A Split-Second Decision

I feel like I should post this one now after the last post. This is the second post about Shawna. It may be better if you get the whole 7 part story in order. Jaime was a girlfriend that I mourned hard over. It hit and hurt me deeply. But Shawna was a love, where the loss lingered with me for a long time. I couldn’t get over her. Too many what if’s to process. Too much questioning of myself. So here it is part 2 of my great romantic debacle, A Split-Second Decision. Let me know what you think.

This one takes place a little while after I had returned from seeing Jaime. As I knew would happen Jaime and I were intimate on the weekend I went to see her. Having rethought the whole idea about seeing other people I had decided that we should be exclusive. It was not right for me to be physically involved with more than 1 woman at a time. It hurt everybody involved. When I got back to Job Corps I explained to Shawna how Jaime and I were now exclusive. I felt really good about my prior decision to hold off starting anything with Shawna. That would have just killed our friendship right then and there. Did Chester tell Shawna about our conversation? I will never know. Shawna and I never discussed it. Since I had never kissed Shawna or even told her of any interest in her then as far as I knew I was exonerated of any wrong-doing. 

Another week had passed by and Shawna did not let on at all that she may have been upset about me getting together with Jaime. Nothing had changed between the two of us, and there was never any discussion about us being anything other than friends. We still hung out all the time. We still ate all of our meals together and we were still growing closer everyday. She was nothing but supportive of me. Because the relationship with Jaime was so tumultuous, I really valued having someone to talk about Jaime with. Very quickly my relationship with Shawna became very important to me.

One day when I was in my dorm the phone rang in the hallway. It was right around dinner time and Shawna would come and get me and on occasion she would yell for me and I would come down and go to dinner with her. I answered the phone and it was Jaime. We talked for a little bit and I heard the familiar voice of Shawna yell from downstairs. “MAAAARC” she yelled.  At that second I had a decision to make. I could continue my conversation with Jaime or run downstairs to Shawna to be with her. What would I do?

I had never really given it any consideration before, who would I choose in an instant? I had loved Jaime for about 14 months at this point and knew Shawna for just about 5 weeks. Jaime deserved my loyalty, no question about it. So why would this have even crossed my mind? Sometimes you don’t know where your heart really lies until you get tested and this was one of those times. I choose to go to Shawna, which surprised me immensely. I had no idea how strongly I felt about her, up until that moment.

I told Jaime immediately that I had to go and why. And of course she was not very pleased about it. I had no explanation for choosing her. What can one really say? All I said was I have to go, Shawna wants me. I knew it was wrong the second I said it. I went downstairs to see Shawna and we went our way to the dining hall. I walked on like nothing had happened. At that moment I knew my heart had changed, I knew that Shawna was the one. The problem is, Shawna didn’t know. I did not tell her what happened. I was not comfortable letting on just how strongly my connection was with her. She had no idea I choose her over Jaime, all she knew was that she called and I came running. Shortly after Jaime and I broke up. She kissed somebody else. After all that crap we went through seeing other people and then finally becoming exclusive again. All of those struggles and I finally give her what she wanted all along,to be exclusive again and she messes around. I was devastated and I was pissed. But I should have seen it coming. I mean, emotionally speaking you could say I cheated on her. To choose Shawna over her like I did in that moment, that was not right of me. I should not have hurt her like that.  I had a split-second decision to make and I made one.

What About Shawna?

Shawna was a very prominent friend of mine in the mid nineties. So prominent that I actually have a whole chapter dedicated to my relationship with her. There are seven entries in this chapter, aptly named The Shawna Years. I think those with autism will be able to relate to how I handled the various situations that came up in this story. My honesty and instincts to be forthright should ring as familiar. My unassuming nature and naivete should resonate with those on the spectrum. It is fun to look back at this entry and see how I responded to things and just wonder, what if someone else were in my shoes? Things would have unfolded so differently. But alas, I know that in the end things worked out exactly as they were meant to be.

In the year 1995 I was 23 years old and had absolutely no career perspectives in front of me and I made the decision to go to Job Corps. I signed up in October of 1994 and I had a girlfriend but since most of my prior relationships fizzled out shortly I figured by the time I was due to leave in January that relationship would be over. I was dead wrong. Although I lived in the bay area in Northern California they sent me to Imperial beach, California because it was there that they had an Accounting program I could get into. So I went to Job Corps although Jaime and I were still very much attached to one another but I thought it was best to go so I could do something about my future. Not only did I leave her behind but I made the foolish decision that we should see other people. This decision would turn out to be very painful. It was at Job Corps, San Diego Job Corps as it was called because of its proximity to that city, that I met Shawna, who would turn out to be the great love of my twenties.

