Boldly Going with ASD

The Japanese HTV-6 cargo vehicle by NASA Johnson is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 — My mind is often in the stars; may we all live long and prosper on and possibly off the planet. And…wasn’t it cool to see Shatner actually touch outer space for reals?!!

Sometimes, my enthusiasms can be another’s irritations.  Not that the thing I am enthusiastic about is irritating in and of itself; it’s me.  I become irritating when I spew my enthusiasm about some things all around, “getting it” all over those around me.

This year, May the Fourth was one of those sometimes.

Science Fiction has been an off and on enthusiasm for me.  From the Space Ghost cartoon in my early years to the newer Star Trek movies, I enjoy a space traveling tale.  When John Carter of Mars – the movie – came out, I didn’t have to go see it.  I had read all the books as a kid.  But even now, a generation and a half later, Star Trek still engages me – pun intended.  Militarily precise (but still fictional) engineering and protocol, the forces of good triumphing over evil, new and varied depictions of what life might be like somewhere else – these have been major influences in my life.

Yes, I might be a geek.  I know none of it is real, but it is usually inspiring.  I know that I am at the mercy of an author’s political bent when I read about how humanity’s evils evolved or were done away with as humanity solved many of their own problems – like greed, or poverty, or even aging.  I also know that I am not here to market science fiction to my readers.  Sci/Fi will not float everyone’s boat.  I can live with that.

My sons are greater Star Wars fans than I am.  I liked most of the movies, but I still preferred Star Trek.  This makes May the Fourth a challenge for me and my autism.  As a 50+ year-old man, how do I “celebrate” and still yet show my “allegiance” to Kirk, Spock, Sisco, Worf and the others without being a pain in the neck – or being seen as a mildly raving lunatic?

May the LaForge be with you.  This May the Fourth, I thought humor would do the trick.

On 5/4, at work, someone mentioned the “holiday” on one of our daily group meetings – which are virtual.  MS Teams, to be exact.  (We might not have such amazing tools if it were not for science fiction…)

I went through my phone looking for a few Star Wars jokes – eliminating many that I thought were too lame to be repeated.  Aha!  I found one I thought I could use and stuck it in the group chat.  “Why couldn’t Darth Vader find love?  He was looking in Alderaan places.” 

The CEO, who is my direct supervisor, had not been on the call for some reason.  But he saw the chat.  He “beamed down” from wherever he was, joined the virtual meeting, and said something like, “Are you guys okay?  I just wanted to make sure you weren’t demotivated by bad humor!  Nerd alert!” 

I took it in stride, used my self-deprecating humor style, and lifted my hand in a “my bad” way as though I had just fouled a player on the basketball court.  It was over that quickly.

I’ve done worse.  In the past, I’ve tried to convince the other person – either of the value of the science fiction genre to help teach life lessons – or of the value of my attempt at humor.  I’m slowly learning that it’s not worth the fight. 

Maybe Star Trek is one of those ways I have learned to pick my battles.  Klingon honor is admirable, but I don’t need to fight (or self-defend) to the death.

Maybe the lesson of “boldly going” is the Trek nugget that I need.  Autism is a mostly unexplored universe for me.  I’m still learning, and if I keep the quest for knowledge alive – about ASD and about me – maybe I’ll continue to discover what works for me, and possibly learn enough to share, helping another fellow spectrum neighbor. 

Hence, I blog about me and my starship – the Mini Cooper S Paceman (affectionately known as Spaceman for these occasions).  I need to find some dilithium crystals; 21st century prices of refined fossil fuels are limiting my voyages.  I’ll keep shiftin’.

Published by Bart Shoaf

Blogging about victories and challenges as a middle-aged man with a late diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

2 thoughts on “Boldly Going with ASD

  1. Good one, Bart! Here’s an alternative Star Wars one:
    What’s Yoda’s favorite dinosaur?
    Do-ceratops, because there is no tri.


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