Living with Aspergers… season 1

aspergers

[music]

Tom Becka: Hello, welcome to another edition of TomBecka.com, where everyone is exceptional, and everyone has a story to tell.

If you ever see Dean on the street, you may just ignore him, past him by or just dismiss him. He’s kind of a short man, I’m guessing about four foot six, something around there, kind of stocky heavy set, quite and not really an outgoing type of guy, and he goes from bar to bar, on weekend nights selling roses.

You wouldn’t think much of him, necessarily just meeting him on the street. However, what you don’t know about Dean is that Dean has Asperger’s.

Now, many of you, I’ll just say me really, I didn’t know about Asperger’s, until I saw the lawyer on Boston Legal. Remember that old TV show, the lawyer that always kept on rubbing his hands on his legs? He was a great lawyer, he just couldn’t really deal with people.

Dean is not a great lawyer, he doesn’t rub his hands on his legs, but he does have Asperger’s, which manifests itself in different ways. I sat down and talked with Dean, not only about his Asperger’s, but also what it’s like being a rose peddler — going and selling roses to patrons in bars.

Again, somebody that you might never, ever talk to in your own life, somebody you might never have a discussion with, or even know that the man has Asperger’s, but someone you can indeed hear in the community, at TomBecka.com.

At the end of the interview, stay tuned, because I will tell you if Dean is right. Somewhere in the middle of this interview, Dean starts giving out birth dates of famous people. I just pick out names at random, and Dean can give a birth date, and talks about the guy.

I wanted to know if what he said was true. I did some research, and I’ll tell you whether or not he was hitting the birth dates on the head at the end of this interview.

Whether you know somebody with autism, whether you know somebody with Asperger’s, or are just curious as to what it must be like to live in a different world than most other people, you’re going to get that chance now with me here, on TomBecka.com.

Tom: You have Asperger’s?

Dean: Yeah.

Tom: What is Asperger’s?

Dean: It’s a high-functioning form of autism. They’ve come up with a spectrum. At one end, might be somebody who’s totally out of it, can’t carry on a conversation. The other end is somebody with Asperger’s that can function, definitely if he has a high level of intelligence, but just has that hard time relating to people or communicating.

Tom: Yeah, because what is autism? Somebody that doesn’t know, we hear the word autism a lot, but maybe people don’t know what autism is. How would you describe autism whether it’s high functioning or not?

Dean: I’m not a medical, you know? I just think people with autism, in my mind, are people that have a hard time coping or communicating the way that, I guess you have to define normal. But what Asperger’s is is that, basically, your brain is wired differently than most people. Certain parts of your brain are underdeveloped and other parts are overdeveloped. I think that that’s what Asperger’s is. As far as autism, on the other hand, I’m not…

Tom: Yeah. As a child, you didn’t know that you had autism. You didn’t know that you had Asperger’s at all, did you?

Dean: They didn’t even hardly recognize it. It was first recognized in Europe and Great Britain. In this country, it wasn’t even hardly recognized up until about 1990s. By then, I was a full grown adult.

Tom: What was it like being a kid then? Because as you say, with autism, you have a tough time relating to people, communicating with people. What was it like as a kid growing up then, not knowing and not being diagnosed as being autistic?

Dean: It was kind of tough. But you were just expected to be like everybody else because everybody thought you were like everybody else. You had to compete like everybody else. Sometimes you just couldn’t do it. You didn’t…

Tom: Was it very difficult, then, as a child growing up, I would imagine in that circumstance?

Dean: Ignorance is bliss, I guess. If you don’t really know there is a problem, you just, because for the most part, I thought I was normal.

Tom: OK, everybody else is weird and you were normal. OK. [laughs]

Dean: I guess that’s why you got through it.

Tom: Yeah. When did you find out that you had Asperger’s?

Dean: My brother, he went through a second career and then he got a job as a guidance counselor. He was working with kids. He was working with this one kid with this Asperger’s group. He said his mannerisms and behavior reminded him of me. Then we took a test and it was pretty obvious.

Tom: How did that make you feel when you knew that your personality was now diagnosed as an illness?

Dean: Asperger’s isn’t an illness.

Tom: It’s not?

Dean: No. There is no medication you can take for it. It used to be classified as a mental disorder, even now they took that off. As far as, you know.

Tom: How is it classified? What do they say Asperger’s is?

Dean: They give you a list of…I can’t think of the word for it.

Tom: Like a checklist sort of a thing?