But alas, love is often complicated and this most certainly was. In early May my good friend Chester introduced me to Shawna. At Job corps you live on campus so in effect it becomes a college like atmosphere although people are learning trades or getting their GED. The campus atmosphere and social life that I never experienced through college I would experience at Job Corps. The three of us had breakfast together at the cafeteria and instantly Shawna and I hit it off. There was no tension, it was an easy friendship and soon we were just inseparable. We always ate together and hung out after classes and what I liked about her was that I always felt appreciated around her, I always felt important to her. There was no gamesmanship, no hard to get, no guessing as to where I stood and I appreciated that. At the time I was not dating anybody on campus but I still kept in touch with Jaime. Although she and I were not exclusive there was still a very deep connection to her. I was by no means over her. Occasionally we would still see each other with me flying to see her or her doing the same.

Before Shawna got to Job Corps I had dated a girl named Lisa and that lasted about 5 weeks. One of the issues was that I was really pining over Jaime and I couldn’t really give Lisa the sole focus she deserved because my heart was elsewhere. And, as I have a tendency to be honest, she knew completely about Jaime, so this was not going to work. About 3 weeks into my friendship with Shawna the possibility of us dating came to the forefront. I remember talking about girls on campus and I said that it was hard for me to find somebody to date because all of the girls that liked me were ugly. Lisa was not ugly but at the time I had no legitimate prospects as I was nowhere near being attracted to any of the girls who had taken a liking to me. Shawna was very offended and said “Excuse me.” Apparently I struck a nerve. I had to clarify, “What I mean, is that the girls who like me romantically are ugly.”

Later on Chester who was there for this conversation talked about it. I mentioned that Shawna had gotten really offended and explained to him that I had assumed Shawna was not romantically interested in me. It is 100% natural for me to assume a girl is not interested in me. It is my default setting if you were. Chester said in a voice that indicated he knew something said “You assumed.” I then turned the subject to Jaime and explained to him that I was going to see her on the weekend which was a few days away at this point. He then asked me “What about Shawna? Do you like her?” This was complicated. Yes would be the short answer. I told him that I did like her but I didn’t want to start anything with her when I knew I was going to see Jaime on the weekend especially knowing that I would sleep with her. I had learned my lesson from dating Lisa and I didn’t want to put myself or Jaime or Shawna through such complications. 

When I look back at that conversation I wonder how other guys would have handled it. For me, I had no instinct to be anything but honest about the situation. My fallback position is to come from a place of honesty. Nobody is 100% honest, I am not claiming that. However, I don’t choose dishonesty in every single instance where being honest is uncomfortable or inconvenient. Being dishonest is not something I take lightly or abuse, although it seems to make life easier for some people. Sometimes doing the right thing gets the wrong results and I can live with that.  I wasn’t going to hide what was going on with Jaime and the thought of starting something with Shawna, not telling Jaime, sleeping with her and then coming back to Job Corps and making up some bullshit about nothing happened, well, that is just not in my reality. The fact that some guys would have done that didn’t even enter my brain until much, much later.  So, as I said I would I went to see Jaime and I slept with her that weekend.

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This one was a fun one to write. It shows my humor and also gives some insight into my thought process. This story shows how my autism was an asset for me. My ability to recognize patterns turned out to be very beneficial for me. Good humor and good life lessons can be found in this story!

I was doing a lot of thinking about the importance of recognizing patterns in life. What I’m going to do is give you a quick IQ test of sorts and see if you can recognize the pattern. OK? Here we go. What number comes next in the sequence? 4,9,16,25, 36? Ready for a new one? Which of the following does not belong? Police officer, fireman, supermarket clerk, cafeteria lady, lawyer? And finally, which of the following does not belong? Wife, meat, dog, egg, blowjob? You’re dying to know right? Well, I’ll get to it. But first a little story.

