Asperger’s and The Humor Struggle

comedytestWhen you have Asperger’s Syndrome, social situations can be tricky.  While neurotypical individuals understand social rules and norms instinctively, those of us with Asperger’s struggle to understand the complex situations.  Perhaps nowhere is this trickier than in the area of humor.  A sense of humor can be a great social tool.  Telling jokes can bring people together and understanding jokes can help people get along.  Unfortunately, humor is a thin line.  Too far one way and the joke isn’t funny at all.  Too far the other way and the joke can come off as just rude or even offensive.  If social situations in general are a confusing maze for Aspies, humor can often feel like a minefield.  Everyone else seems to stride across it without any problem but the instant we try to venture within, BOOM!

I’ve seen NHL in many situations attempt to tell jokes.  To be perfectly honest, it isn’t his strong suit.  He thinks what he is saying is funny, but at best he is referencing something other people don’t know about and at worst he is coming across as being mean.  He can also not know when to stop.  He might say or do something funny, but then he tries to get further laughs by either repeating the action or ramping it up.  This quickly turns from funny to disruptive, but he doesn’t see that.  On the flip side, NHL’s literal nature can mean that he takes a joke told to him seriously.  All too often, I’ll kid with him and he’ll think I’m being serious.  My joke backfires and he begins worrying that I’m going to be doing something really bad.

Of course, being an Aspie myself, humor isn’t my strong suit either.  Perhaps you’ve seen me online telling jokes.  Hopefully, you’ve found them funny.  Here’s my secret, though.  Most of the time, I write those jokes, erase them, re-write them, and slowly hone them from a barely humorous idea to something that might make people laugh.  When it comes to face-to-face conversation, humor is trickier.  If I’m with people I feel comfortable with, I might tell a joke or two if they pop in my head.  Otherwise, though, my joking is very limited.  I often feel like everyone else’s mind is moving quickly when it comes to humor while mine just plods along.  When it comes to getting jokes, I will get many of them.  I’ve spent years learning about the intricacies of humor.  Still, I sometimes find myself taking someone too literally when they were only joking around.

Social media has helped me in real life humorous situations, though.  Social media can often be like a training ground.  Since the jokes don’t need to come in real-time, I can try out various things to see what works and what doesn’t.  If a joke bombs, I’m presented with the usual assortment of screen names, not with faces showing disgust, rolling eyes, or anger.  On the flip side, verbal cues are lost when a joke is typed out.  This means that everyone get saddled with the same lack of ability to tell joke from seriousness that Aspies live with every day.  Many people might add a some non-verbal cues to their jokes – such as a emoticon – to help people understand that they aren’t being serious.  These cues can also help Aspies to spot the joke.  Even if these cues are absent, though, we can read and re-read the statement until we discern whether the intent was serious or not.  Again, lack of real-time helps us and this practice can be carried over to face-to-face situations.

I know that NHL will get better at humor.  He really wants to be funny, but given how often he wildly misses the mark, I find myself telling him not to attempt jokes.  I’m torn, though.  I don’t want him to grow up humorless, but I also don’t want him offending someone or getting in trouble because he told a joke badly.  In the end, he’ll need to walk the thin line of humor until he figures it out.  I’ll do everyone I can to help him across the humor minefield.

NOTE: The "Funny Glasses 2" image is by ghosthand and is available from

The Weird World Of Kid Humor

rg1024_gas_maskAs the boys get bigger, one of the fun observations I make is their maturing sense of humor.  And by "maturing", I mean totally immature.  We are talking about boys, after all.

I’ve written before about my boys’ poultry-based curse.  To recap, they were watching an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and heard Goofy ask Mickey "Guess What?  Chicken Butt!"  Since that day, they took this up as their profanity of choice.  They even shortened it to "Chicken!" in an effort to avoid getting in trouble.

They’ve also become quite taken with scatological humor.  Anything relating to the passing of gas or "going number two" are the height of hilarity.  If you can manage to actually let one fly, well then you’re just a comedy genius!  JSL still quotes Fozzie’s "fart shoes" line from The Muppets.  Complete with whoopee cushion sounds.

At this point, I’m not sure if their humor will get more refined as they grow up or if they’ll discover new depths of potty humor.  Who am I kidding?  They’re boys.  I’d better brace for the latter.  Anyone know where you can buy a gas mask?

Disclaimer: The "gas mask" image is from

The Story of Noodle Nose NHL, Plus an Outback Giveaway!

Often times, when we’re talking to NHL, we’ll call him “Noodle Nose.”  Many people might think that this is a weird name to call your kid, but there’s really a funny story behind it.