Dean: Yeah. They give you a list of characteristics that…

Tom: No, I mean if it is not diagnosed as a mental illness, if it’s not diagnosed as an illness at all, is it just diagnosed as a personality trait? Is that how they look at it?

Dean: Yeah, pretty much, yeah.

Tom: Yeah. By the way, you talked about people with Asperger’s tend to have their brain wired differently. I want to give that a little bit because there is something that you do that I find just completely and totally phenomenal, and just mind-blowing, quite honestly. We’ll get to that in a little bit here.

But I want to talk now about how this affects you in your day-to-day life. For a living, you make a living, you go around selling roses. You go to bars and restaurants at night and on the weekends and you sell roses to people. Is that because you couldn’t get a job in a “regular type” of a nine-to-five job? Or is that something you really enjoy doing?

Dean: It’s a little bit of both. I could get a job. But I had a hard time keeping a job. It wasn’t because I couldn’t perform. But people didn’t understand me and I guess I rubbed people the wrong way. I ended up getting fired for office politics, for the lack of a better word, for the most part.

I had a hard time. I needed a job to make a living. I needed to do something that I had more control over myself. This happened to be something that came up and I was able to start with it and go from there. That’s part of the reason why I do what I do is because of my Asperger’s, because I have more control over what I do.

But at the same time, it kind of makes it difficult. Typically, it wouldn’t be a good job for somebody with Asperger’s because of the amount of involvement you have to have with people.

Tom: Yeah, because generally speaking if you have Asperger’s, you don’t tend to socialize a lot, do you?

Dean: Right. That’s one of the key hallmarks of somebody that has Asperger’s is how hard a time with communication and socialization.

Tom: Then how do you deal with it? What do you do? Do you just sort of pretend that you’re somebody else while you’re doing this? Or is this just something that you have to do so you do it?

Dean: It’s a little bit of both. I think there is almost a character that I am when I’m selling roses.

Tom: OK, the person that is selling roses is not necessarily the person that is sitting here talking to me now?

Dean: I just think it is slightly different. I’m still the same person, but I’m in a different mode.

Tom: That’s not unusual for a lot of people, if you’re in sales or something like that or in the entertainment business. When it’s time to perform, it’s show time and you got to do it. It’s not that unusual for a lot of people to be that way.

Dean: It’s interesting you say that because I just saw today where Dan Aykroyd, the actor, said he has Asperger’s.

Tom: Oh really?

Dean: His whole acting persona is an offshoot of that. He uses that as a way to focus his energy.

Tom: A lot of people, matter of fact, the first time I ever heard of Asperger’s was the TV show “Boston Legal.” That had the lawyer that had Asperger’s. He was a very intelligent, incredibly intelligent, lawyer. But he couldn’t communicate well with people. He kept rubbing his hands on his legs.

Dean: That’s another hallmark or characteristic.

Tom: What?

Dean: Certain physical gestures. When I was a kid, I used to rub my hands quite a bit, and that was one of the things that my brother saw in the kid. Or I would flicker things with my hands. I used to collect baseball cards, me and my brother, and I used to go like this with them. Kind of a nervous twitch.

Tom: Just play with the baseball cards as some kind of nervous twitch? You say that Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of autism. Is there a high-functioning form of Asperger’s and a low-functioning form of Asperger’s?

Dean: There are always individual differences. You can’t say one thing fits everybody, because that’s not true. I think there definitely are differences among that area.

Tom: Is there a support group for people who have Asperger’s? I know a lot of people that have a common bond of some sort, they get together for once-a-month meetings, or they get together as a social network to try to communicate problems and everything.

Do you, or do Asperger’s people — you say they don’t associate well with other people, do you associate better with other people with Asperger’s?

Dean: I’m not really aware of that, because I’m not aware of any groups, at least for adults. I think there might be some for kids. I think there’s not a lot of support for adults, because I think with most people, when you say Asperger’s or autism, people think of kids, and that’s definitely true, but those kids become adults.

It’s almost like people have the attitude of once you become adult, you outgrow it. You don’t…

Tom: You’re not going to outgrow this, this is who you are.

Dean: Getting back to when I was a kid, I didn’t know any different.

Tom: Did you get picked on a lot, bullied a lot when you were in school?

Dean: A little bit, but not much. I just remember when I was in grade school, I wanted to be alone by myself and kids would want to come up and play with me. All I would say was, “leave me alone.” I just wanted to be alone, it wasn’t because I disliked the kids or I wanted to be mean. I just wanted to be alone.

