Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghosts from the past

Probably appropriate that on Samhain my thoughts drift to the obits. Am I the only person who logs onto to see if anyone I knew in school has croaked?
My elementary school days were very unpleasant. Back then, people had barely recognized autism as a legitimate condition, never mind Asperger's. Needless to say, my social malfunctioning made me a target for scores of kids who needed an outlet for their hostility.
One of my chief tormentors was a girl named Karen. She was fairly low on the social ladder herself, so perhaps that is part of what drove her to be particularly venomous towards me. I just remember that 5th and 6th grades were comprised of an almost constant barrage of harassment from her, from verbal denigration to physical abuse. Funny thing in retrospect...I was a big gal--not fat, just very tall and very physically strong, so if I had ever taken it upon myself to fight back I probably could have easily cleaned her clock. But that was the trouble. I never fought back. Never. I felt then, and to some extent still feel, that fighting back against people who are weaker is wrong. I still find myself making excuses for their actions. I still take the high road, although I have found it doesn't seem to get you anyplace that the low road doesn't also go.
So, here I am , looking through the Classmates obits and I see that Karen has died. 51 years old, and dead from complications of diabetes. Jeeze Louise. And I see a long, nicely done tribute page written by her sister. Now, here is a person I probably would have voted "Most likely to grow up and torture kittens", but the things her sister wrote spoke more of a person I might actually have been friends with. It seems we ended up with the same philosophy of life, the same political leanings, the same interests in film and literature, and we both ended up with a love of writing (her spec fiction screenplays, me spec fiction literature). Totally weird. On the surface, at least, it appears she morphed into a human being.
Maybe it was one of those epiphany moments; she was struck by a blinding shaft of reason that told her what a psychopathic lunatic she was, and she instantly turned her life around and became all sweetness and light. Maybe she just grew the hell up and quit blaming other people for her own inadequacies. Or, maybe her sister was a bit biased when it came to creating a tribute page for her sister.
I'll never really know...because now Karen has moved on to the worm farm and there will never be an opportunity for me to face her at a reunion and evaluate her reformation for myself. Asperger's makes it unlikely that I would attend anyway...I have learned to be a shadow on the wall in such social situations (hence the title of the blog, in case you were wondering) and I avoid interacting with people as much as possible. I have found over the years that it is easier than people think to be invisible. And I don't even need a magical cloak.


Harvey said...

"The rise of fundamentalist religion has nothing to do with God. Oh, they SAY it does, but my spidey sense tells me they lie. This is not about God. This is about fear. Fear of change, fear of the unknown. Fear for safety. Fear of losing money. Fear."

Well said and right on target! I would go even further. ALL RELIGION AND BELIEF IN A DEITY WHO REQUIRES ANY MODIFICATION OF NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIOR TO "WORSHIP" HIM/HER/IT IS BASED UPON FEAR! Obviously, this is only my opinion, but anthropologists and historians can tell us that every culture we know of has seen fit to create a Deity. They did this, in primitive times, in hopes that the god they had created would let the sun come back in the spring, would not let too many of their babies die in childhood or be killed by predators, etc., etc......
In more recent times, the fears that we try to fend off by observing or worshipping may not be so obvious, but they certainly still underlie our urge to "believe". Most of the time, it is the oombination of fear of what happens after death (if antthing) and Man's unwillingness to accept that he is an animal like any other, whose sole "purpose" on this earth is to survive long enough to be able to reproduce in sufficient numbers that our species does not go extinct.
Clearly, your "take" on the rise of religious fundamentalism coinciding with a more "open" society is correct.

mac said...

I notice the fly on the wall.
Perhaps that's my problem: I notice things and take a keen interest in them, eventhough I sometimes shouldn't.
My family always thought I was 'different', to this day they still think it.
I think your perspecective is refreshing. And yes, I think Harvey has hit the nail on the head. God is a primitive concept, needed to explain things we don't understand.

To add my two cents... don't buy it just because they are selling it !