My mother died nearly seven years ago and as you can imagine it was a very difficult time, not just for me but also for my wife as well. For when a loved one suffers their partners suffer with them. My mom’s death was not a quick sudden one. As a matter of fact, ten years before my mom died she told me she had six months to live. We were blessed to have that extended time with her. And she made the most of her last 10 years. She traveled a lot and made sure to do the really important things in life and that is spend time with your friends and loved ones. My wife and I had a lot of time to discuss how to handle my mother’s impending death. She gave me great advice and warned me that I needed to mend my wounds with her, to make my peace. And I did. I learned that I can not run from the situation or I would suffer for it, so I showed up for her time and time again. Another important thing I learned is how the loss of a loved one affects relationships.

One of the biggest causes of a divorce is the loss of a loved one. When couples lose a child it can be devastating and the pain is so great the couples often divorce over it, when one of them loses a parent the same result often happens. You have to be prepared for the emotional damage that this can cause. You have to know that you will be hurt, that you will react in anger, that you will take it out on your spouse. You have to know the ensuing pattern. 

I won’t provide a lot of details about her death right now becasue that will be addressed in a later chapter but I want to talk about how this pattern affected my wife and I. Sometime shortly after my mom passed my wife and I got into a pretty heated fight. Honestly, I can’t remember what it was about, because the issue was probably insignificant, the fight was about pain. We were both in a lot of pain, we both loved her and we were both grieving. So it was inevitable, we were going to blow up. It got so bad, we came very close to breaking up. Several years later we are still together, because we remembered a conversation we had about what to expect. We talked about how death tears apart relationships. In the back of our minds when the going got tough and we almost walked away from each other we recognized we were in the grips of a pattern more powerful than us. We had made a decision before her death not to make any drastic decisions within 6 months of her death. So, we put off breaking up.

I am so grateful that we were able to make the wise decision. We are still together today and we would have missed out on our own beautiful wedding, on a lovely trip to Italy, on many Christmases together and hundreds of lovely Sunday conversations over a cup of coffee had we not recognized the pattern of devastation that comes with the loss of a loved one.

Okay, so you’ve been waiting for the answers to the test. The first answer to the test is 49. 2 squared is 4,3 squared is 9, 4 squared is 16, 5 squared is 25, 6 squared is 36 so the next number would be 49. The next answer is lawyer. The rest of the people wear name badges. And finally, the last answer is blowjob. You can beat your wife, you can beat your meat, you can beat your dog, you can beat an egg, but nothing beats a blowjob.

If you enjoyed this story and can’t wait to get more you can purchase my book The Driveway Rules here!



This one just may well be the best written of the bunch. It shows a different side of me than what you have already seen. It’s not funny but I think you’ll find it very moving. This revolves around my favorite memory of my late-mother. Let me know what you think?

I remember one day my mom and I were driving alone in her car and she had a very serious talk with me. She told me she had about six months to live. She was about fifty-eight years old at that time but had suffered through many medical issues in her life. She had been a stroke survivor, had a heart attack and even a bout with spiral meningitis. I was shocked when I heard the news, still, even though she, and as a result all of us, her family, had been through so much.

