Asperger’s Syndrome Meets Alpha Male Syndrome


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7a.m., Monday morning.

I make a rare appearance in the break room at work. I’m sipping coffee, trying to wake up. I’m standing in the corner hoping to avoid people, but a co-worker makes intentional eye contact and starts walking towards me. I think, “Why, god? Why?” I can’t remember his name or which department he’s from.

The protective social mimicry kicks in.

Co-worker: Dude, can you believe it?

Me: Dude, I really can’t.

I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Co-worker: You know what I’m talking about … right?

Me: Of course. You’re talking about … you know, what a surprise it was.

C: I know! Twenty-one six in, like, no time at all!

I blank out … pause … then realize that this is likely a sports reference of some sort.

M: I mean, really. It was crazy.

C: Psshh. Best-team-in-the-league? Not anymore, buddy.

M: I know, right?

C: Did you see the whole thing?

M: Oh yeah. You didn’t give up on it, did you?

C: Almost. Dude … I almost stopped at half time.

“Half time” … we’re probably talking about football. Was the super bowl this weekend? Should I make a super bowl reference? No. Not yet. Rule #1 in conversing with humans: stay vague.

M: Still, games like that … that’s what it’s all about.

C: Oh no doubt.

Yikes. He’s looking at me expectantly, but I’m out of ammo. I’m glancing at the door behind him, thinking, “He’s on to you! Run!”

M: So.

I need to bait him into saying something. What do they do in football?

M: The, um, throwing game…

I pause to see if he’ll pick up the slack.

C: Seriously. It killed, you know? I mean, it was non-existent there for awhile, I didn’t think it was gonna happen, but yeah. It killed.

M: He stepped up when it mattered.

I’m assuming there’s a notable “he” involved; seems like a safe bet.

C: They oughtta shorten his last name to just “Man,” you know?


M: Yes! There’s an idea. And put a “the” in front of it. The Man.

C: Boo-yeah!

M: Woo!

He holds a fist up. I experimentally hold a fist up. He proceeds to tap his knuckles against mine. Oh god … have I just been initiated into a weird sports cult?

M: Wow, look at the time. I’m late for a meeting…

There is no meeting.

C: Take it easy, bro.

I flee the scene.