Thursday, June 27, 2013

Maybe a Game

My cousin Willie (a.k.a. Will, Wilderness, 4 Will Drive, Will-barrow, etc.) was eight when he moved into my room.

It was an adjustment for both of us.

Wilderness had come to live with us after years of neglect and abuse, and since my brother had recently moved to Brazil, there just so happened to be a vacancy in the bottom bunk of the bunk bed in my bedroom, so Will and I became roommates.

As a roommate, I found Will's behavior…um...
wild and unpredictable (thus the nickname, Wilderness). Initially his behavior was attributed to the very difficult circumstances he had been obligated to live in the first eight years of his life, however, time would later reveal there was more to the story of his behavior issues than just an unending series of hard knocks early on in life. Several years after coming to live with our family Will would be diagnosed with severe Asperger's (a disorder on the autism spectrum with varying degrees of severity. i.e. Temple Grandin has Asperger's and is doing ok.  Will, not so much), but at the time we were "blissfully" ignorant of that fact and how to deal with it.

I had some frustrations with Will.
talkingtowilderness copyWill had his frustrations with me as well.  Although only eight, Will was a voracious reader and at that time, neck deep in Harry Potter.  He ate, slept, and drank Harry Potter and DID NOT approve of his new roommate's Harry Potter ignorance.  This led to a discussion where he emphatically stated it was an absolute necessity I read Harry Potter. I, somewhat less emphatically, rebutted with my belief it probably wasn't as imperative as he was suggesting.  I'm not sure if it was my stance on the matter, or my lack of passion regarding all things Harry Potter, but either way, those familiar with Asperger's can probably predict the outcome of that discussion.

mushroom cloud wilderness copy

Stuff got broken.

callyouwilderness copy

Several days later, after the dust had settled, Will and I were in our room with a pile of tools and lumber that I would be using to repair some recently destroyed bookshelves (Harry Potter nuclear meltdown fall out victims).  Will was very eager to help because the floor was no place for Harry Potter books, in his opinion.  I believe he also understood the destruction of bookshelves had been counter-productive in achieving his goal of sharing a room with someone well versed in the works of J.K. Rowling.

In light of the outcome of our recent disagreement regarding whether it was acceptable to have not read Harry Potter, I wasn't overly anxious to categorically refuse his help, plus I think he felt bad about the whole incident and was wanting to make peace.  Seeing this, my mom had stepped in, attempting to intervene.

"Will, would you like to come into the living room and play a game with me while Spence works on the shelves?"

"No, I need to help him fix the shelves because my Harry Potter books can't be on the floor."

"Well, you could come play a game, and then when the shelves are done, put your books back."

"No, I'm going to help fix the shelves so I can make sure my books will still fit."

"Well, if you change your mind, we would love to play a game with you out here," my mom offered as she walked into the living room and began setting up a game with my little sister.

Will was not persuaded, however, and after a few minutes of watching me assemble the shelves, felt he was ready to participate.  Will picked up a hammer and began hammering.

Despite his best intentions, Will's hammering produced results very similar results to the original incident responsible for the shelve's destruction.  Wilderness looked down at the newly broken bookshelf panels for a moment, glanced up at me to see if I had noticed, then back down at the broken shelves.

I pretended I hadn't noticed.

"Uh," Will paused, still looking down "maybe a game."   He lingered there a moment longer then, without another word set down the hammer, stood up and walked out to go play a game. 

To this day my family (including Will, of course- I shouldn't even need to say it) and I can often be heard saying "maybe a game."  It is our favorite saying, because, it turns out, in life there is no shortage of situations where, despite our best efforts, we cannot fix, or make better, or even control the things that are happening around us.

Grandma getting mad at you because you're confusing her as you try to help her set up a Facebook account...(sigh)...
Maybe a game.

"Fixing" the broken floor tile in the kitchen because that YouTube video totally explained how to do it and now you have 3 broken floor tiles...yeah...
Maybe a game.

That lady with the blog that says she loves her kids so much because they're the best kids in the world is coming over and so you told your kids to not act crazy so she wouldn't write a passive aggressive blog post about "a certain acquaintance's wild kids who are in desperate need of some real parenting"...ha ha...and now there is NO chance your kids won't act crazy. None.
Maybe a game!
Seriously, why are you even reading her blog?  You know her boobs are fake, right? Her kids wore matching polo shirts to stand at her booth  at a cupcake convention with their stupid faux-hawks because she "JuSt LoVeS tHeM SOOOOOOOO much (cupcakes ;) kids too. LOL!!! I'm so blessed!)."  What part of that interests you?  Seriously-  Maybe a game

When myself or my friends or family find ourselves in those situations we can do nothing about, and especially when we're obviously making things worse, we say it, "Maybe a game" and then go do something else.
Ideally something fun a game.
We can always play a game.

So can you.

That’s what Will does
and he’s a pretty smart guy-  He read Harry Potter when he was 8, for crying loud.

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