This was during the year 2002.  Six months passed and she was still alive and gave no appearance of dying. Then years passed, more health issues followed but she was never on her death bed, very sick, yes, but very much alive. As the months and years passed by and she continued to struggle with her health, my anxieties around her health grew. I suffered along with her. But I suffered silently. I remember I would go to bed and often have trouble sleeping and what kept me up at night was wondering when I might get that God-awful call. I didn’t know how to talk about my anxieties back then. I suffered with anxiety for nearly two decades because I hated to be vulnerable, I was scared to be open about my fears, I mostly suffered in silence. Years after I met my wife I was able to begin to be a bit more honest about my anxieties but mostly I would keep my fear of my mom’s death to myself. Through the years although my mom’s health was declining, I learned how to face death by watching her. She surrounded herself with her loved ones. She connected with old friends, she went on vacations and saw her grandkids. There is this tremendous picture of her kayaking, at my dad’s house. They must have had one of those Disneyland type cameras set up like they do on the water rides because at the exact moment she fell out of the kayak, they took a picture. There she is falling out of the kayak, it is an epic picture. It is how she lived her life in the last decade. Eventually my mom became wheelchair bound. She suffered another stroke and the aftermath of the stroke really hit me hard. She went to a rehab facility and eventually got her speech back. This was her 2nd stroke by the way and she recovered fully from the first one. My older brother Dave gave her the best gift she had ever received in her life, a Daschund named Heidi. With this stroke I really got a glimpse into my mom’s mortality. Her impending death became even scarier. I wasn’t just scared mind you, I was saddened. My mom was a great storyteller and this slowed down her speech considerably. My mom was also very sharp and everything she did she excelled at. She was an excellent baker, party thrower, photographer, office manager and excelled at jigsaw puzzles. She was the most competent person I have ever known. To see her capacities diminished was heartbreaking to me. Sometimes she had hard days and other days she was fantastic. Sometimes her mind would be sharp like in the past and she was telling great stories and her reactions to things normal and other days, the stroke would take over and she would have trouble finding words, her speech slowed and she would react to things in a very childlike manner. This was very hard to watch. Sometimes she would get very emotional and traumatized, the way a 5 year-old might react to something, that was tough to watch. Some 9 years after my mom had originally told me she was going to die I was blessed to still have her in my life. For my birthday my wife, our friends Manny and Alexis, whom we affectionately refer to as the Manny’s, and both of my parents went to Chuckchansi, a casino about half an hour from Yosemite. This is well over a 3 hour drive so I am very lucky that my mom and dad made the trip. My mom was never much of a gambler so this was a bit unusual for me to see her in this light. My dad, has no inclination to gamble but the Manny’s enjoy going on a monthly basis and my wife and I are the type that we don’t plan gambling trips but if we are on a trip and there is a casino in the area, we do enjoy ourselves. We all met up around the buffet. I remember I was kind of cranky because I had to wait on the Manny’s for a little bit and I am, by nature, uptight about time, but I got over it as soon as I saw the buffet food. I was not going to ruin my own birthday. After we ate my wife went with my mom and gambled with her, pushing her wheelchair and I did my own thing for awhile. Eventually, I saw my wife and my mom at a slot machine with a penguin theme. I decided to catch up with them. My wife was being very kind to my mom. She really loved her and was very patient and understanding with her and my mom loved her as well. I could tell MariaElena was really enjoying watching my mom do her thing at the slots. Whenever she would win a little bit the machine would make a lot of fun noise and the penguins would frolic around and my mom was just absolutely filled with joy over this. She was laughing a lot. It was great to see. I really liked watching my mom get so excited. It wasn’t about the money, it was just the pure fun of the noise and seeing the animated penguins. This is my favorite memory of my mom. This also reminds me of one of the reasons I really love my wife because she can take joy from the happiness of others. She can celebrate your joy and success. After seeing my mom go through so much I really need a memory like this. I have seen her feet absolutely ravaged from necrosis of the nerves, meaning the tissue died and her feet went absolutely black. It looked like her feet were burned, they looked like they were burnt to a crisp, just dead and useless. It was devastating to see. Her feet were almost amputated but the doctors let her keep the feet, although they were dead. I have seen her mind ravaged and sadly watch her act like a traumatized child but this time I saw the stroke affect her differently. The same cruel effects of the stroke, the invasion of her mind, gave me a gift, the gift of her childlike joy before the Lord would take her. To this day whenever my wife and I see something with a penguin on it, we think of my mom. We have a huge penguin themed snow-globe in our house which is a warm reminder of that night in the casino.

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The Ex-prostitute

Today’s entry is about one of the more memorable women that I dated waaaaaaaaaaay back in the 90’s. This took place in 1990 to be exact. After reading this one you’ll think I should have called my book Can’t Get Laid. Enjoy!

When I was 18 I had this whole semi-long hair, long bangs, dark jeans and rock band t-shirts phase I was going through. When you’re shy you need a plan to attract women. Yes, I was good looking but in order for me to get dates I needed something to break the ice, something that would make me stand out and help the women come to me. So yeah, the long haired rocker look got me attention from all kinds of young ladies which sounds like a good thing until you realize it was all kinds of young ladies. One of them was a former prostitute. I think she was only 20 when we met. Not a career with longevity I guess.

I worked at the local mall about four miles from where I lived. I only worked at the fish and chips for six months but it seemed like I met my fair share of young ladies during that time. Deni was about average height with short hair and this whole punk rock girl thing going for her. At that time I liked girls who really stood out and she certainly did. She was what you would call chunky and pretty but not downright gorgeous. Just to give you an idea let’s call her a 7 on a scale of 1-10 since I don’t have a picture of her for you to look at.

