About Me

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grew up in Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, contemporary of Judd Apatow. Listened to Free to Be You and Me and Yellow Submarine countless times on a phonograph that could play 16⅔, 33⅓, 45 or 78 rpm records from the inside of a large console cabinet on the floor of my living room. John Lennon was assassinated, the 1980's began, and I went through puberty. On late night radio, random people asked Dr. Ruth all variety of questions about sex. She asked, "Do you masturbate?" If the caller said yes, she gleefully exclaimed "Gut!" in Yiddish, and then took the next call. Went to college, abroad, grad school, work and more grad school. Married, started a new career and had kids. Decided that like Jung at age 37, my time for individuation had arrived. I'm ISTJ according to Myers-Briggs; I'm a five according to Enneagram; I experience "flow" as described by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, but surely there must be more to it than cleaning one's closets. And what is "love" anyway? After one of my children was diagnosed with mild Asperger's, on September 24, 2010, I heard Tim Page on the radio say that he figured it out after his son was diagnosed. Oh.


10. sense

tantrums. When I was a little boy, I had tantrums when my parents combed my hair.

overload. On the kindergarten school bus, I screamed at the top of my lungs and thought it was odd that I could barely hear the sounds I was making and that no one seemed to notice. Perhaps that was a contributing factor to the bus driver's careening off the road into a tree. When I was 10, I looked up the word "noisy" in a thesaurus and found the word "cacophony." I used that word in a written assignment at school to the surprise of the teacher. I still remember saying that word out loud for the first time, mispronouncing it as "'CACK-a-pho-ny."

touch. I love being squeezed really hard (like a bear hug). I always feel itchy, and I love being scratched. I hate most clothing. I have an aversion to buttons, and I don't like anything tight around my neck, like collars or turtlenecks. Men are expected to wear collars and buttons, and many jobs require that employees wear buttons, including my own. This gives me a constant background feeling of anxiety/unhappiness. I'm put off by other people's clothes, a problem for me and manifestly unfair to them. When I was little, I joined the cub scouts, but I quit before becoming a boy scout, because I had a complete aversion to the uniform. Participating without the uniform did not appear to be an option, and I was way too reticent to assert that desire anyway. My parents took me to Niagara Falls when I was a child, and we rode the "Maid of the Mist" boat to the Falls. I was completely miserable, because of the supplied rain coat that I had to wear. I hate the way tags on clothes feel and look, so I remove them when possible. I just like comfortable clothes; any aspect of the form of clothing that doesn't have a practical function is anathema to me. Sometimes when I go to work, I just sit down and start working. Three hours later I'll realize that I haven't taken my coat off. If I'm comfortable, it just doesn't occur to me to change my clothes. If it were socially acceptable, I would prefer to just wear the same clothes every day until they got dirty. I hate being shocked by static electricity.

hearing. The sound of someone scratching a blackboard doesn't bother me, at least not so long as it's a good clean scratch with nails only. But if the person rubbed some of their skin against the board while scratching, it would make my skin crawl. It's like when you write with a crayon and the paper around the crayon is not peeled away enough, and the paper covering the crayon rubs the paper you're writing on. I'm horrified by the sound or even the thought of that. When I was growing up, the sound of the vacuum cleaner made me really anxious, and I couldn't wait for it to be turned off. On the other hand, I love the sound and the feeling of a violent thunderstorm. I sit in the house with all of the windows open, eagerly awaiting each bolt of lightening and hoping the thunder clap will be louder than the last one.

sight. I don't like bright sunlight. I could never live in the American Southwest or the Mediterranean. I need to wear a hat and sunglasses when it's sunny. I love moonlight. When the ground is covered with snow and there's a full moon on a clear night, everything is perfect. It's oneiric.

temperature. I hate being hot. I overheat. My wife says I'm a radiator.

smell. I can't stand the smell of hair spray. Try to avoid the hair-sprayed people if possible.

taste. When I was young, I was nauseated by cooked spinach and ripe, raw tomatoes, but I think I have a lot of allies on that one. It's interesting that it's acceptable to assert an aversion to the taste of foods you don't like, but it's socially unacceptable to publicly express most other sensory aversions.

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