Tom: You wanted to be alone, yet you’ve put yourself in a position, as a career, where you’re out among people all the time. In your personal life, do you date? Do you go out? Do you have a group of friends that you hang out with, or after work, do you just go home?

Dean: My work is pretty my social life for the most part. I do go out when I’m not working once in a while, but usually, by the time I’m out working in the bars and restaurants three or four nights a week, on my nights off, I’d just as soon stay at home. Plus, I have another project that I do that takes a lot of my time when I’m not working.

Tom: What do you do for fun?

Dean: I listen to music, go on the Internet. I’m doing a project that I’ve been doing for a lot of years. It’s a genealogy project. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Human Genome Project, where they mapped out all of the human genes. Well, I’m doing something like that, only, instead of genetics, it’s for genealogy.

Tom: It’s for what?

Dean: It’s for genealogy. I’m taking two towns in Sicily, where my grandfather came from, and I’m just trying to track all of the families from those two cities.

Tom: It’s not just genealogy for your own family tree, but the family tree of these two towns? I would imagine that takes a lot of time.

Dean: Yeah, I’ve been working on it, off and on, since about 1984.

Tom: Why the interest in that? Why do you think you like that?

Dean: I don’t know. It’s like a compulsion. Maybe part of my Asperger’s is the feeling that I need to do something. And I enjoy it. I think it’s interesting. For some people, it’s not.

Tom: [laughs]

Dean: I’ve been able to sell my research to different people by way of word of mouth, basically. I’m trying to get to a point where maybe I can publish this in a book or on the Internet, at some point.

Tom: I couldn’t imagine doing that. My mind doesn’t work that way at all, as far as the patience that it would take to do something like that. Do you think you have more patience because you have Asperger’s, or does it affect your concentration? In other words, can you focus on one thing at a time…

Dean: Yeah, that’s part of the Asperger’s. You can almost be over-focused. I think that’s what happens to me. One of the reasons why maybe I can’t communicate, or socialize, is that I’m so focused on whatever I’m focused on that I can’t really connect with other people — because I am that focused.

Tom: I’m guessing that you don’t date, you’re not married. Have you ever been married? Have you ever been in a long-term relationship?

Dean: No. It’s weird. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes who I’m with, whether it’s men or women, I feel like there’s an invisible door between me and the person, and you can’t get past it.

Tom: You can’t get past it, or they can’t get past it to you?

Dean: Probably a bit of both, but probably more so with me. It’s not always.

Tom: You feel pretty isolated, then?

Dean: Sometimes. Part of the ironic thing is that, with my job, it helps me kind of mitigate that a little bit, or I become more social.

Tom: Right.

Dean: [coughs]

Tom: Bad cough there, huh? That time of year.

Dean: One thing I notice sometimes, I could walk up to somebody when I’m working, and I say, “I’m sorry, but your mother just died,” and they won’t hear me, they’ll just think I’m selling them roses. That’s all they can think of.

Sometimes, I’ll actually try to talk to somebody, having to do with the roses, and I have to repeat myself once or twice at least before they get that I’m not selling roses. I’m just using that as an example, but I could say pretty much anything to them and it wouldn’t register to them at first.

Tom: Well, sure, if I’m sitting there on a date, and I see you walk up with a bunch of roses, and you come up to me, I’m just naturally going to assume you’re trying to sell a rose, and you have me saying, “Hey, your car’s on fire,” but I’m hearing “Yeah, I’m not buying my girlfriend a rose.”

Dean: Yeah. Even if somebody is there alone, and they’re not with anybody.

Tom: Who buys your roses?

Dean: Lot’s of people, basically it’s entertainment. Some guys will buy a rose, for another guy as a joke, ha, ha, ha whatever, it’s just entertainment. It’s not always for romance or to get hooked up, a lot of it is obviously, but…

I also think that some people, buy roses because it’s like a dominoes effect. They see one person then another one, and then it because a part of the atmosphere, part of the activity, and they all buy one.

Tom: As soon as you sell one, it’s easier to sell more because, the ball is rolling and everything.

Dean: Yeah.

Tom: I mentioned that you have a unique brain, that some of you can do, that I find totally fascinating, but before I get to that, I’m thinking Asperger’s too, and what I’ve seen before. A lot of people with Asperger’s are very creative musically, aren’t they? I’ve seen that before on 60 Minutes exposes, about some great musician, that can’t even communicate with anybody else, but when he gets on a piano, they can play the most complicated classical pieces.

Dean: I think that may be, the individuals way but I think it’s more, they can take just one thing, and take it beyond the normal realm, and in that case it’s music, but it doesn’t have to be.

