Big Daddy Autism: Adult-ish Entertainment
Like many kids on the spectrum, Griffin, my autistic son, follows rules. He loves rules and follows them to a tee. Sometimes to ludicrous ends. But, in his mind, a rule is a rule and there can be no compromise. Occasionally, we will use this personality trait to our advantage. The wife and I like to unwind by watching television. A lot of television. Usually something educational and enlightening like reality shows, sitcoms, and/or our soaps.
Griffin did not come into the world equipped with an “on / off” switch when it comes to repetitive loud giggling and questions about elevators, weather, and, on occasion, Wilford Brimley. So watching TV with him in the room is, to put it delicately, a friggin’ nightmare. A little trick we learned a few years back was to tell him that the show we were watching (even if it was Little House on the Prairie) was rated PG-13. Since, at the time he was under thirteen years old, he would bolt from the room averting his eyes as much as possible without running into walls. In his mind, he was under thirteen and if he saw any glimpse of a show rated PG 13 his eyes would probably boil out of his head.
Now Griffin is 15 and still follows rules like a soldier. He knows he is permitted to watch PG-13 material (although he rarely does). So, now, when we want him to power down and go to his room, we tell him we are watching something rated R. Since no one under the age of 17 is permitted to watch R-rated shows and movies, this beautiful fib still causes him to bolt out of the room. (When I was his age, you wouldn’t be able to peel my eyes from the screen – let alone remove my hormone-ravaged body from the room.)
As high school approaches, we realize that our little R-rated trick is going to come to an end soon. When he turns seventeen, we are going to have to start telling the boy that we are watching porn in order to get some peace and quiet. I’m figuring there are going to be a bunch of high school boys who, all of a sudden, are going to wanna hang out at Griff’s house when we put this procedure in place and word gets out.
Man, will they be disappointed when the only skin they’re gonna see is on the top of Dr. Phil’s bald head glimmering on our 60-inch TV.
(Flickr image by ST33VO)