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Friday, November 16, 2018



A cranky opinion for

Cranky Opinion Saturday

The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little expertise on the topic opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but they are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head!

These days there are genuine excuses for any sub-par behavior or performance.  This is very helpful to many children.  Early diagnosis of a condition such as autism helps explain behavior and helps parents and teachers to provide programs that address the child’s different needs.

This is a good thing, especially for more extreme cases, however sometimes the diagnosis though accurate may provide an excuse to not achieve at the persons best.

In looking way back at my life in which I have achieved a high level of mediocrity, I believe I could have been diagnosed with several disorders.

I am left handed for many things such as eating, writing, and probably thinking (yes, lefties think different) while right handed for most physical functions.  If people tried to change and have me do everything right-handed as was common a generation before me, I think it would have negatively affected my future mediocrity.

At the age of around four or five I started having difficulty controlling tics.  I was a neck tightener, an eye blinker and throat grunter.  I am pretty sure it was and is a mild form of Tourette’s syndrome.  At the time instead of giving it a name and accepting the condition my family and friends would tell me to stop, tease me a bit, and never allow me to accept it.

Although it would have been comforting at the time to know that others had similar and far worse tics and that I was different, but not weird, not having a name for the tics forced and taught me to cover my behavior in a socially acceptable way.  In the long run, I think I was better off thinking I could stop and therefore worked to at least lessen the condition and react to the tics in a way that is less noticeable to others.

I am pretty sure that growing up and probably still today, I was a bit ADD.  Virtually any subject that was mildly dis-interesting failed to hold my attention for very long.  In college I would often go to the library with all the other hard studying students, intent to grind out a chapter or two of a subject and within five or ten minutes I could literally not keep my eyes open.

If I had been diagnosed as ADD, it might have helped me understand things, but would it also have given me an excuse to just not try harder to find a way to learn? 

I did get by with speed reading, jumping around in a book trying to sort out anything that might be important.  I didn’t study long, I really just could not, so I learned to study smart.  Not as effective as the students that could study long and hard, but if I had an ADD diagnoses, I may have just given up, why not, I would have had an excuse.

Jim Abbot was a Major League pitcher that only had one arm and a stump.  If he had allowed this condition to dictate what he could and could not do, he would have never been a professional athlete. 

If he just accepted his disability and assumed it meant he could not do things that others could then his disability would have defined him.

Instead Jim Abbot lust learned how to throw a ball, and in one smooth motion shift his glove from his stump to his good arm, field a ball and flip the glove back and make a throw.

Watching Jim Abbot play, you sensed something was different, but he was so smooth it took a while to realize he only used one good arm.  I suspect that if people made it clear to Jim at a young age that he could not do things because of his one arm, if people made excuses and did things for him, then he would have never pitched a nine inning no-hit game in the Major Leagues.

It is helpful to understand if you have a condition, it is not always productive to use the condition as an excuse.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.


  1. I'm not sure ADD counts if your disinterest is only for subjects that don't interest you. If you failed to hold any interest for ALL subjects, then ADD might be the case. Studying long and hard doesn't apply to everyone either, people have different study habits, not all like to spend hours poring over their books. I remember flipping through chapters of stuff, writing down key points, or what I thought were key points and got by quite well.
    Possibly your tics (no 'k') were a mild form of tourette's but you learned to control them which is good.
    Very mild forms of anything "on the spectrum" weren't as recognised many years ago, so lots of people either learned to cope or "dropped out". I suspect myself and two of my children are mildly autistic, being mostly unwilling to just "get out there and socialise", also my older son and I both dislike eye contact. We can look at people, but can't hold the eye contact without becoming uncomfortable. But we cope and don't hide away at home. Although given a choice of going to a party or staying home, I'd certainly prefer to stay home and i don't think I'm the only one.

  2. Bigger Girl was diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, with dyslexia and several other problems. We never let it be an excuse, we used the diagnoses to seek ways to help her overcome. When she was nine, i was told if i worked with her very hard, she might live in a group home someday. She graduates college next spring.

    Instead of using a disability or diagnosis as an excuse, it needs to be used as a reason to search for the way to do it that works best for that person.

  3. "It is helpful to understand if you have a condition, it is not always productive to use the condition as an excuse."

    Well said.

    God bless.

  4. Having a child with autism, speech dysfluency and ADD, I couldn't agree with you more. You can either let the diagnosis hold you back, or you can get out there and live up to your potential.

  5. I come from a family of twitchers in the eye area and it wasn't long before I joined them. As far as I know not one family member consulted a doc about it. Perhaps we should have!

  6. I mostly agree with you but think of a boy I knew in Jr. High. Dumb Billy--no I never called him that but others did to his face. I suspect now he was dyslexic. He knew farming and mechanics but just couldn't read with out great effort. Had he been diagnosed today, he could have gotten training to deal with it. Sadly at that time, his condition wasn't even a word.

  7. I believe I am a natural left hander but my parents made me do everything with my right hand. Do you think that's what made me weird?

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  9. Yeah, I can't believe that these are new conditions that only appeared when it was time to give them a name. Kids back then managed to adjust, grow up, and have successful lives, without being catered to. I'm not saying it's wrong to be diagnosed and get help now. Only that your are right. You'll get out of life what you put into it, and using such a condition as an excuse, to make life easier, is selling yourself short.