I belong to an awesome online forum for mothers with kids who have autism. (No, I cannot tell you the URL. No, you cannot join. I am sorry, but that is just the way it is. It all began with a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, and now we are all friends and it is just not a public thing. You are lovely, it is not personal.)
We talk about IEPs, and “issues”, and grief. We brag about things our kids did that only other moms of kids with autism could possibly cheer for. We despair. We whine. We rant. We talk about Dirty Sawyer.
I have never seen an episode of Lost. I do not know who this Sawyer character is. I do, however, know who Dirty Sawyer is and that he is very dirty or has at times been very dirty. Literally and figuratively. Dirty Sawyer is now forever seared in my mind as the harbinger and icon of all things carnal and fantastical and dirty. Dirty Sawyer rocks my world.
This is the one true gift of autism in the age of the internet. I am one hundred percent sure that my friends with relatively normal children do not get to spend their evenings or stolen moments throughout the day discussing the robust dirtiness of Dirty Sawyer. We do. I cannot account for taste, but the father of our country, George Washington, has also been brought up as a hot topic—and I do mean hot. Yes, apparently underneath that white wig, Dirty George kind of resembled a rock star. (again, I cannot account for taste, nor can I confirm reports of his rugged athleticism or “piercing blue-gray eyes”)
The isolation, loneliness, and grief of having a child with a wildly different developmental trajectory than our friend’s and neighbor’s children brought us together. The deep need to share advice and stories made us a group. Dirty Sawyer is the hot glue that binds us. No self-respecting urban, suburban, or rural mother is going to make a facebook post for her entire community to see about the dirty asylum that can be found in Dirty Sawyer. That real nice soccer/ballet mom across the street does not have a few dozen friends at her disposal 24 hours a day to share a random and hilarious thought about anything under the sun, especially if it involves Dirty Sawyer, Dirty George, or Dirty Marlon-Brando-before-he-got-fat. Because, please dear God, don’t let everything be about autism. Let it be about God’s gift to Mothers with autistic children everywhere: Dirty Sawyer. Let it be about the whole rest of my person because underneath all of this autism autism AUTISM crap lies a living breathing human being who has needs and wants. And what we want, apparently, is Dirty Sawyer. I leave you with the sage words of our founding member: “Yeah, Sawyer. That guy can con me all night long.”