Friday, September 28, 2012

Pathos in a shit storm

Posted By on 09.28.12 at 06:41 AM

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Brown and Gray)
  • Mark Rothko, "Untitled (Brown and Gray)"
In the midst of shipping off from our well-worn quarters to the shiny Sun-Times building back in August, many of us took Moving Week literally, chronicling packing up shop, staying put, moving or not moving, as the case may be. Reader film critic Ben Sachs gave the theme a different take, writing about an autistic and severely retarded man he cared for through the direst of circumstances. Can misery, fear, and impacted feces be moving? In the hands of Sachs, yes.

Working with Daryl one-on-one required that I approach experience on his terms—autism has a way of transforming everything it touches—and they were fascinating terms indeed. Like many people deeply affected by autism, Daryl had echolalia. This meant he would often repeat the last word he heard or else vocalize nonsense sounds for the palliative effect. If no one engaged him directly, he was perfectly content to sit in a corner, playing with his fingers and enjoying the sound of his gibberish. Some sounds had developed, over the course of his life, into private mantras, and I became familiar with them all. The most common went something like: "Par-ee-ah shee-ah poor . . . pie . . . shocko pie, shocko pie . . . koat pie . . ."

Read more from Recycling Week, this week's Variations on a Theme:

"All week long, revisiting old Bleader writing," by Tal Rosenberg
"The terrorist mind—a look back at a 1972 plot to poison Chicago," by Michael Miner
"Chicago Gourmet: a look back," by Julia Thiel
"Have the NFL and referees finally come to an agreement?" by Jerome Ludwig
"Revisiting working hard and playing hard, but not 'work hard, play hard,'" by Steve Bogira
"Regrets, I've had TKHOWMANY," by Sam Worley

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