Bad

Posted 2009.10.03 15.58 in Pointless Blather

Ever gone picking rasberries or strawberries, and as you’re filling your pail you find a rotten one? What do you do? Odds are, you don’t get angry at the berry. You just toss it aside and pick the next berry. Ever opened a carton of milk to discover it had gone sour? If it was brand-new, you might get cross with the grocer, might even take it back for a refund. Or maybe you just pour it out. You probably don’t get mad at the milk itself, though. In any event, you get another carton of milk. Or have you opened a bottle of wine, only to discover it was corked? Again,  you typically wouldn’t get angry at the wine. You might be disappointed, or upset at the loss if it was a particularily special or expensive bottle. But it could have been corked at the winery, at the shop, or while it was in your cellar. No way to know, really. So you just pour it out, and get another one.

The berry, the milk, the wine, they’ve all gone bad. They aren’t to blame, it’s just the luck of the draw. Things happened to them, or their environment, and the outcome was that they went bad.

What about people? Bad people?

We frequently say someone is bad when we mean they are naughty, or criminal. This is not what I am talking about. Remember the berry, the milk, and the wine. Granted, there are arguments about nature versus nurture in regards to naughtiness or criminal behavior, but that is not what this is about either. I just mean people who are bad, the same way fruit, dairy products or beverages can be bad.

So in the case of the berry, milk, wine, it is easy to define what we mean when we say it is bad. What do I mean then about bad people, if I don’t mean naughty, misbehaving, criminal type people?

I used to think I was a bad person, because I had so much trouble recognizing friends and family, I couldn’t remember or picture their faces. Then I learned that I have Prosopagnosia and realized that it wasn’t my fault, it was a known neurological disorder and there was nothing I could do about it.

Lately I have come to understand that it does indeed make me a bad person – it’s not a question of fault or blame. It’s not that I’m being naughty or aloof or doing it intentionally. Like the rasberry that didn’t decide to spoil, I don’t choose to ignore friends, family, and aquaintences should I pass them on the street. I ignore them because of a neurological condition. That it isn’t my fault though, doesn’t make me any less bad.

Face blindness is just one aspect, one example. There are a number of things, and to some extent I do consider that they may be interwoven – at least a little bit. For example, having never been able to easily recognize people, I suspect that I have learned to not be too involved with people. I’ve always had to keep my distance, for fear of making a social blunder. Did I meet that person yesterday? Will I meet them tomorrow? The best way to avoid big gaffes like that is to remain fairly quiet and distant all the time. Address no-one by name, incase they aren’t who you think they are.

Consequently, I’ve managed to make it almost 40 years with only a handful of friends – and only one or (rarely) two good friends at any given time.

Emotions are another thing that I’m not good at. Not good at recognizing which one(s) someone else is experiencing, and sometimes not good at recognizing them in myself either. Though I don’t know, maybe everyone fakes emotions half the time? Sometimes it’s simple stuff like not knowing when to stop smiling after someone tells a joke. Looking at others to know when to use a happy face versus a frowny face. Or getting fear and nausea confused, and spending 3 days uncertain if I was sick to my stomach or suffering panic attacks.

If other people have as much difficulty understanding emotion, I’d like to hear about it so I know I’m not alone.

Some say these things are Aspie traits, and I do rate very high on the ‘scale’. Though I’ve never been officially diagnosed. It’s another one of those hand-in-hand things, with the Prosopagnosia. Some folks say neurological problems happen in clusters, because the brain is so complicated. So if one thing is broke, odds are other things won’t work either.

To get back to my original point, I do feel that all these things, and others along the same line, make a person bad. Again, it’s not a question of fault or blame, there is no intent, it is something that simply is. Like the rotten rasberry, the sour milk, the corked wine, I am unfit for human consumption. Unsuitable. Unsavory. Or as a friend put it, an Anomoly.

So, what is to be done?  I can’t say that I want to be tossed aside, thrown out.

There is a story, I believe it is Taoist, wherein a carpenter looks at a twisted and gnarled, knotty old tree and declares it worthless. Why bother even cutting it down, he cannot make a single plank from it, the tree is hopeless. To which the other man (monk?) replies, the tree is very valuable indeed, for it gives good shade from the sun, and is a fine home to birds or squirrels.

This is what I want, for all the bad people out there, and maybe I am asking too much. To be accepted and valued for what we are, rather than dismissed because of what we are not.

I apologize, this was supposed to be more of an essay and less of a whinefest. It was meant to be longer. Maybe I will try to elaborate further, in the future.

3 Comments

  1. I don’t agree with the base premise that these things (being Aspy, or face blindness) make you bad. They make you interesting and weird, which makes you more interesting.

    I think bad is dependent on choice. When you know what choices you have and you still choose the dick choice which hurts people – you’re bad.

    You’re just unpredictable and novel and one of my most interesting friends.

    Is 12:32 too late for coffee?

  2. Stephanie says:

    See I’m inclined to disagree but I’m not sure I’ve been clear enough. Someone who is intentionally a jerk is bad, but naughty bad. Someone who is a jerk unintentionally, that’s not naughty and it’s not a choice, but it’s still bad.

    Re. the coffee question… I guess it’s never too late for coffee. I can’t tell if you mean midnight or noon though. 00.32 aka 12:32am is probably late for most people. 12.32 aka 12:32pm is perfectly acceptable for most people. I believe.

  3. Igel Hawks says:

    Heya Stephanie, I understand your feelings and thoughts. I have named myself “bad” due to some disorders in my brain, too. Most people took me aside and choosed the next berry, just few friends (exactly said, one or two) enjoy the shadow what the twisted tree of my life can give. I like squirrels, yes…
    About coffee: Never too late for coffee, what makes me weird again in the eyes of most people.
    *Hugs you*

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