Left: Tapestry on my living room wall.
I took THIS TEST, to see if I have, ha ha, Asperger's Syndrome. I knew the score would be low, as one who is perpetually in everybody's business. ((((pauses from looking through keyhole at neighbors, to blog)))
I got a 12--lower than average, even. I was thinking: if religious and superstitious obsessions had been included, I woulda got much higher. But maybe that is the whole point? Religious obsessions are very behavior-oriented and people with Asperger's appear largely unconscious of many behaviors.
But yes, while taking the test, I came up with the CURE for Asperger's, which I am blogging here and expect to get the patent. If any shrink goes on 20/20 or 60 Minutes or NBC DATELINE with my idea, I can point to this post and sue them for shitloads of cash. (I mean it!) And I use the word CURE advisedly and ironically... that word is employed primarily for the cool blog post title. The word TREATMENT is probably more accurate, in this instance.
THE TREATMENT: RETAIL.
Yes, make them sell ON COMMI$$ION!!!! That'll do it.
I realized while doing the test, that lots of my most un-Asperger's traits have been greatly amplified by doing retail and customer-service work, since forever. I can talk about anything, with anyone. I can start up conversations with whole families who don't even speak English! And they walk away smiling at me! Yes, people, a lifetime of retail/customer service is the CURE, by doggies. Or at least, a good teacher. Good treatment.
And you see, THE MONEY, the commi$$ion, is the reward that they will understand. It is nearly as flawless a barometer as you could ever find: if you have done well, they will buy it. And see the CASH FLOW?! This is positive reinforcement. BF Skinner would be so proud of me!
The problem, of course, is that they hire people like ME to do the retail selling and the customer service ass-kissing, for a good reason. One of my ex-store-managers used to call it "the personality for retail" and would give major hell to any low-level supervisor who had unwittingly hired some taciturn type for the job: "They do not have the personality for retail!!!!!"--she would periodically scream, pointing melodramatically at the dropping sales figures. She fired people right and left, and gave that as the reason. "You do not have the personality for retail," she would scrawl on their pink slips. (One of these people said, hell no I don't! and memorably stomped out with a flourish.) When we talked too much on the job, she would shake her head and say, well, these chatterboxes are a natural result of the personality for retail. (She used to talk about it rather as a state of grace, and I felt better about myself when she said it, oddly enough.)
But what if we tried to TEACH that personality, through positive reinforcements... like, actual monetary commissions? Would that work? I think you might have to start them very young, say, as teenagers. Would they learn to read faces, see the interest that signals a desire to spend money, and concurrently, the boredom that translates as "no thanks, just looking"? Could they learn which people to zero in on, as a good salesperson does? As people who are hyper-detail-oriented, they might well learn to size up a pair of $350 designer-shoes, and then think to themselves in that retail-mercenary way: we need to wring this rich person DRY. (If they grew up poor, they might find that as delightful as I do. Robin Hood, and all like that.)
The problem is that Aspies would simply never get hired to learn these skills in the first place. (Or get fired in short order, for not having the personality for retail.) It would take time to develop. Possibly a "retail workshop" could be created; a trial setting, and then they might cross over into a real job? Could it happen?
Of course, I realize my cure/treatment depends on the survival of capitalism.
I know, there are problems with everything.
This post was inspired by fabulous Meowser, and her great post over at Shakesville--which yes, I just got around to reading. (Shiva pointed me to it, so thank you!)
Full disclosure: Meowser already sold me on this caftan, so I think she (in particular) has definite sales-potential.
Epilogue and partial disclaimer--This post is meant partly as a tongue-in-cheek critique of my job, but also meant to remind everyone there are excellent life-skills that emanate from even the "lowest" point on the economic scale.
Also, the post is meant as partly serious, to point out that the people in this world who need something the most are often not very likely to get it. For instance, the seriously-impoverished kids who could never hope for a college scholarship, but who would get the most out of it and be the most grateful for it? Many are barely literate and could never qualify, or even finish high school.
Likewise, the people who could benefit the most from my job, will not be hired for it. And that's too bad, isn't it?
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Left: Tapestry on my living room wall.