In Memory of John Keel
A discussion of the article entitled
The Boy Who Loved Hearses, the Curious Life and Times of John Keel, written by John Phillips.
My friend sent me this article and said Rich this is you, and Autism all over again! After reading this article about John Keel I indeed realize his life and mine would exchange nearly page for page. I think Mr. Keel was in the middle of his own blind backward experiment in autism but something went horribly wrong in his case. I suspect on the surface of it, Mr. Keel seemed like such and odd strange person with some special qualities about him and his case some special talents as well. That description really fits most of us in our unstudied Autism Anthropology. I can't help but wonder IF someday Mr. Keel would have also heard of Temple Grandin or my self or even the work of Bill Stillman and realized he too was autistic?
As I see it he was in the last stages of his Autism experiment and he was learning how to drive autistically. The article starts with a description of an accident he had that broke off the front wheels of his Mona one of his hearses. I think most aspies that have done our experience have a few driving goof's like this when were first start to drive. REMEMBER we were typically ignorant of Autism as we had a unique set of conditions that allowed us to miss the "best" of the new Autism. If Mr. Keel would have lived I'm sure the driving alone, like it did for many of us, served to refine our Picture Thoughts. I developed Picture in Picture thought by driving. (As the Experts Ask, what the" something" is he talking about?)
The article goes to great lengths to explain John's love for Hearses, Flower Cars and Funereal Limousines. He was even called upon to judge at car shows as he was indeed a walking encyclopedia of his craft. While the onlookers seen this as 'cool' and great for him knowledge no one see it as obvious Autism. Only an Aspie mind would keep track of all of those details and only an aspie mind is geared to do such things. He was using his splinter skills and interests. Our Biggest problem is completing our own self guidied,self taught Autism experience and then being lucky enough to explain our insight to someone or turn it into a useful job. John was well on the way to doing that it seems. Perhaps his death was a gay suicide?
Our Anthropology is filled with gay Aspie suicide or near suicide attempts and those who have endured tell of the aspie (unknown to them) and how that factor was nearly too much for their support system and how Gay, Lesbian BI Sexual and Transgendered Issues were simply too much for their familles to bear. The kindest nicest people are very cruel in the name of love. They would rather see a loved one dead than out and living a real life. Aspie is hard enough especially when we figure out enough about it to do some attempt at a normal life and by the time we get that far we have used up a lot of grace with our families as we are so "strange". Lots of families will not tolerate 'those kind of people'. Including myself I was very lucky and my Family supported me in coming out, My Dad even joined P-Flag.
If Mr. Keel had lived I suspect he to would have fit the Aspie profile. It is no shock to see where his Family would have never dreamed he was autistic as the modern stereotype of Autism ignores the older version of autism were people were quiet and loners. The modern Spun for TV image of new autism had no room for the boring stuff we have been enduring. Obviously, no one in autism ever expected to hear from us either. While Autism was reinventing the wheel we were driving it. Now, Modern Autism would have egg on its face if he suddenly had to admit to us.
Splinter skills for Mr. Keel were hearses and mine were 1962 Pontiac's. I used my deep knowledge of Pontiac's to reach out and do other things. I even used that knowledge to invenit my Turing Motor a 70% Efficient car motor. My 62 Pontiac has even proven to be the worst car ever made and less than 1% of them survive and they were the 3rd best selling car in 1962. Aspies Alan Turing was Father of the Computer and George Washington Carver also seemed to have a one track mind as well.
The Article Explains another (unknowingly) aspect to Keel's autism success that was, his close nit family. It seems to be one of those families where Elders rule and great behavior was mandatory! Was it was one of those places where you sat at the table until your plate was clean? This aspect alone does wonders in overcoming autism's bad behavior that seems legendary these days. Plus he went to small rural school who 's staff might not known of Autism like the bigger schools do. If John was lucky as it seems he was he found a way to get along in school and might even have been doing Picture Thoughts.
His life fits our Anthropology to a tee, I deeply admire Mr. Keel and his success in real life. I only wish for what ever the reason he would have lived. Who knows what kinds of inventions he has stored in Picture thoughts? (brain generated Images, invisible to the average person) .
I plead with those in the spectrum more of us than you think are also in the Gay Lesbian Transgendered and Bisexual spectrum as well as the autism one. It makes me cry as people find us and they figured out lots of autism but yet hit a BIG roadblock in terms of coming out. Lots of People are not lucky enough or old enough to be totally independent. MANY MANY people in our anthropology also have a positive GLBT life experience as well. Aspie might hide the gay/Trangendered aspect to their lives better than most populations. When all is said and done the Transgendered aspie will hold the key to the most autism success! Again If our anthropology were ever admitted to TG among us will have proven them selves as doing Autism better than any other Aspie Population.