There was a time in 2017 when I felt so stupid that I went and got properly tested by a professional. Long story short, I was found to have Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as Autistic Tendencies, and I was found to have an exceptional IQ.
The Autism piece of this will be obvious. However, the point of me bringing up my IQ is NOT to brag about it. My point will be that, even if your IQ is high, you are still susceptible to buying into myths and making major mistakes.
As I told my therapist, “If I’m so fucking intelligent, then why can’t I use my intelligence to fix my situation and get a job? Why can’t I ‘intelligence’ my way out of this mess?”
The answer to this question is simply that intelligence doesn’t matter in some key instances.
I am writing this because I messed up yesterday in a situation where I was quick to respond to someone who needed information and was honest with them, and now it’s causing me some problems. Yes, I feel like an idiot.
Our society promotes myths about honesty, hard work, education, and other things. These myths are sold to us as “virtues” when we are children.
Today, I am going to talk about some of the myths that I believed, the reality of the situations, and some conclusions that I have drawn as a result.
As the young kids might say, this is going to be unironically based, poggers, and not soyfaced. In Minecraft. LET’S GOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
ASKING FOR PERMISSION
When I was in kindergarten, we were told that we needed to ask for permission before going to the restroom. Doing this involves raising your hand and waiting to be called upon.
Well, I found myself in such a predicament, where I needed to go to the restroom. I followed the rules, and raised my hand while waiting to be called on.
The teacher would look at me and then make a face of disgust as she ignored me. My kindergarten teacher and principal had a special kind of hatred for me. I’m not saying they’re violent, but Mrs. Hitt and Mr. Deck were always threatening to me. They we both also aptly named.
Things were getting to the point of no return, so I was wiggling in my seat. She thought that I was being an asshole, so she ignored me.
Ultimate, I had no choice but to piss myself, right there, in front of everyone.
Dad wasn’t happy to be called away from work to pick me up. I told him that I spilled milk on my pants. He died in 2003, and went to his grave not knowing the truth about that. He also never knew that I was Autistic.
The Myth: One must always ask for permission before doing anything.
The Reality: Many times, this rule may have to be broken in order to deal with something. As a result, your teacher, boss, manager, supervisor, or parents will get angry. There may even be harsh consequences for stepping out of line. But sometimes it has to happen. And when it has to happen, expect that you will be punished.
Why This Myth Exists: To make life way easier for your boss and the company where you work.
We’ve all heard the saying that “Honesty is the best policy.” However, this is SO untrue that it hurts.
I have been honest in job interviews, when answering their questions. At the end of the interview, they will say, “Thank you. We really appreciate your candid responses.”
This is code for, “There is no way in hell that we will ever hire you.”
There are many, many other examples, so I’ll give you one that requires the shortest amount of explanation.
When I was turning 16, my grandparents took me out to get insurance for my car. They were asking me questions, and of course, honesty was important. Right?
They asked me things, like what I do. I told them that I go to school. When they asked me what I like to do for hobbies, I told them that I love to play music.
Their response was, “Hmmm.. musician? Musicians are known for abusing drugs, driving drunk, and being irresponsible. Your annual premium was going to be $400, but I’m afraid we cannot insure you for less than $2,000 per year.”
My grandparents got mad and told me that I should never, EVER say that or admit to it. What they were asking me to do is something called “lie by omission.” It’s supposedly the easiest lie because all you have to do is say nothing.
The Myth: Honesty is the best policy.
The Reality: Hairless primates lie all of the time. Lying is their primary method of survival.
Why This Myth Exists: For the benefit of the wealthy and those who are in power.
HARD WORK IS RECOGNIZED AND REWARDED
I had written a previous piece about why people are not returning to work, and the abuse that I experienced while working at McDonald’s in 1986 [link].
Since I’ve covered that story of hard work and how it did NOT pay off, I’ll give another small example.
A temp agency called me and said that their client needed a spreadsheet done. They estimated that this spreadsheet would take 7-10 days to complete.
My thinking was, “I’ll impress them with how quickly and efficiently I can get this done. They’ll be so impressed that they might even hire me.” I was starting to imagine a bonus for being so fast.
I got this job done in 7 hours. I rushed the file over to the agency right away. They wrote back.
“Thank you for getting this done so quickly! You will be paid for 7 hours on the next check.”