One of my shifts I noticed her with a couple of friends and checked her out. She caught me noticing her and we had a brief exchange. She came back a few days later and ordered from me and gave me her phone number. I knew right away I liked her. For me it was always like that. This is why I can never understand when a woman would say she didn’t know if she was romantically interested in me or not because I always knew right away if there was an interest or not. I would know within 5 minutes, they either have that spark or they don’t. It’s not just about being pretty they also have to capture my imagination. They had to have some sort of edge, something which makes them stand out. And I have to feel like the conversation with them is easy. And after my high school years if they were too conservative looking that just didn’t do it for me. I need to feel like I could cut loose a little and say a few swear words or crack a dirty joke. I went to a private school so in my experience a lot of young ladies were way too conservative for me, too easily offended.

Deni and I had a very memorable first date. I mean really the more I think about it I remember a lot, especially considering she didn’t turn out to be a great love of my life, not even a girlfriend. Nonetheless, she was very important. We ended up meeting at a park about forty-five minutes from my house, I walked to meet her, as I typically did back in those days. I had a lot of time on my hands. We hung out at the park. I remember crossing the street with her as we left and she put on this pink wig. I cracked a joke about how somebody might see me and comment that they saw me with two different girls that day. She said she could easily see that because I was very pretty. It was a great compliment and very memorable because I wasn’t often called pretty. We ended up going to a great burger place about twenty minutes away. It’s not the burgers that make it memorable it’s the conversation we had afterwards that was.

She ended up telling me about her history in that town we were in. We were in Newark which is a neighboring city and a random guy approached her and said “Don’t I know you?” she said no. After that she told me how she used to be a prostitute. Not your typical first date kind of conversation but she was like that.  She also told me that the most people she had slept with in one night was 8. The phrase TMI was not invented yet. Then as we were walking some more she told me “If you want sex, and I think you do, it will happen.” When I remember this I often wonder what the response of a typical guy would be. What does one say when they hear that? I imagine in her experience that is all she needed to say to a guy in order for that to happen. Being pretty and a woman she probably figured it was that easy. Having slept with eight people in one night I can only assume this was a successful approach for her.

The thing about me is that I have a way of not making things easy for women.  Or for that matter, myself. First off in this instance I was actually offended. Not offended by the idea of first date sex but offended that she would make an assumption about me that I wanted sex. I was always taught that I couldn’t speak to a woman that way. If the roles were reversed and I were walking along the street on a first date and we haven’t even so much as kissed yet it would be considered crass for me to say something like that. I was taught that would be offensive. So for her to make that assumption about me was just downright wrong. Hey if a woman wants to be forward and make a first move like a guy typically might that is fine but there has to be a single standard as far as decency goes. If I can’t say it to you then you can’t say it to me. Second of all what bothered me is that she didn’t even bother to ask me if I wanted sex. She just said I think you want it but didn’t bother to find out if she was right. This defies all logic to me. Why would you not ask? If you’re going to be that bold and make that declaration what is preventing you from the next step which would be confirmation?

So me being me, I just kept my mouth shut. I had this whole thing about if you want to know you need to ask. The real reason being that there were so many times in my life where I suffered because I was cautious and overprotective of my feelings so I never asked thet questions I should have. I would not ask women out unless I was sure of the outcome. I would not disclose an interest without feeling secure. All of this caused a lot of hurt which results in a lot of anger. And she never asked. To be more truthful I should also let you know that I hadn’t decided if I wanted to sleep with her yet. Back then I wouldn’t know until after I had kissed a woman. If I kiss a woman and she is not a good kisser it ends right there for me. We did end up kissing a little and we ended up going to an AA meeting as she was a member. That was my first AA meeting. I remember exactly where it was. Right next to the porno store. And yes we went in there too. Her idea of course. Quite an adventurous first date I would say. We hung out so long we went to eat again and this time at the Bakers square in Newark. It serves your basic American fare. Meatloaf and gravy, fries and burgers, that sort of thing.

