Being a lover of literature I should probably quote Shakespeare’s Polonius when giving an example of pedantry. However, this doesn’t help considering the stereotype of those with Asperger Syndrome being serious and pedantic. Then I remembered this: one of my favourite videos, because it shows pedantic thinking in a funny and entertaining way.
Some people may think of those with AS as enjoying correcting people on seemingly small and technical details. Although, speaking from the other side, this way of thinking often feels like a curse! It is usually involuntary and I can’t count the times when I’ve had to restrain myself because someone had said a double negative or written ‘there’, instead of ‘their’, or ‘they’re’ on Facebook. I am getting a lot better at realizing when I am about to let rip with a correction so I walk away, or change the subject quickly.
It must be to do with how my brain is wired. It is said that being a perfectionist is a common Asperger trait. I appreciate grey areas of discussion in topics such as the arts or politics – but where there seems to be an obvious right/wrong outcome to a decision I find getting things ‘right’ to be of prime importance. This doesn’t mean that I think that people who get things wrong are stupid, because getting things wrong is one of the best ways of learning new things. What used to make me really makes me seethe was people who don’t try to improve, and don’t care about making things right. For example, my way of thinking is: a job applicant that doesn’t care about using apostrophes or homophones correctly will always look less intelligent than one who does care and gets it right. Even if, in reality, they are the cleverer person they leave themselves open to prejudice, and therefore difficulties.
Nevertheless, even though I still don’t understand the happy-to-be-wrong people out there, I do understand that if they want to stay that way it’s okay. And I also have to remember that people may not see my suggestions in the way I intend them. To me it’s helpful guidance to make sure that they can improve themselves, (something which I am constantly trying to do myself) but to them it’s seen as a disparaging put-down. This leads me to a phrase I have often told myself since I was diagnosed: I can’t change how others react to what I do, but I CAN change what I do.
P.S. If you’re wondering – the Arsenal bit was a running joke on the Morcambe and Wise Show. It started off as a sketch where Eric, whilst in a quiz, would receive unsubtle hints from Ernie and the Arsenal question stuck.