I've read JB and Prof. Pi's analysis of E2's numbers. The times they are a-changin', it seems, but their charts and graphs show merit, in my estimation. I will be interested to see what comes of this.

That's not why I put fingers to keyboard at 2 AM, though. Okay everybody, it's time to

Help ClockworkGrue Solve His Moral Dilemma

Tonight was the night my open-stage brainchild at the campus coffeehouse began its third year. It's called "Public Humiliation Night," in an attempt to convince those shy persons among us to throw caution to the wind and show us what we can do. It runs under the motto: "Public Humiliation is Therapeutic."

Tonight we had our first actual public humiliation.

Meet Russ Nothisrealname. Russ has Asperger's Syndrome, which is like a light version of Austism. We're about half way through the night, and Russ asks me if he can contribute. I pull him outside, since I don't want our conversation to bother the people performing at the moment, and ask him what he wants to do.

"I want to do some sort of a wacky comedy routine."

"So, what do you want to do it about," I say, not wanting to give Russ a license to just ramble aimlessly on stage.

"I want to talk about stereotypes."

"What kind of stereotypes?"

"I want to talk about pornography. How guys drool over these women in Playboy. WOMEN THAT THEY CAN'T HAVE!!!"

It's worth noting that Russ has recently gone through some problems due to unwanted affection on his part towards certain women at my school. They ended in a restraining order.

He doesn't have any actual jokes. He just wants to contribute. I tell him that, since he hasn't come with anything prepared, he probably shouldn't go on stage, because everybody else spent time working on the things they're performing tonight, and he needs to respect that. That's true, too, we hadn't had anybody flow that night. I also make sure to tell him that if he actually works on a comedy routine and practices on his friends, or gets it written down, that he's as welcome as anyone to get up on stage. That's true, too.

So we go back in, and my friend Matt is finishing up this amazing rap about being a spaceman. This gets Russ, Trekkie that he is, real excited. Then some blonde girl does a monologue about getting up on stage and not taking off her clothes for once, and that pushes Russ over the edge. He runs up on stage, and I can't do much to stop him without causing a scene.

Russ rambles in his way, often dropping off in the middle of sentences, and using "and another thing" or "but what I really wanna say is" about every fifteen seconds. After five minutes it becomes blatantly obvious that he's not going to finish on his own, because he has no main point, and thus cannot ever reach a conclusion. He's just yelling and swearing and spelling the words L-U-S-T and P-O-R-N. And it's hillarious. We are all laughing. I am laughing. At him.

I start to tap my watch, in a more and more exaggerated manner. Eventually Russ notices.

"I guess [ClockworkGrue's name here] is tapping his watch... do you want me to do something?"

I tell him to wrap it up.

He manages to finish up after another minute, thanks in part to my prompting the audience to clap for him while he stops for air.

He loved doing it, and doesn't seem to have understood the reason for the audience's laughter. He told me he wishes Public Humiliation Night was every week. He said something about maybe doing a repeat performance at the Poetry Slam, "even if it breaks the format a little."

The goddamn point:

What Russ did was wrong. That is not the kind of atmosphere I want to see at my events. It was horribly negative laughter, and utterly non-supportive. It's not that he was trying to do that, obviously, but he does things like that all the time in similar situations. I feel bad for him; he's got a lot of crappy things in his life, not counting his Asperger's Syndrome.

Still, as I see it, I have 3 options:

  1. I can tell him exactly what I think, and be a jerk.
  2. I can tell his friends to try and talk him out of it gently, or misdirect him, and be a passive-agressive jerk.
  3. I can do nothing, and let my vision suffer in the name of letting him humiliate himself repeatedly.

I'm leaning towards choice number one, but there's one other thing that weighs in on this.

I can't stand Russ. I've had classes with him that he has interrupted almost to the point of preventing teaching. I'm good friends with the girl who had to file a restraining order on him. I despise him with a quiet fury.

My greatest fear is losing my mental clarity or control. The only movies that scare me either involve insane asylums or their escaped inmates, or something like that. The Princess and the Warrior scared the hell out of me at times.

I cannot allow this fact to affect this decision.

/msg me with any advice. I'm aware that a few Everythingians share Russ's Asperger's. Having read their work, having seen how intelligent people with Asperger's are, does not make my task any easier.

walk slow