We ended up hanging out all day and at around 11 pm we went to her place. I really like this girl. She was definitely different and the conversation was anything but normal. We ended up watching old Mash episodes together and then went upstairs and sat next to each other on a couch. We kissed some and even though I got the green light for sex earlier in the day I was still very shy. I can’t just jump right to it. So I kissed her but I was very respectful about doing anything else. I am not a magician so there was no “David Coppafeel” or anything like that. I was looking for her to lead me in that direction and it didn’t happen.  And frankly the kissing didn’t turn me on. I mean I gave it a good try but I just didn’t get turned on so I had no desire to further things along. After a little while I just knew things weren’t going to go anywhere and it was getting late so I just told her I had to go and I walked home. Maybe the eight guys in one night thing kept me from getting too excited about her. 

Anyhow I saw Deni a couple of times after that but things never really went anywhere. One time I told her I had something I really wanted to tell her and she met me and told me she was wet but she didn’t actually physically try to take things further. So we never actually had sex any of the times I saw her and I never felt the need to take things beyond simple kissing. I think that she was one of those ladies that always had it easy with guys. She could just show an interest and bring up sex and the guys would just do everything for her. They would make the physical move and initiate. I don’t think she was comfortable physically initiating things with a guy. I think she was actually shy about that so I was definitely not right for her. Perhaps after the first date I knew that physical spark wasn’t there but for some odd reason I kept seeing her to see if anything would change. Although she was attractive I never got turned on from kissing her. I liked the idea but it just didn’t happen.

I remember feeling like a real dipshit for awhile when I would think of Deni. I mean here is this girl telling me sex was on the table and it never happened. I felt really inept when it came to women. I couldn’t score with an ex-prostitute. For a guy this is a source of embarrassment. My dating life was like a soccer game, a whole lot of running around but very little scoring. This romantic interest of mine left with me some serious issues about my ineptitude with dating. And I already carried that feeling of I suck at this since way back in the 6th grade. And it just perpetuated. So why do I bring this woman up? Why do I still think of her? Why? Because years later when I identified as an alcoholic I remembered her and I remembered where that AA meeting was, right next to the porno shop. In later years this would help me turn my life around.

How to Introduce Yourself

There is an age old question which plagues mankind, one just as baffling as what is the meaning of life, which I can answer for you, life is a breakfast cereal known for its brown checkered squares and we all know that Mikey likes it, and that question is, what do we say to women when we meet them? I was never really adept at this, I had no pick-up lines, basically I would just wing it. Now there is something to be said for authenticity but I think it’s also important to make a real impression. If you’re at a bar you can go the classy way and order the lady a drink, for instance, “‘I’ll have an Arnold Palmer and the lady will have a Bill Cosby.” Or “Hey did you see the Avengers last year? I don’t want to ruin it but let’s say Thanos was like a stand-up comic, he was just killing it. I’m sure either of those lines would work but nobody can match the panache of our good family friend Joe Peters.

One thing my dad taught me through his actions is that we are not better than anybody. I mean my dad likes everybody, except for whomever is the republican president at the time, but other than that my dad truly believes that we are all equal. He has time for everybody and his kindness is inspiring. When I was growing up one of the neighbor families was the Peters. The Peters had a son named Joe who suffered brain damage and became mentally retarded as the result of being kicked in the head by a horse. Joe’s father also died so my dad became like a surrogate father to him even though he was being raised by his mother and later on he lived in group homes and institutions. My dad would keep Joe’s comedy records for him when he was living at institutions, he would buy him clothes, take him out to movies, talk to him on the phone and was just really a great friend to Joe.

Joe is absolutely one of my favorite people of all time. He really had a love of comedy. He had a great record collection which included Allen Sherman, the Smothers brothers and yes, Bill Cosby. I personally listened to many of his albums while they were being kept safely in my room. Bill Cosby’s story about watching his kids and being convinced by them to make chocolate cake for breakfast is still one of the greatest bits I have ever heard.  Joe also liked to drink beer and smoke cigarettes. So he was a pretty regular type guy but he just happened to have the intellect of an 8 year old. There is one more thing that Joe liked to do that guys can relate to but we will get to that later. Can you say foreshadowing?