Tom: In your case, what is it?

Dean: You can call me the rain man of birthdays. I know people’s birthdays, famous and people I know, off the top of my head right here right now, I can tell you when their birthday is.

Tom: Now, people listening to this I promise you, I promise you, that there’s no notes in front of us, we’ve not prearranged anything, and I’m going to throw people’s names out there, and you give the birth date.

I don’t even know who I’m going to ask yet, so I don’t have anything to check on it and I’ll check on it after we record this, to make sure you’re right. But if you’ve done this before, then I know you will be. David Letterman.

Dean: April 12, 1947?

Tom: Do you know what day it was, you said it was on a Tuesday, or was it just the date?

Dean: April 12, was also David Cassidy’s birthday 1950.

Tom: Walt Disney?

Dean: December 1st, I think. I haven’t thought about this one 1901. Sometimes I’m a little off on the years, but I’m pretty sure it’s December 1st.

Tom: What about Mickey Mouse?

Dean: He don’t count.

Tom: He don’t count because, he has the same birthday that I have got. [laughs] That’s how I knew when Mickey Mouse’s birthday is, because the date they gave for Mickey Mouse was November 18th. What about Barack Obama?

Dean: August 4, 1961.

Tom: JFK?

Dean: May 29, 1917.

Tom: Willie Nelson?

Dean: April 30, 1933.

Tom: Let’s see going down the line here, Paul McCartney?

Dean: June 18th, 1942.

Tom: George Clooney?

Dean: May 6, 1961.

Tom: Again, I don’t have these in front of me, so I can’t prove it, but I know after I record this, I’ll look these up, and you’ll be right. How did you know that you had this talent? When you were a kid in school, did you know that too?

Dean: It started way back when, and I don’t even know how this even started. My parents brought me these little statues of presidents, and I was three years old, so I couldn’t read. I’d pick up George Washington and I’d ask them, “Who’s this, who’s this, who’s this?” It drove them nuts basically what I would do, is memorize the names with the statues, and then from there I collected baseball cards with my brother.

They had the birthdays, on the back of the baseball cards, and that’s how I started that. If you can name some obscure, baseball player from the 60s, I could probably tell you their birthday.

Tom: Vic Davalillo?

Dean: July 31.

Tom: Na, come on really? That’s a small [indecipherable 0:22:57] you [indecipherable 0:22:59] Vic Davalillo played for?

Dean: Cleveland Indians, short stop.

Tom: Yeah. When I was a kid, he played the short stop for the Indians, wow. You remember all that stuff. Why birthday’s though, is it the same way, other words could you…

Dean: I can remember other stuff as well. One time, I was at midnight mass with my family, and they made the announcement, the owner of this license plate “5B4042″ your lights are on, I said, “That’s so and so’s car,” and sure enough that guy got up. They all started laughing.

Tom: It was all subconscious, right? In other words, you hadn’t studied license plates. It’s all subconscious, you read it somewhere, and you remembered it?

Dean: Yeah. I can do that with license plates, phone numbers, addresses, but it’s not as good as, with birthdays for some reason.

Tom: If I were to call and order something over the phone, and they ask, “What’s your credit card number?” I’d have to take out, my credit card to read the number. If you did that, ordered something over the phone, and they asked for your credit card number, could you just recite the number?

Dean: Yeah.

Tom: I won’t ask you to do it now. [laughs]

Dean: Like when people store numbers in their phones, I don’t really, because I know it.

Tom: What about web addresses and stuff like that, probably too, huh?

Dean: Yeah. If I use it more, I was always good at spelling, because once I saw the word spelled once, I just memorized it.

Tom: Are there things that you’re interested in, in other words you mentioned, if I were to ask for the birthday of Joe Askew?

Dean: June 3rd, I’m pretty sure.

Tom: Joe Askew was a catcher for the Indians, back around the time when Davalillo, was playing.

Dean: I could give you Rocky Calavito’s birthday.

Tom: There you go Rocky’s the best.

Dean: August 10, 1933.

Tom: Now, you were interested in baseball? Do you also remember for instant, movies? If I was to mention a movie, could you give me the cast or the main characters, or if I was to talk about an old rock band, could you give me the names, that wasn’t “The Beatles or Led Zeppelin.” If I were to mention “The Guess Who,” could you tell me who all of those members were, and stuff like that?

Dean: To a point, but I’m probably better at like it you tell me a song, I could tell you when it came out, something like that.

