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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

been laden with GOSAMA

I’m terrified to note that one in 150 kids in the United States has been diagnosed as Autistic, a terrible medical affliction that causes children to forget what shortcuts to take to get to level 312 in Gorg Star Alien Mushroom Avanus. You have that puzzled look on your face as if to say “What is Gorg Star Alien Mushroom Avanus?” That level of ignorance leads me to believe you are not a true gamer, or you are over 30 years old and shouldn’t be reading this anyway, or you may be autistic.

For the rest of this column I’ll take it easy on you by referring to the game by its acronym, GOSAMA. Back to the affliction. In the early eighties, before pharmaceutical companies discovered there was gold in them thar autistics, only one in 2,500 children had been diagnosed with autism. Thanks to modern science and parental indiscretion, it is now known that many children are no longer lazy, dumb or lacking ambition. They’re just plain autistic.

You will be happy to hear that autism was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, a scientist with a large head size and time on his hands. Dr. Kanner divined 11 aspects of a child’s behavior or physical circumstance that indicated autism and before your eyes glaze over and your mind starts to reel from the heavy influx of science I have just introduced, know that staring into open areas without focusing on anything specific is a sure sign of autism. That, of course, is an area of personal concern as I recall spending large gobs of time looking out the classroom window during 10th grade.

Tenth grade also brings to mind memories of a kid we called “Bulby”, who often resisted eye contact. Had I known at the time this was a feature of the autistic child I may not have remarked so loosely on his wandering gaze. I was often puzzled as to which eye was looking at me and to solve that dilemma, I would look over Bulby’s shoulder, thereby confirming his suspicions that I had a wandering gaze. Now that I think about it, I know more than a few people who may be autistic and henceforth, I shall be looking out for the condition and warning them to seek treatment.

I would advise you to start doing the same, and start right there in your own home. This may be something as dreaded as Avian flu and could spread exponentially. Some of the most risk-prone types are women and sky divers. This is evidenced from research that shows autistic persons are unable to follow simple directions such as: turn left then make a right at the third traffic signal. The behavioral signal for sky divers is the propensity to engage in self-injurious activity for no obvious benefit. Recent examples of autistic behavior of this nature include wandering into the line of fire on hunting trips resulting in one being shot in the face by a fellow hunter with a wandering gaze.

If your child seems to be deaf you should start taking note. Children who do not respond to the word “no” accompanied by a creasing of your brow and a clenching of your teeth may be at risk. Of note to my fellow males, female attachment to certain objects, usually of the gold or diamond variety is a dead giveaway. And of special note to women, mates who do not respond to their name may be either autistic or watching Monday night football. If it’s Tuesday and you note this lack of response it may be your mate has been laden with too much GOSAMA.

Mike McFarlane 04.04.07

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