There was a pizza place about a mile and half from where I lived in Fremont and one day we decided to all go there. My mom and dad were there and my uncle Gene and his wife Jerry and my brother Jim and I also went. Jerry hadn’t met Joe yet and as I said Joe was not down syndrome so you couldn’t tell immediately that Joe had his mental challenges. Joe was a pretty friendly guy, he liked to talk to people and he would always tell me jokes when he would call the house. His sense of humor was always endearing. So Joe walks up to Jerry and says ” Hi, I’m Joe. I like to masturbate.” Bam! There it is. You should have seen the look on Jerry’s face, she looked like she just saw a six car pile up on the freeway, then she just says “Good, for you.” This is too good to make up, I’m just glad Joe didn’t get his ass kicked. Anyhow my mom walked over to Jerry a little bit later and says in her ear, “He’s retarded” to which Jerry replied, “Ohhhh.” I mean, A plus response on both accounts. What more is there to say to that, really?

I have to thank my brother Jim for reminding me of this story the other day. We were chatting about some of our favorite memories from our youth and he brought this up. In an odd way there is a brilliance to this kind of introduction though if you think about it. We never know what to say to people when we meet them. Should we come up with something trivial like the weather or a movie? Should we be cheesy, like, use a standard pick up line? Should we be direct, like hey, you look good or should we say something about ourselves which is significant, which gives somebody a little insight into who we are? I think Joe had the right idea, just not exactly the right execution. “I like to masturbate” is not exactly a good way to endear yourself to a lady but ” I like 90’s alternative rock and my first love is baseball” that might be a good way to introduce yourself.

Both Joe and my dad have taught me a few things about life. My dad has taught me to be kind to others. We are never above anybody. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the underdog and will often stop and give some spare change to a panhandler and make small talk with them for a moment before going my way. Joe has taught me to be authentic and no matter who you are there is nothing like a little comedy to brighten your day.

Ok, they’re not all going to be about pizza, I swear. But I got to thinking how funny the first one was and realized I have another funny story that takes place in a pizza parlor. So why not keep the theme going. The stories get more serious but I show my sense of humor throughout the book.

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The Worst Song To Serenade Somebody with

I’ve been gone from this site for over a year. Over the last year I have re-branded myself you might say. In the past my focus was on recovery from alcoholism. Now, I am expanding and showing even more of myself. I am not only an alcoholic but also am on the Autism spectrum. Last year I wrote a book of memoirs about what it was like to go through life not knowing I was on the Autism spectrum. Relationships were a mighty struggle for me. The focus of this blog will be giving you excerpts from my book. Ready? Here we go with the first entry.

The year was 1993 and it was late September in Newark, California, a neighboring city to Fremont where I was living at the time. My birthday falls on the 14th and this one takes place during a pizza date that my friend Natalie invited me on to celebrate my birthday. A lot of memories with women back in my twenties remind me of my ineptitude at dating. I just had it in my mind that I sucked when it came to women so when you operate with that frame of mind things will only be difficult. Now that I am happily married I am at peace because eventually I got to the place I wanted to be. But the road there was full of struggles and the point of struggles is to learn something about them. That is the point of rehashing my past, to see what I have learned from it.

So I had just turned twenty-two and my friend Natalie and I had turned a corner in our friendship. There was a sexual tension building between us that was palpable. We had knownn each other for years through other people. First she was good friends with Jean’s younger sister then she ended up becoming good friends with Jean. So over the years I spent a lot of time with her because of my friendship with Jean. For awhile I had the impression that Jean was into her so I never thought of her as somebody to pursue. As time went on nothing happened between them and eventually it got to the point where it was now fair to show an interest in her. Natalie and I started talking on the phone and getting to know each other better this way. Getting into the talking stage with women was always fun and I always enjoyed getting to know them but it always seemed to be a dead end street. Once we got talking we just stayed talking. We would talk about everything under the sun except we would never talk about how we felt about each other. So it’s a bittersweet subject for me. One day Natalie took action and asked me out to celebrate my birthday. We would go play pool and then have some pizza.

My walk over to the pool hall which was right next to the pizza place was about forty-five minutes. On my way there I was trying to figure out what her intentions were for me. I read it that she was into me and read it as a date so I was excited. A forty-five minute walk to a date is actually a pretty good thing because it gives you a lot of time to figure out how you feel about a woman. I liked her and I was most definitely interested in her at this point. I wonder if a lot of guys come up with game plans when they go out with a woman. If I am the one asking a woman on a date I have a plan as far as the activities go, what to do and what time to meet up but I never have a when will I make a move plan. I just always felt like that should come natural. I always figured when the time was right it would just happen. There would be a moment and we would both know it and then nature would take its course. I value genuineness and planning how and when to make a move does not seem genuine, it is too contrived for my taste.