Tom: OK. Guess Who’s, No Time.

Dean: 1969, winter time. Winter time of “69.”

Tom: Mm-hmm. Winter time of “69” I think I’ll go and check all this stuff out, but I know in the past, you’ve gotten these right, and it blows me away.

Dean: What happened was, one time I was, I don’t know why, but I was a hall monitor in high school, and one time I don’t know why, and I was monitoring, this psychology teacher had his class out, for whatever reason, and they were standing around. The kids got wind that I could do this, and they started coming up to me, asking “When’s my birthday, when’s my birthday, when’s my birthday.” The psychology teacher got blown away.

He had me going to all of his different classes, and recite everybody in his classes birthday, and I got 90 percent of them right.

Tom: On one hand you say that you, for lack of a better word, are antisocial. You don’t associate with a lot of other people, at the same time, I would think something like this, would be the sought of thing that, would make you a hit at any party. I mean that would be sought of a thing that would be a great conversation starter, a great way for people to start talking to you.

Dean: Maybe it could, but I would have to be, prompted by somebody else, I would never do it on my own, and most people don’t know this.

Tom: You’d rather be by yourself.

Dean: I wouldn’t mind it, but it’s not something I would go and say, “Hey, I’m going to do this.”

Tom: Do you enjoy your solitude or are you…

Dean: For the most part.

Tom: For the most part, so you’re not a lonely person.

Dean: The only time is, sometimes when I’m out working, and I see a guy buying his girlfriend or wife a rose. I feel like I wish I was that guy, I wish I could trade places with that guy. Once in a while, not very often, but once in a while. I get that feeling, that I’m tired of this or this sucks, but it’s not that often.

Tom: I think a lot of people, no matter how they are in there life, they look at other people and say, “Boy, I wish I could be that guy. I wish I could be them, him or her, whatever,” or you look at somebody and say, “Boy, they have it better then me.”

Dean: On the other hand, I look at some guy, who won’t buy a rose. I feel like, I’d like to be him. He doesn’t appreciate, what he has got.

Tom: Yeah.

Dean: There’s been a few people, no matter what, they won’t buy a rose, and I know they’re married, and they just won’t do it.

Tom: Yes, and I guess with your memory, and if there’s somebody that buys a rose one time, you remember that they buy roses, and then you always seek them out?

Dean: No, I see so many people that most people unless I know them, but they come say, “I brought roses from you,” and I’ll say, “Well, thank you,” but I don’t know.

Tom: What about names and stuff?

Dean: That’s kind of weird, because people will come up to me and say, “Do you remember me?” I like to be honest and I say, “No.” They get disappointed or almost pissed off sometimes. Sometimes I lie and just say, “Yes,” when I don’t, that’s part of the…

Tom: Yeah. Usually you can remember my favorite people’s birthdays, and at the same time, you see somebody, and you don’t remember who they are.

Dean: Yeah. People say, “I see a face, I remember it.” I’m really not that good at it.

Tom: A lot of people, maybe you’ve never talked to anybody, or met anybody with Asperger’s. What do you want people to know about, people that are living with high functioning autism?

Dean: I think you have to believe in yourself, that’s how I do what I do, because I don’t make any apologizes or excuses for what I do. I don’t have a problem with it, and I don’t feel like I have to, make any kind of apology for what I do. I do what I do and you can either take part in it or not, that’s up to you.

I don’t know why but some people try to [indecipherable 0:30:58] what I do. They shouldn’t be doing that. I don’t understand that.

Tom: They don’t think you should be doing what you do? Why?

Dean: I don’t know. They think that I’m being rude or I’m being out of place.

Tom: You’re just being yourself. Because your social skills are not as fine tuned as somebody else’s may be.

Dean: I have to do what I have to do to support myself.

Tom: Can you make a decent living selling roses?

Dean: Yeah, I’ve been doing it for 13 years. I’ve had a lot of other jobs. I’ve done better at this than I had working on hourly wage.

If I had started now, I don’t know if I would have been able to be successful at it because it’s a lot tougher now.

Tom: Why because of the economy?

Dean: Back when I started, there was no such thing as a dead bar on a Friday or Saturday night. Now, you never know. Most of the time, it isn’t busy. [indecipherable 0:32:25] . During the week, it gets pretty tough.

When I started, I used to work six nights a week, Monday through Saturday. Now I could, but I’d be wasting a lot of money just on gas.

Tom: I would imagine selling roses and everything, you end up seeing some pretty weird stuff.

Dean: Oh yeah.

