Day #307 – Literally Literal

I know I’ve covered how we don’t use sarcasm in this blog – we don’t use sarcasm because Tucker takes everything literally.  Read Day #17 Mean What You Say, Say What You Mean (which, by the way, is still one of my favorite pieces of writing).

Today?  I just have to share a recent funny.  Not only do we not use sarcasm but we have to be very careful about any ‘figures of speech.’

A bit of an English lesson about the some figures of speech…

Idioms – a phrase or expression that has a figurative meaning.  Examples:

  • She is pulling my leg. (She is trying to trick someone by telling an untruth.)
  • It’s not rocket science.  (Whatever it is, it is not that difficult.)

Simile – a comparison between things using the words like or as.  Examples:

  • He’s as busy as a bee. (A bee is always flying and ‘doing’ – therefore always busy, so is the person in comparison.)
  • Strong as an ox. (A comparison between a person’s strength and the strength of an ox.)

Metaphors – a comparison between things without using the words like or as.

  • Are we going to talk about the elephant in the room? (A truth that is unavoidable.)
  • It was a domino effect.  (One small thing led to a chain reaction.)

Hyperbole – using exaggeration for effect  Examples:

  • I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.  (Obviously you are not going to eat a horse – it signifies how much you could eat).
  • These shoes are killing me. (Obviously if you are talking you are not dead – but your feet REALLY hurt.)

Personification – assigning the qualities of a person to something that isn’t human.

  • The stars danced. (Obviously stars don’t have feet to dance.)
  • Time races by. (Obviously time doesn’t have feet to race.)

All of these pose challenges for Tucker.  Still, how do these figures of speech cause issues in every day language?  I’m writing about this today because this conversation just happened.

Estelle (with her new book):  It’s true what they say mom.  You can’t judge a book by its cover.  This cover is very plain and the book is wonderful.
Me:  In so many ways Estelle, in so many ways.
(She nods)
Tucker:  That’s not true.  If the book didn’t want to be judged then it wouldn’t have a cover at all.  The cover would just begin where page one begins.  If we weren’t going to judge the cover, then there wouldn’t be one.
Me:  Uh-huh

I looked in the rearview mirror to a 10-year-old laughing hysterically – but quietly with her hand over her mouth.  I gave her a gentle wink to let her know I agreed, and it was okay.

Then, together, we explained what Estelle was trying to say.  I’m not sure he actually ‘got it,’  but we tried.

A month ago…

Me:  Tucker, I thought you had a cold.  It turns out you don’t.  Your voice is changing!
Tucker:  Yes, I’m going through puberty.
Me:  Yep, it definitely headed south.
Tucker:  Mom home is east from here.  We are not going south, are we?
Me:  No.  You’re right, we’re going east.
Tucker:  Then why did you say I’m heading south? We’re in this vehicle together.  I can’t go one way while you’ll go another.
Me:  You’re right.  I apologize. We are, intact, heading east.
Tucker:  Okay.  Thanks for admitting you were wrong.

Just so we’re clear here – in most instances I do offer an explanation but sometimes I’m just tired and the 15 minute explanation is just more than I can bear…especially late at night.  That is why I just let this one go…it was 9:30 PM.

Why does this matter?

It matters because many conversations require explanation.

It matters because it affects the way he interprets life and relationships.

Most of all, it matters because he lives in a neurotypical world and one day I will not be by his side to offer an explanation.


6 thoughts on “Day #307 – Literally Literal

  1. Ben and I have been working on these all summer. Yesterday I told him that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. He said, ‘they shouldn’t walk around naked either!’ OMG. I laughed. I explained the meaning and then he laughed too. I like his thought process though. Totally.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Day #327 – Indexing | 366 Days of Autism

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