We met up at the pool hall and played for awhile. At this place you rent a table for the hour and then play as many games as you want within that hour and when the time is up it’s up. We played an hour and all seemed to be going pretty well. I was really enjoying spending time with her alone. I prefer a lot of alone time when I am dating a woman. I do much better in one on one scenarios and get a greater sense of fulfillment from them than I do in group settings. I feel like I get lost in the shuffle in group settings and don’t connect very well individually. I get caught up as somebody’s listener but I am not really given the space to do much talking. This is how it has always been for me. After we played pool we walked across the parking lot just a bit and went to the pizza place.

At the pizza place we sat down and we were sitting right across from one another. All of a sudden with the pizza in between us guess what? She makes her move. With no musical accompaniment she decides to sing Whitney Houston, and not just any Whitney Houston song but the biggest love song of her career, I Will Always Love You. I got serenaded acapella to this song. For some reason all I can remember is her singing  the big hook and IIIIIIIIIIIIII will always love youuuuuu, uuuu, and IIIIIII will always love youuuu. Yes that part. This was the big moment. The moment I had been waiting for. She is across the table and I am looking into her big brown beautiful eyes just completely taken in by this moment. This is it! This is the point in the romantic movie where the guy and girl finally come closer and they give each other a big kiss. Okay, I’m ready, ah fuck there’s a pizza in the way! And she’s all the way on the other side of the table! God damn it! I got cockblocked by a pizza. Who gets cockblocked by a pizza? So I just sat there and waited for her to finish the song. And when she did I just said “that was nice.” What the hell? I completely and utterly just froze. The big moment came and went and that was that. 

When we were done eating pizza we went outside in the parking lot to say goodbye. I was feeling so awkward because I felt like that big moment had just passed me by. I was so uncomfortable that I just sped my way through the goodbyes and thanked her. I was demoralized. From that point on it was all downhill. We stayed friends but I just knew in my head that if it wasn’t going to happen then it just wasn’t going to happen. I gave up all hope that she and I would ever be a couple. I began to look for reasons why she would make a horrible girlfriend. And you know what? I found them. So by the time she actually brought up the conversation about whether or not I could see us as a couple which was some five months later I had already given up. I was done. 

She asked me if I could see us being together and I just said “it wouldn’t work out” and I think I just got nervous about the whole conversation so I said something really messed up and desperate. I said that I could see us having sex but not being together as a couple. I wish I would have kept that to myself. To make matters worse a few months after that she called to see how I was doing and she asked me if I was dating anybody. I said yes and explained that I had a new girlfriend. This confused her and she said “I thought you didn’t want a girlfriend.” Without thinking and just responding honestly and factually I said ” I never said that. I never said I didn’t want a girlfriend.” She said “Oh,just, me!” I said “yes” and she cried and said she had to go. God, I felt shitty. That went south really quick and I did not want to hurt her or intentionally be mean like that. I used to really like this girl. The feelings were far more than just sexual. She never knew that for a moment in time I wanted her but it just never happened. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been cockblocked by a pizza. That’s what I thought.

By the way I ended up looking up the lyrics to I will always love you recently and it’s just a crappy way to try and win somebody over. If you look closely at the lyrics it’s a damn break up song. It says we both know I’m not what you need. I don’t remember her singing that part of the song to me. Four years later a more appropriate song came out by Sixpence none the richer called kiss me. I think people should use that one as a make a move song.

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Moving Forward

Hi all,

My name is Marc and I am a 47 year old man living with Asperger’s syndrome. So let me tell you a little something about Asperger’s. Those who live with Asperger’s have a very difficult journey ahead of themselves. Bullshit. Our struggle is much greater than that of the average person. Bullshit. For some reason God picked on us, God just hates us. Bullshit. My life would be better if I was neurotypical. Bullshit.

These are some of the old attitudes I used to have about my life. I am here to tell you that everybody had their own challenges in life. Some people deal with food addiction, divorced parents, physical abuse,sexual abuse, emotional abuse, gambling problems, I could go on ad infinitum. Your recovery and your growth starts with your attitude.

My life is not fucked. I have it no worse than anybody else. My future is in my hands. My blog will be about both my personal experiences and how Asperger’s has affected me and also about being a recovering alcoholic. I hope to inspire you and I hope to empower you.