I just finished watching the very well-done Netflix original series, Atypical, and was genuinely impressed by how the writers and cast handled the sensitive subject of living with autism. They did such a fantastic job, in fact, that there were seven moments throughout the series after which I—a supposed neurotypical—thought I might be autistic.
Here are the moments and explanations to why I thought I might have high-functioning autism:
1. The main character is obsessed with penguins, and I'm obsessed with turtles
I spend all day thinking about turtles just like Atypical's main character Sam Gardner thinks about penguins. While my obsession does not seem as thorough or emotionally involved as Sam's, I became acutely aware of my small obsession as the show went on. Am I autistic? This seemed to be a very subtle clue. (Just a fun fact—I wrote five pages of a screenplay about sea turtles when I was 10 years old using my dad's Final Draft software.)
2. I think if it was always snowing life would be better because of the quiet
Sam mentions that he loves the snow because it sound-proofs the world, which I also think is true. In fact, when I was a young boy during the winter, I would close all of the shades and enjoy the simulation of snow if there was none outside. I empathized strongly with Sam on this point.
3. My biological father is Michael Rapaport
This doesn't require much further explanation. Sam's father is played by actor Michael Rapaport, and he is my biological father in real life. He is also known as "The Gringo Mandingo" and sends me a check for $200 every New Years.
4. I can never tell why people are bullying me
I get bullied frequently, and I can always tell when it's happening. However, just like Sam, I can never quite determine why I am being bullied. Is it because my non-confrontational energy seems like an easy target for emotionally stunted, angry people to take out their festering aggressions? Is it because I say "mamma mia" like Mario every time I see a bird eating human food? Is it because I smell like very very old American cheese?
5. I only get sex advice from employees at Best Buy
In the show, Sam works at an electronics/appliance store which is obviously a play off of the popular store, Best Buy. Sam's best friend also works there, and regularly gives sex advice when Sam solicits it. I also only get sex advice from Best Buy employees whom I ask whenever I visit, which is frequently.
6. I make checklists to determine whether or not I feel like banging out a cutie
In episode 4 of the series, Sam is approached by a good-looking female classmate who is showing sexual interest in him. Because of his autism, Sam constructs and adheres to lists religiously, as do I, to seek order and make logical conclusions. One of the lists that I make is a list of pros/cons whenever I want to smash a honey, which is EXACTLY what Sam does. Also, this article is a list. Just let that sink in.
7. A stripper showed me her cans once
I'm kidding, but that was part of the show. Seemed forced!