Thursday, May 04, 2006

Meeeeeemmmoorrreeeeee, life was beautiful then

I just read this headline on Yahoo news: US Survey shows autism very common
No Shit. Have you ever been to an ice cream social for the R&D department of an engineering firm?

"Oh look everyone, Neil's chocolate swirl looks like a sine curve!" calls out Fred.

"Hey has anyone seen my laser pointer?" I ask the group.
"Derivative of one half y squared!" yell out Wen-Shu and Matthew in unison.

Actually, these highly entertaining party comments are fabricated because actually everyone loads up their bowls with ice cream, not making eye contact with the people that they've worked with every day for the last 15 years and they run back to their cubicles to immerse themselves in their computer models. Yes that was my life.

Okay, now I'm being serious. I'm completely unsurprised by this 'survey.' I really was an engineer for a long time and I really did experience the characteristic antisocial behaviour by extremely intelligent men all the time. Every day. It's one of the things I miss least about my former career. Think about it the next time you need to see a particulary brilliant doctor or you watch an interview of a famous economist.


Anonymous JMo said...

Was I that anti-social? I agree with your assesment that nearly every other engineer here is. A certain engineering manager has about as much social grace as a hunk of coal.
I've often wondered why these people choose to have families... Nice that they provide a good income, but the kids must feel like they are on a trust fund - they never see or interact with the person who provides their nice upper middle class lifestyle because they are at work 12-14 hours a day (some even more).

5/04/2006 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

LOL. I used to work at a government site that was chock full of engineers, researchers, and scientists. So this absolutely rings true for me. You should have been there for quarter beer night, a more fun time was never had by all.

5/04/2006 3:22 PM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

Geez - and all this time I thought Alan Greenspan was just to shy to look me in the eyes...

5/04/2006 3:23 PM  
Anonymous tif said...

Just heard about a pediatrician who plans to study the primary teeth of autistic and ADHD children to determine if there is an excess of mercury. It was alarming to learn that mercury is used as a preservative in immunizations. He is treating his autistic son with shots of pure B12, and the results are positively awesome.

If the vitamins do prove to be so effective, maybe a B12 cocktail injection party for socially challenged coworkers would become a new fad?

5/04/2006 3:58 PM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

Oh God...we'll have to share a beer over talk of my nephew who has been diagnosed by his parents as having autism (Asperger's) It's not that I'm arguing with the idea that he might be...he most likely is. Talking to him is like talking to a robot. Poor kid. He's very bright. However, instead of getting him some help so that he's not such a social outcast (he has no friends), they further isolate him by treating all other children as though they're stupid in his presence. The boy is treated as though he's a genius and that any problems he might have are always the fault of others. It's pathetic. I can't believe that inside of a month I'll actually be sitting down with you having that beer. Yay!

5/04/2006 7:40 PM  
Anonymous honestyrain said...

i can totally see it too. and i think i would find it very hard to spend a lot of time around people like that because i am a very social person. i likes me some socializing.

5/05/2006 8:43 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

I know they have identified a spectrum for autistic behavior that ranges from mild to severe. Sometimes I wonder if I'm mildly autistic or just really shy and sort of anti-social and then I remember, oh yeah, I'm an introvert. I think we all have some of the characteristics at times. I'm not making light of autism by any means I know it's a serious disease for a lot of people. But I'm not surprised by that report either.

5/05/2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Hah I love it! I used to date WAY too many engineers. Not the really awkward ones, but the ones who were fond of drinking their own weight in beer who often socialized out of pity with the awkward ones for a laugh. I'm a wee bit talkative (to put it mildly) and the combination of "girl + friendly" left them completely puzzled and with no idea what to think. Man was that fun.

5/07/2006 6:44 PM  

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