIX: One Last Rejection and Humiliation

It was a couple of weeks before school ended, a gorgeous late spring morning…

That previous evening, the phone rang. Mom answered it, and a few minutes later she was in my doorway telling me that I was going to be “kidnapped”, along with all of the other band seniors, at around 6:00 a.m. and taken to breakfast, which was an apparent tradition, Mom telling me, “be sure you’re ready for when they come.”

As I went to sleep later that night, I thought, “This will be fun!”

So when I woke up at around 5:30 the next morning I made it a point to shower, shave, and put on some sweats and a t-shirt to look like I was in bed as it was supposed to be a surprise “kidnapping”.

As it turned out, the surprise was on me as 6:00 came, then 6:30, and no kidnappers; by 7:00 it was clear that they weren’t coming as I got dressed and walked to school as usual, feeling mighty low as one can imagine, this being the latest humiliating rejection in a series of humiliating rejections, three years’ worth to be precise.

When I got to school, in fairness to the “kidnappers” I was told that there was no time to pick me up, which was why I was stood up, but I was told that in a matter-of-fact was like they felt that it was no big deal to do what they did. I don’t remember hearing an “I’m sorry”, and they definitely could have called me and told me to meet them at whatever restaurant they were at if they really wanted me to hang with them.

That was what hurt more than anything else.

It was like when they realized that there wouldn’t be time to pick up everyone, they saw me as the easy odd man out, a case of “Well, we don’t really like Derek anyway, so why should we do something for him or spend any more time with him than we have to?”

Not that I was the simple helpless victim as over the course of me and my band mates’ three years together, my aspieisms, verbal and otherwise, aggravated too many of them more than they would have liked and certainly turned too many of them off to me as far as friendship was concerned; I wanted to be fair in emphasizing that.

So to quite a few of my music mates, I was seemingly nothing but a geeky jerk that did and said inappropriate things, consequently not deserving to be given the time of day.

The worst part of it all was that thanks to my autistic tendencies, I often thought that people were being mean to me for no reason, just like at Will Rogers and John Adams, and just like it would be throughout college and beyond as whenever somebody reacted badly to something I did or said, my first reaction would almost always be,

“What did I do?”

I sometimes still react that way.

 

This was likewise me in high school; just change the color of the hair and the skin, add a few inches, and take away the glasses. Photo courtesy of mysaspergerschild.com