Clichéd

Another KSP writing challenge from the past.  The subject was cliches; hence the giveaway title.  I’ll explain at the end to avoid further giveaways.

This immediately brought to mind echolalia, which is a condition where instead of regular speech the person repeats what they’ve heard.  It can range from only being able to echo what is said ‘mindlessly’ to using phrases overheard (usually TV) in an appropriate context; for example “Howdy Mam” instead of “Hello”.  It can effect the person constantly or occasionally; it is often worsened by stress.  It is a common symptom of autism but it is not exclusive to autism. 

Taking things literally is also a very common autistic problem.  So I created this completely fictionalized exploration.

Clichéd

“It was a dark and stormy night” said the boy.

“Was it darling, I’m so sorry” Annette soothed.

“He’s out of his mind it was clear and silent” said Ian.

“Yes it was, it’s okay,” Annette still spoke in the same soothing tone.

“It’s a word to the wise,” insisted the boy.

“It’s a word from an idiot!” Ian retorted.

“Leave it Ian, come on let’s get breakfast,” begged Annette realising it was going to a long day. “Breakfast now!  What do you want sweetie?”

“A chip off the old block!” said the boy.

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“Of course,” replied Annette.

“Yes please, I want chips too!” enthused Ian.

“We don’t eat chips for breakfast, do we Ian, that would unhealthy and silly,” explained Annette.

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“He’s getting chips!  That’s not FAIR!” yelled Ian, his face turning red.

“Pain in the neck,” chirped the boy.

“I am nowhere near your neck, this is a pain in the neck!” screeched Ian striking out at the boy.

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“It’s all fun and games!” observed the boy in a sorrowful tone.

Annette quickly grabbed Ian, stopping him as he was about to strike again.

“But he said it was fun!  He likes it when I hit him,” Ian whined.

“We do not hit people in this house,” said Annette in her most commanding tone.

“Yes we do!  I just did!  Are you okay?” Ian sounded worried.

“We should not hit people, it is a rule.” Annette corrected herself, this was so exhausting.

“Loose cannon!” remarked the boy.

“Really?  O my model? I have to go and fix it!” yelled Ian as he ran to the hallway.

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“No sweetie!  Come back for breakfast,” called Annette, she realised immediately what she had just said and her face paled.

“My name is Ian,” Ian said quietly.  He then fell straight to the floor flailing his limbs and repeating “Ian!” gaining volume each time until his voice reached a crescendo.

“Thunder roared!  What’s good for the goose!  No happy endings!” screamed the boy falling to the ground too.

Annette sighed and grabbed two cushions from a nearby sofa.  She tucked one under each of her sons’ heads, a manoeuvre she was well practiced in.  Twins both with the same disability, yet one was trapped by echolalia, the other ruled by literalism.

They were never going to get out of this alive!

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The cliche assignment immediately brought to mind echolalia, which is a condition where instead of regular speech the person repeats what they’ve heard.  It can range from only being able to echo what is said ‘mindlessly’ to using phrases overheard (usually TV) in an appropriate context; for example “Howdy Mam” instead of “Hello”.  It can effect the person constantly or occasionally; it is often worsened by stress.  It is a common symptom of autism but it is not exclusive to autism. 

Taking things literally is also a very common autistic problem.  So I created this completely fictionalized exploration.

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21 thoughts on “Clichéd

    1. This is definitely not me I am not that patient, we do have problems with echolalia and taking things literally but they are transitory and attacked head on. Ie. that is a famous saying it means something else. We then all roll our eyes and say “Humans”. ❤

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    1. Thanks, I’ve had to cut down permanently on my reading, I was spending up to 5 hours a day just reading other people’s blogs. So I’m trying to come up with a system. Still luv ya though! 🙂

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    1. This is an extreme fictitious example, although it can be more extreme some kids with echolalia repeat randomly with no hints of meaning. And once both boys reached this stage they would be moving towards reducing this behaviour. This kind of situation would probably only be like this for a few years at most. Then the stress of repressing this behaviour would cause a breakout in another way. I have a problem where I start echoing my daughter making random sounds (when I’m overwhelmed by her sounds) her younger sisters actually delight in hampering my recovery (to speaking) by making the trigger sounds again while I’m trying to copy my husband or eldest’s prompts. The secret is to laugh! Thanks for reading!

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  1. Assuming you mean echolalia; it’s not well known, but its really cool sometimes. When my husband watches a TV show or movie he really likes he starts using the phrases & accent off the show, he doesn’t even know he’s doing it. So when he watches one show and starts swearing more I can ask to watch a show in which they don’t swear and use really cute accents. Yes this is an inappropriate use of a disability but he knows I do it. My husband, my 2nd eldest, youngest and I all have this. When it occurs in a child surrounding adults often think its voluntary. It can become a big problem if the person you are speaking with thinks you are mocking them, by faking their accent. There are of course a lot of worse problems if it’s not transitory like ours. Sorry I go on a bit 🙂

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  2. We have several autistic/asperger’s neighbors, and this sounds a bit like them. It seems obsessive to me, the way they can’t leave something alone, once it takes hold of them. But they are sweet, loving people, always.

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    1. It can be so frustrating when you get stuck on something you are not even interested in. Most often it is something you like but believe it or not we can get just as intractably stuck on things that we don’t like at all. There’s a certain lack of social sophistication that can make us seem sweet. Be nice to your ‘crazy’ neighbours probably the safest neighbours to have.:)

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    2. It can be so frustrating when you get stuck on something you are not even interested in. Most often it is something you like but believe it or not we can get just as intractably stuck on things that we don’t like at all. There’s a certain lack of social sophistication that can make us seem sweet. Be nice to your ‘crazy’ neighbours probably the safest neighbours to have.:)

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    1. Repetition is fine but control is much better. For example husband copying Gambit’s (XMen) Cajun accent, fantastic, me barking because the kids bark at me & then I can’t stop, not so attractive. Live long & prosper!

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