When NHL was almost a year old, we went to a local Italian restaurant for my birthday.  NHL was starting to eat solid foods, so we gave him some of our pasta to try.  He, of course, loved it.

All during the dinner, NHL kept sneezing.  At first, we thought that something was bothering him in the restaurant.  B and her mother can be sensitive to perfumes and other fragrances.  Perhaps, we thought, someone at a nearby table has perfume on that is bothering his nose.  The only problem with this theory, though, was that we couldn’t smell anything.

As the dinner, wound to a close, NHL let out a tremendous sneeze and something flew from his nose.  Something that solved the meal-time sneezing mystery.  It was one of my fettuccine noodles.  Apparently, when he was eating them, a piece of one worked its way from his mouth/throat to his nasal passage.  There it lodged.  As with any nasal intruder, his body tried expelling it via sneezes until it successfully launched that noodle clear across the table.

From that day on he has been known as Noodle Nose NHL!


You can win a $45 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse (does not include alcohol, tax and gratuity).  To enter, simply leave a comment below answering this question: What kind of food do you like eating out with your kids?

You can also earn bonus entries by doing any (or all) of the following items. Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each item that you complete.  (Don’t just leave one comment listing everything you did.)

  • Follow @TechyDad on Twitter. (1 bonus entry)
  • Follow Outback Steakhouse on Twitter. (1 bonus entry)
  • Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter. Be sure to include @TechyDad, @Outback and a link to this post in the Tweet. (1 bonus entry per day) For example: Share some dinner memories with your kids thanks to @TechyDad and @Outback #Giveaway
  • Subscribe to my RSS feed or let me know if you already are. (1 bonus entry)
  • Leave a comment on any of my non-giveaway posts from June/July. Leave a comment here letting me know which post you commented on. (1 bonus entry per comment, maximum 3 entries)
  • Write a post on your blog linking to this giveaway. Leave 3 comments about this to get credit for all of your extra entries. (3 bonus entries)

To enter, please follow the rules above within the comment section. Contest starts today, June 28th and ends at Noon EST on July 14th, 2011. You do not have to be a blogger to enter, but must leave a valid e-mail address for me to contact you for mailing address once the giveaway is over. I will select the winner using and contact you via e-mail. You will have 48 hours to claim the prize. If there is no response, another winner will be selected. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents.

Disclaimer: This post was written as part of the Outback Steakhouse Dinner With Dad Experience blog tour.  I was compensated by Outback with a $45 gift certificate.

In Their Own #BlogHer10 Words

It all begain rather innocently. WhyIsDaddyCrying challenged a dad in attendence at BlogHer to stand up at one of the sessions and ask: “Why is Daddy Crying?” I accepted but soon realized I wouldn’t have the chutzpah to pull it off. Then I saw the speech balloon center. This was an area where passing bloggers could stop and write down some sayings be they funny, inspirational or just shout-outs to their friends. I took a pen and wrote:

P1310092.JPG P1310094.JPG

Later, I decided to see what else was written. Here’s just a small sampling, categorized for your convinience.

In the “Escapee From Sesame Street” category:


This one was written by Count Von Count, I believe. He must have wandered off of Sesame Street while counting the street numbers. “5th Avenue! 6th Avenue! 7th Avenue! HAH! HAH! HAH! HAH!” This also explains the lightning that came out of nowhere during BlogHer.

In the TMI category:


Somewhere, marketing experts are now calling going commando the new “in thing” among Mommy Bloggers.

In the “Suuuure you’re not” category (also the “Why didn’t I think of that excuse” category):


In the “What happens at BlogHer, stays at BlogHer” category:

P1310267.JPG P1310279.JPG
P1310258.JPG P1310257.JPG

In the “Wait… What was I talking about?” category:

P1310272.JPG P1310283.JPG

In the “Guy Amongst Women” category:


In the “Should I feel bad that I wasn’t” category:


In the “Compliments will get you everywhere” and “Does this count as being propositioned?” categories:


In the “Uses both hands sounds slightly dirty” category:


In the “010000010110111001110011011101110110010101110010001000000110100101110011001000000011010000110010” category:


In the “Suuure, it was!” category:


In the “What’s the male version of ‘hoochie’?” category:


In the “No Sleep At BlogHer” category:


In the “I’m Drama-Challenged” category:


In the “Dirty BlogHer Limerick” category:


… Who went to BlogHer with a bucket. He filled it with swag, tossed it all in a bag, and… shipped it back home to Nantucket! What? Think you can do better? Leave a comment with your BlogHer Limerick!

1 2 3