Do you know that people with Asperger's don't have a sense of humour? I wish someone had told me before I bothered to develop one. It might have saved me a lot of hassle, especially when it comes to trying to convince people that I am autistic: “You mean you understood the joke? I’m sorry, but you can’t be autistic then. Oh, and you’re a woman too? Well, you definitely can’t be one. Everyone knows it’s a man thing.”
What, even though I can’t multi-task to save my life; I do facts not feelings; I have about as much intuition (feminine or otherwise) as a pile of elephant poo; I have linear thinking so if you tell me to do something I’ll do it, but don’t expect me to think beyond your literal instructions and do anything more than what you asked of me; my astounding lack of sensitivity is legendary; and I think about sex most of the time?
Or perhaps I don’t have one at all? Maybe that thing which I think of as my sense of humour is actually something else which I’ve misidentified (it wouldn’t be the first time!) That would explain why most people don’t recognise when I’m being funny – that’s funny “ha ha”, as opposed to funny “peculiar”. Apparently most people have no problem in recognising in me the latter.
No, it must be true. It comes from the highest authority - neurotypicals. I even read a quote from a psychiatrist who stated that we don’t have one, and therefore Albert Einstein couldn’t be one of us because he did. Well of course that would negate all the other evidence to the contrary. Stands to reason. ‘Nuff said.
Does this mean, then, that anyone found wanting in the humour department has Asperger’s? My God, think what that could mean: the number of autistics could have multiplied dramatically overnight. We could be taking over the world, and nobody would know about it! And think how much easier it would make diagnosis: “No sense of humour? Definitely autistic.”
I would like to say something to those people who have stereotyped us all as lacking in wit – “You’ve got to be kidding! I’m an autistic in a predominantly non-autistic society, for fuck’s sake. What bigger joke can there be than that?!” Of course there are those on the autistic spectrum who don’t have a sense of humour, but that’s not all of us. Hell, there are plenty of humourless buggers in neuro-land but no-one holds it against them. Instead they give them large salaries and put them in positions of power.
If it weren’t for my sense of humour I’d be completely round the bend by now, or possibly have tripped off this mortal coil and be floating around in the ether playing jokes on people in the corporeal world. Ooh, I could haunt séances and try communicating with the living, see if it’s any easier now that I’m dead. Probably would be. One of God’s little ironic jokes, no doubt.
Did you see that? That was humour, that was - for those of you who have trouble spotting it, without me having to signpost it with yet another exclamation mark! Apparently my wit is very dry, which is why so many people don’t get it. I could try the opposite, I suppose, except that I’m not quite sure what that would be – wet wit, perhaps? Is that where people spit a lot when telling jokes? Or do they deluge you with them, which makes you feel like you’re drowning (or wish you were, they’re so bad!)?
I guess I needn’t get too despondent though. After all I’m in great company: even God gets painted as a humourless bugger by some people. I think I’d have lost my sense of humour by now if I’d been burdened with the responsibility for taking care of the human race! I wonder whether S/He gets paid a large salary to run the universe (expense account included)?
Ah well. Best return to my humourless existence, then, back to the gloomy place I share with Eeyore, before someone spots that I’ve escaped for a few hours of wanton jocularity, and questions my dubious claim to being autistic.
"Do you believe in Magic?" asked Colin.
"That I do, lad," she answered. "I never knowed it by that name, but what does th' name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i' France an' a different one i' Germany. Th' same thing as set th' seeds swellin' an' th' sun shinin' made thee well lad an' it's th' Good Thing. It isn't like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th' Big Good Thing doesn't stop to worrit, bless thee. It goes on makin' worlds by th' million - worlds like us. Never thee stop believin' in th' Big Good Thing an' knowin' th' world's full of it - an call it what tha' likes. Eh! lad, lad - what's names to th' Joy Maker."
From 'The Secret Garden', by Frances Hodgson Burnett
"There is no way to happiness - happiness is the way."
The Dalai Lama
"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."