A Tribute to Junk Food

Published: Sweet Tooth Nothings (September 25, 2016), The Good Men Project (September 27, 2016)

Yes, you read that correctly. This is a sincere tribute to junk food, as written for the blog of a certifiable health nut (looking at you, Ariel).

I offer this without apology and only a modicum of regret. The regret, of course, is for the years of life I have irretrievably lost due to the damage these years of excess have left on my body. If I don’t improve my habits, even more will be lost in the future. This is the dark cloud that hangs over the head of every junk food aficionado. read more

Why I Write

Published: The Good Men Project (July 21, 2016)

I feel like answering a question I’m often asked about one type of article I like to write… in no small part because I am myself curious about the answer.

It’s been more than three years since I first started writing about my experiences as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. The idea first came to me after it was reported that Adam Lanza, the mass shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was himself high-functioning autistic (another term for Asperger’s). At the time, I decided to go public with my stories because I wanted to demystify the condition and establish that Lanza alone was responsible for his actions. read more

Chief & I

Published: The Good Men Project (July 19, 2016)

The following article was first written on my personal blog more than six years ago. Upon rediscovering it, I knew I had to publish it here.

If there was ever a moment when I wished I had a camera, it was last Friday, when I found myself emotionally bonding with an unkempt bovine named Chief at the Turtleback Zoo in Livingston, NJ.

My affinity for animals has caused some of my friends to express surprise. One saw fit to comment on my tendency to put pictures of interesting critters on my Facebook profile; others have marveled at the trivia I can spout off on zoological specimens from canines and bears to elephants and pangolins. On those occasions when someone inquires as to the origin of my interest, I find myself in an uncommon position – i.e, one in which I have no idea what to say. read more

The Ableism of Non-Autistics

Published: The Good Men Project (July 12, 2016)

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had a handicapped parking space?

Obviously this can’t happen – the whole point of handicapped spaces is that they provide the physically disabled with closer proximity to buildings than the physically abled – but an equivalent is possible when it comes to social interactions. To understand what I mean, though, it is first necessary to explain a form of ableism with which high-functioning autistics (HFAs) are confronted every single day. read more

How someone with autism views all your ridiculous dating habits

Published: Fusion (June 7, 2016)

As someone with autism, I’ve often wondered if there’s anything I can do to make neurotypicals, the name for you folks in the non-autistic community, less unpredictable to myself. I pose this question not as an attack or criticism. It’s just that those of us with high-functioning autism—or Asperger’s Syndrome in my case—struggle every day with your seemingly illogical behavior.

For me, this question applies to every realm of socialization, but for the sake of brevity (and this piece) I’ve chosen to focus on dating because it forces me to be at my most emotionally intimate and vulnerable. Based on my own experiences dating neurotypical women and writing about dating with Asperger’s, I believe there’s still a lot of understanding to explore—but first we need to identify the underlying reason for the mismatch in emotion and expectation. read more

Laptop Love Letter

Published: The Good Men Project (April 21, 2016)

When I was a child, I had a stuffed bear named (appropriately) Mr. Bear. He went wherever I did, and whenever he was damaged or lost, I’d feel devastated. It is normal for children to anthropomorphize inanimate objects – particularly stuffed animals – because, even if on a subconscious level we know better, there is nevertheless unshakable sense that they are truly alive.

This brings me to Croc, my laptop computer.

I don’t think I’ve ever owned a single computer longer than Croc. When I first purchased the Lenovo Thinkpad in 2012, I couldn’t have imagined the memories we would soon share. I had just started my PhD program studying history at Lehigh University, moved into a new house in a new city, and was preparing for the next phase of my adult life. read more

Why I Write About Asperger’s Syndrome

Published: The Good Men Project (March 24, 2016)

When my first article was picked up by Mic in February 2012, I thought that my dream of becoming a political columnist had finally started to come true. I wasn’t wrong, but I never anticipated one turn that my career was destined to take. Although I still love writing editorials on political and social issues, I also find that more and more often I discuss Asperger’s Syndrome – a condition that I have had for as long as I can remember.

I write about being a high-functioning autistic (HFA) for three reasons: read more

Being a PhD Student with Asperger’s Syndrome

Published: The Good Men Project (March 12, 2016)

Without question, pursuing a PhD in history was one of the best decisions of my life. Not only has it opened doors in my writing career – which, professionally speaking, is my one true love – but it has allowed me to interact with some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. The conversations that we have had both within and outside of the classroom have challenged my assumptions and enriched my mind, while the hundreds of books and articles that I’ve read have informed my perspective as a political columnist in ways that would have never been possible otherwise. read more