Elaboration On The Green Man + A Talk About Autism
So, something I haven’t talked about on the blog up until now was a one-shot Batman fanfic I wrote last month called The Green Man. If you wanna read it, click the link below to do so now, because I’m gonna be spoiling the ending a bit for you if you haven’t. I should warn, though, that this fic is rated M due to coarse language and mature subject matter.
…Okay, so for those that didn’t read, here’s the gist of the story: It takes place on the pre-Flashpoint New Earth, though after the events of Convergence. Basically, rolling with the idea that all the old worlds were restored as part of an infinitely spanning Multiverse with the New 52 Multiverse at the centre of it (or at least that’s how I understand things work now, I could be wrong). A body turns up in a diner that leads Batman and Proxy to learn the horrible story of a man who is a high-functioning autistic (or as I kept referring to it as, ‘low-level’, because I guess I just considered it the same thing while writing, and if it isn’t, then I apologize). It’s a sad story, but at the end, I left a small glimmer of hope, which the reader can take to mean whatever they want it to. I’m not exactly planning on doing anything further with the story.
So, for the benefit of those that didn’t read the story or the Author’s Notes at the end (because I always like to add those), I need to elaborate and come clean about something, in case I haven’t made it clear already: I have Asperger’s syndrome. This basically means that I am, more or less by technicality, considered autistic. Like the Green Man in my story, I am high-functioning, but just being considered autistic is enough to make it hard for me to get a job. Add in the fact that I only have a GED and not an actual high school diploma, or any kind of college or university degrees, and…well, you kinda get a good idea of what my life is like. In short, I’m a 30-year-old man still living at home, blogging about comic books and other forms of escapist fiction. Not that there’s anything wrong with blogging about escapist fiction, because if there was, I wouldn’t have done so for the past going-on-600-articles, just that I’d like to have a job and a place of my own on top of that.
Regardless, I should make it clear that The Green Man is NOT based off of my own personal experiences, but rather is a cautionary tale of what could happen to someone like this someday. Not to say we’re all a step away from being a Green Man, just that it COULD happen. To be perfectly honest, it’s almost my nightmare scenario of what my life could someday turn out to be like, or could have if certain points of my life had happened differently. I’m always worrying about stuff like what could happen if I find that I’m unable to support myself when the time comes that I simply cannot live with Mom and Dad anymore, which will inevitably happen if for no other reason than the simple fact that no one lives forever. And the truth is, for all of our progress, there are still people in the world who believe things like autism are some kind of a disease that either needs to be cured or needs to be prevented from being genetically passed on any further. Being labelled as autistic, some employers will simply outright reject a person just for that and then give whatever excuse they need for doing so that helps them sleep at night. There are people out there right now who have never met me, but upon learning that I’m autistic, would want to deny me the right to have children and carry on my family line and legacy to avoid the risk of creating additional children with autism, even though it’s a known fact that people without any kind of disability, handicap, or hindrance have had children that did, meaning removing me from the equation does NOTHING.
But there IS hope, people. I really and truly believe that, in spite of my fears and concerns, and what I know about the world as it is right now. In truth, the reason that the very end of the story may seem tacked on is because…well, it was. I wasn’t originally going to add it, and even when I thought of it, I was still on the fence about it. Ultimately, though, I added it because I want everyone that reads to know that there is hope for every person with any kind of mental or physical issue. It’s not something that needs to be cured. Rather, it needs to be accepted by those that don’t have them, and overcome by each and every person that does. Obviously, I don’t mean that people who can’t walk should be able to, or people born without ears should be able to hear naturally, but that having these issues neither controls their lives nor defines them. Not to mention, some of these hindrances come packaged with some advantages. Personally speaking, I’ve been told that there are benefits to Asperger’s. Many have increased levels of creativity, and can display intense interests in otherwise difficult to grasp concepts. I know I do. In fact, if you look on Wikipedia about Asperger’s, there’s a picture of a kid who is DEEPLY fascinated by molecular structure. Some of us have been known to have a hyper-sensitivity to taste. For example, I can taste traces of mint on a piece of chocolate with no mint in it, just because it was laying in a box of chocolates next to a piece that DID have mint in it… … …And yes, I oftentimes wonder if there is a way to use this power to fight crime. What would my alias be then? The Tongue? lol
With that said, I will say this: Facilities like the one I described in this work of fiction DO exist. There are places where people with varying levels of physical and mental disabilities, handicaps, and disorders can go to get job training, and there are still employers that will turn them down in spite of this. And I know this because I went to one for eight years, and upon leaving to seek real employment elsewhere, I have since come up with nothing. Mind you, a large part of this is my fault. I want to someday be a writer, but that requires a better education with a degree of some sort. Unfortunately, I can’t get a job in writing because I don’t have the money to go back to school, I can’t get the money without a job, and I can’t get a decent paying job without more job experience or, you guessed it, a better education. At this point, I think my only option would be fast food, and you’ll forgive me if I don’t want to be 30, living at home, and have my job be defined as “Would you like a hot apple pie with that?”. And I’m not saying anyone who falls under that category is a loser or anything like that, it’s just not what I want to do, and yes, that is entirely my own problem. Despite that, though, we as a species still need to be more accepting and willing to give people a chance to show that they can do anything the normal (whatever that means) person can do. We are, all of us, human beings, and every single human being needs to be given a chance at some point or another. And if you still can’t figure out what it was that finally inspired me to talk about all of this…well, just take a quick glance at some of the major headlines in the news for the past year or so. It’s true, we’re making great strides in some areas when it comes to accepting people who are different and granting them the same rights and privileges as anyone else, but we could still do so much better in others. And on a personal note, when the #1 group that most people think of in the world that are supposed to be supporting people with autism are the very same people who think of autism as a disease, that’s a huge problem.
Anyway, that’s my thoughts on the matter, based on my own personal experiences, and the experiences of those I’ve encountered and bore witness to over the years. And I’m sorry that I never brought this up before and that it’s all coming out in one big rant, but…well, for starters, it’s called Jyger’s Rant for a reason, and the other thing is that, for a long time, I didn’t know that I was the right person to talk about it, or that I had enough relevant things to say about it that anyone would care about. If that’s still true, then I apologize for wasting your time, but a lot has changed since I first started this blog, and I feel a bit more comfortable and confident talking about stuff that really matters to me, so I hope you took the time to read this. And hey, if you did read the fanfic, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section either below this article or on Fanfiction.net. Ja né!