Tom: Like what?

Dean: People asking you to do things. I had this one guy that used to pay me to do jumping jacks. Why, I have no clue.

Tom: He’d walk into a bar, and give you five bucks and say do some jumping jacks?

Dean: He’d give me more like twenty bucks. So, what the hell.

One guy wanted my coat and tie. He paid me 100 bucks for my coat and tie. He was a big guy about 6’5″. He put on my coat, he tore it open, all apart, but he still paid for it.

Tom: You do that because A) it’s money, and B) it’s entertaining? And in many ways that’s what you are. You are in the entertainment business. You’re out selling the roses.

Dean: I get a lot of requests to pose in pictures, which is fine. You pretty much can’t say no because that’s part of their entertainment factor.

Tom: I see you on Facebook a lot with a lot of pictures of people. You’re often being posed with beautiful women.

Dean: That’s part of, what do they call it?

Tom: Benefits.

Dean: The fringe benefits.

Tom: You are a short man. You’re a short stocky man. Do you think that has something to do with it too when you go to sell the roses? Your appearance as well as the autism?

Dean: In what way?

Tom: As far as you said that guy was 6’5″ who bought your jacket. It’s like the juxtaposition of the big guy and the little guy.

Dean: That might have. That might also be part of why people might react to what I do. It’s hard to say what people think.

Tom: You ever pick up any hot women why you’re out there selling roses? Ever have any women come on to you?

Dean: Oh yeah. This is weird to say, but sometimes I think they do it just to make their boyfriend or husband or whoever jealous.

Tom: They use you as a way to get to them? You ever take the women up on it or does your lack of social skills prevent you…

Dean: I have one girl. I don’t even know who that was. She looked pretty good to me. I gave her roses. We started making out at the bar and I get up to leave. This other guy on the other side of the bar says when you are leaving.

I said I don’t know. He said let me know because I’m going to follow your ass out. It was her husband. I didn’t know.

She asked for my business card and I gave it to her. She put it in her bra. That might be an example.

Tom: What happens then?

Dean: I went to the bar guy and said watch when I leave. He said why. Because that guy says he’s going to follow me so keep an eye on him.

Tom: Have you ever been beaten up or mugged while out selling roses?

Dean: One guy, a big guy, older guy. I walk in and he’s sitting with another couple up front at a table. He was kind of bad mouthing me and I just walked away.

I go around to the back of the bar and a guy says you see that couple of front. Buy us that girl a rose. I was a little hesitant because he was already giving me shit. I did because he paid for them.

I made a point to give a rose to the other one first. And then to the woman of the guy who was giving me hell. As soon as I gave her a rose, he got up, took my basket and threw it away. He took my coat and ripped it off and took me to the outside and put me against the wall.

He just started yelling. It couldn’t have been more than half a minute. Finally, people from the bar got him away from me. Gave me 25 bucks for my roses and said don’t come back.

That was just a case of jealousy, because about a year after that, I saw the woman at anchor room without him and she was hitting on me.

Tom: Don’t need the drama, don’t need the problem. What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you while selling roses?

Dean: This just happened a couple of weeks ago. There were these two girls maybe ten or six. They were in a restaurant with heir parents and grandparents and all that. I gave each of them a rose, and you see the absolute joy on a young girl’s face. It’s pretty. It doesn’t happen very often.

Tom: You just made some kid smile and it made you feel good.

Dean: Yeah. I’ve done that maybe a few times.

Tom: What’s the best thing about having Asperger’s? Is there a good side to having Asperger’s?

Dean: That’s hard to say. The way I define it is what most people can do easily, I have a hard time with. And what I can do easily, most people can’t do. That’s how it is with me.

[music]

Tom: How did Dean do when he was giving out those birth dates? He was right with. He was right when the song no time by the Guess Who came out. He missed Joe. He even said when he gave the date, he wasn’t sure about Joe’s birthday. Joe’s birthday was actually August 18th.

Of course, Joe was a Cuban ball player so no one knows how accurate their records are. Maybe Dean was right and the statisticians are wrong. Anyway, a fascinating interview with a man with Asperger’s who’s living a life that might be different than yours or mine but a good life nonetheless.

Thanks a lot for joining us. Would you do me a favor? If you’ve enjoyed this podcast here, spread the word. Would you tell your friends? Tweet it out, put it on your Facebook. Let people know that we’re here at TomBecka.com.

Every Sunday, we’ll have an interesting person that you might not to meet in your everyday life. Right here at TomBecka.com.