The Autism Beat: Reflections of a Furious Cow

I asked my son to turn off the basement light and as he strode across the room to comply he retorted, “Oh all right, you furious cow!”

“Thank you!” I said, not very politely.  At which point another of my children said, “If I had called you a furious cow, you would have gotten really mad at me.”  I agreed, adding, “But he got that from somewhere else, and on top of that he loves cows – the furious part is the insult, not the cow part.”  Point taken.

Even though I shouldn’t be pleased that the autistic trait of drawing speech from movies and TV is so prevalent in our boy, I have to admit I get a kick out of it.  When he was small, people at the local pool thought he was British because he drew so many of his phrases from the exceedingly polite Kipper cartoons: he would stand next to the diving board and pipe up, “You have a go!”   Considering all the movie lines people throw around these days, it’s really not so undesirable – it’s a useful kind of shorthand.  As he has grown and developed more of his own, original speech, his reliance on scripts appears most often when he is upset and words come less easily. Knowing that the phrases come from somewhere else takes some sting out of the confrontation and allows us all to laugh (most of the time).  After the cow exchange we set about documenting the latest vocabulary of annoyance, and its sources:

  • “Exactly WHEN did you go insane?” – Ice Age
  • “I’m not interested in your excuses!”  – Sir Topham Hatt, Thomas the Tank Engine
  • “You’re a cowardly chicken, you really are.” – Porky Pig
  • “You are shrewd, rude, mean and dangerous.” – Chicken Little
  • “I hate you, rabbit.”  – Yosemite Sam
  • “Foom!!”  – This is the noise made when Sylvester the Cat’s head ignites in frustration.
  • “YOU get out!  This is MY swamp.” – Shrek
  • “Well?  Where’s the REST of me?” – Daffy Duck
  • “I’m going to go to the hospital for a NEW one.” – so old no one remembers, including him
  • “You’re just. . .different.”  Howard Bannister in What’s Up Doc?
  • Murderer” – Scar in the Lion King (complete with Jeremy Irons accent)
  • “You’re a looney duck and a cowardly cat, you really are.” – Porky Pig.
  • “Madam, you WON’T” – Merlin in The Sword and the Stone

and, my all time favorite from What’s Up Doc:  “Who is that dangerously unbalanced woman?!” 

That would be me.

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