Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Especially when you have a family member on the spectrum.
Back story #1
By now you should know that Dude cracks up whenever people say stuff in unison.
The Catholic mass consists of a litany of calls and responses between the presiding priest and the parishoners in attendance. We (often fruitlessly) attempted to keep Dude’s laughter at bay during Sunday mass.
He also gets a kick out of mumbling. Priests sometimes mumble prayers that need to be said, but don’t necessarily need to be heard by everyone in the church.
Back story #2
Even if you don’t have a sibling on the spectrum, a preteen/teenager is embarrassed by EVERYTHING any member of their immediate family says or does from about age 11-17. Maybe even later than that. I got the “oh-my-gosh-my-brother-is-so-humiliating” out of my system by age 17 though.
This story isn’t so much about something Dude did that was embarrassing. He acted exactly the way I expected him to act. It’s more the situation that absolutely takes the cake.
I believe I was in 7th or 8th grade at the time. What a terrible age.
Anyway, every once in awhile, our parish had special visitors who gave lectures or held events or something of the sort. One night, the church played host to healers. The general idea was that the healers would lay their hands on your forehead, say some prayers, and then the Holy Spirit would surge through your body and render you motionless. Someone would be behind you to catch you, and they would set you off to the side. A few moments/minutes later, you would regain motion in your limbs and head back to your seat, feeling cleansed and whole.
With me so far?
My mother took my brother and me to the event, I thought out of curiosity. I wasn’t particularly interested in going since even at that age I was rather, ummm, skeptical of some things the Church condoned. The church was fairly crowded, considering this was an event on a weeknight. After our pastor introduced the visitors, he invited my mother and brother up to the front of the church.
Feeling the color rise in my cheeks, I whispered through gritted teeth, “What are you doing?” Mom simply told me to stay there. And there I sat as our pastor laid his hands on my brother and whispered prayers so that the Holy Spirit would.. I don’t know.. drive out the autism?
Dude’s response? Laughter.
A robed figure he didn’t know particularly well was touching his forehead and murmering prayers. Of COURSE he was going to laugh.
Dude then started saying, “Not yet. Not yet,” and laughed some more.
Classmates of mine were at the event as well. They turned in their pews and stared at me with wide eyes. I slid further and further down in my seat, willing myself to be invisible.
It seemed like it lasted an eternity.. even though it was probably only five minutes. Realizing that he was not going to get the result he had hoped for, the priest allowed Dude and Mom to sit down.
The “healing” of everyone else began.
You seriously can’t make this stuff up.