Freudian Slips: Cutting Tyler a Break

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

September 23, 2008

Cutting Tyler a Break

The question so often asked about my vocation as a social worker is what exactly is the definition of mental retardation. By and large, I stay away from the operant definition delineating dry IQ numbers below 70 accompanied by deficits in major life areas.

Instead, I prefer telling the following story. I have an autistic client on my caseload named Tyler. After some parental assistance with the application process, Tyler landed a shelf-stocking job at the neighborhood grocery store. After given his work schedule, Tyler’s boss asked him if he knew how to read and tell time. Tyler said yes. Not believing him, Tyler got quizzed on the current position of the big and little hands on his wristwatch. Tyler passed his first test with flying colors. The boss relaxed then explained to him what and when break time is.

“You do not work between 10:15-10:30am, this is a designated break from work and you can do anything you want as long as you report back to work in time.”

On his first break on the first day on the job, Tyler displayed his affinity for heights. He climbed the access ladder inside the stock room and ran around the rooftop with glee. Hearing commotion on the rooftop, a bag boy discovered Tyler up there and coaxed him back inside the store. He was sent to the boss' office.

The boss reamed him out. “I do not want you up on the roof ever again. That is a restricted area and it is dangerous.”

“You said I could do anything I wanted."

“Anything but the rooftop! Be serious.” replied the boss.

On his second day at work at the beginning of his break, Tyler climbed a huge shade tree in the parking lot. Hanging upside down from a sturdy branch, Tyler waved at shoppers while making strange birdcalls. Scared shoppers quickly reported his actions back to the boss, who prohibited Tyler from outdoors on his break and made him promise he would keep both of his feet on the ground while at work, no exceptions.

Tyler looked perplexed. “I need ladder to stock top shelf."
Developmental disability is more than an empiricial number. It is an art needing to be learned by all parties involved in the life of a developmentally disabled person.



Blogger mommanator said...

what a great story- he was playing wiht numbers, and being so literal as we know they are

11:30 PM  
Blogger honkeie2 said...

The definition of the very word 'Define' is up for debate from time to time.

1:13 PM  

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