What? But I worked hard and got the job done quickly? No bonus? No job offer? They’re just taking this one file and leaving? Done? They don’t care?
At least I got the last part right. They don’t care.
The Myth: Hard work is recognized and rewarded.
The Reality: Hard workers are exploited.
Why This Myth Exists: So that young workers will be stupid enough to believe it, work hard, then get paid what they would have gotten paid had they done almost nothing but served their time. This myth exists to exploit young, inexperienced workers, as well as Autistic workers. It exists for profit.
I think you might start to be recognizing a trend.
I should have taken that scene in the movie BIG more seriously. Really, I thought that he was portraying a lazy buffoon. The real buffoon is in the mirror.
THE POLICE ARE HERE “TO PROTECT AND TO SERVE”
Oh boy. This one.
Everyone has seen the slogan on police cars. Their slogan, “to protect and to serve” is something that everyone knows in America.
When I was 16 years old, in the summer of 1981, I went to the free fair in town. I don’t know why they called it the “free fair,” when a $1 admission was being charged.
One of the local cops was working at the entrance, taking money and handing out tickets. My dad was a cop, so I knew all of the other cops. This one was a guy we used to call “Roscoe” because he reminded us of that cop on The Dukes of Hazzard.
I get up to his station and hand him a $10 bill. He decides to employ a special counting method when he is giving me my change and ticket.
“Okay, that’s one dollar. [holding money and ticket; starts to hand over money]”
“Two.. three.. four.. five.. six.. seven.. eight.. nine..”
“TEN! [he hands me the ticket].”
Surprisingly enough, I caught this and realized that I had the ticket and only EIGHT dollars in change AND he included the ticket in his counting. So I tell him that he miscounted. He tells me that he did just fine. Then I accuse him of ripping me off. I show him that I have only $8 in my hand.
He laughed. “What are you going to do? Call the police?”
Years later, I had an experience where someone used bolt cutters and stole my bicycle from the front of a 7-11 while cops were parked right there, watching it.
I asked them why they did nothing. “What do you want us to do? Get out of our cars? Over a bicycle?” They began to laugh.
And there was the time in August 1993, where I was carjacked. The police showed up and did nothing but harass me. They even said, “Look, we’re the ONLY squad car servicing a 7-mile area. You should have voted for more cops.”
Yea, just like in the 1993 movie “Falling Down.”
I told them that how I voted was none of their fucking business, told them they were lazy assholes, and threw them out of my apartment. I had do to this after having a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol to my head, and the guy pulled the trigger! It just went off later.
The Myth: The police are here “to protect and to serve.”
The Reality: The slogan is incomplete and should read “to protect and to serve businesses and the wealthy.”
Why This Myth Exists: It exists so that working people won’t get so angry at these class traitors. They’re class traitors because they are members of the Proletariat, and yet their job is to harm and rip off the Proletariat, for the benefit of the Bourgeoisie. The same is true of the law, which is why we typically don’t see too many wealthy people serving any significant time or paying any significant penalties for their crimes.
This myth is kept alive with brainwashing, and the idea that the police are honorable and are here for our own good.
For the longest time, I felt that maybe I was doing something wrong because I would use and/or follow the advice that I had been given, and it wouldn’t work out. In fact, following the advice that I was given growing up has worked against me more than anything else.
This eventually lead to me believing that I was stupid.
Remember that I mentioned by solid IQ scores from earlier. Understand that my intelligence NEVER protected me or served me [see what I did there?] in my life, at all. In fact, trying to be precisely as my parents taught me to be ended up grossly handicapping me throughout my entire life.
My intelligence didn’t get me hired, let alone a promotion or a raise.
IN THE END
Only now am I really thinking about this. I didn’t think about it before much because I had assumed that I was stupid, and the reason why I was a failure in society and in life was because I was stupid.
Now I understand that all of those things that my parents taught to me, were things that were taught to them in order to handicap them. And THEY never thought of it at all. But life was different for them back then, in a way where it was by far easier to succeed in life and in society. And I don’t think they were Autistic, either.
So they taught these things to me because they believed it was the right thing to do. They also believed that hitting, yelling, and other abusive behaviors were “good parenting.”
Turns out, lots of people believe lots of stupid shit. And, as this story illustrates, so did I.
This world is not meant for people like me.
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