Cough. Hmm. This is one of those statements that brings out the worst in me. On a good day, it just makes me want to kick the person, or get some big, butch bloke to kick the person for me, depending how incensed I'm feeling (I have small feet, kicking doesn't always do the trick).
On a bad day, though, the idea that aspies have no sense of humour makes me do that thing that I do when I'm feeling most rebellious - behave inappropriately. I don't usually streak down the street, scream at dog-walkers, chase the tyres of moving cars or eat all the candy in the Christmas aisle. No, what I do is lose verbal (or typal) inhibitions and let loose the humour-geese.
You may not have heard of the humour-geese. I was surprised by them myself. It's what I call my inadvisable moments, when I rise to the challenge of a humourless situation and funny it up. I can't often resist this challenge. I would say it's like a red rag to a bull, but bulls have no choice in the matter and I do. I choose to be funny when I shouldn't.
It's not just for those situations where people make statements about aspergers - as I've been under-cover for most of my life, they only occasionally say these thinge to me. More likely, they'll have talked about my son and his aspergers. The sense of humour jibe (let's call it what it is) would sometimes come up when he was younger, as part of the diagnostic process, but was often killed where it stood by my son finding something funny and laughing infectiously until only Cruella de Vil could have resisted joining in.
For myself, I come from a witty, if sometimes cutting, family and have always seen the funny side of things. I like all kinds of comedy on TV, I read funny books, I make jokes, can laugh at myself and others and see the funny side at the least beneficial moments. I've even had to sneak off to the toilets before now to cry with laughter so that I could return, looking like I've had an emotional moment, but without danger of laughing in the wrong situation.
I have to add, in case I sound like a hysterical loon at this point, that I also laugh a lot on the inside, at those little moments in life where you find something riotous but can keep it in. I love those. They're often subtle, hard to relate moments, where you are in the right time and place to witness true humour.
I do have to say, if I hadn't been so shy all my life, my sense of humour would have got me into a lot more trouble than it has. Thankfully, nerves have often prevented me from blurting out the hilarious thing taking place inside my head, so that people are instead faced with me doing a weird little smile, as I see the funny side of my unspoken joke at the same time as trying to listen to what they have to say.
My aforementioned irascible Granda, who often accused me of laughing at him (not just me, he thought everyone was laughing at him), might have been forgiven sometimes for thinking I actually was, as I'd drift away from his chuntering and think of other things. If I saw the funny side of my own thoughts then woe betide me, as he was the master at looking up at the right moment to catch the change in my expression.
Then you're faced with the choice between explaining what you thought was funny, or denying anything was funny. As your own thoughts are just that, and it would be hard to translate them, I always opted for denial. This adds to the general reputation you have for not telling the truth, discussed in my post about aspies and lying, because you're obviously not telling the truth, you just don't want to share.
The real answer, when caught having a laugh to yourself, is to say you thought of something funny and don't want to share it. This seems so much worse than the other two though, as you sound more mysterious and secretive than ever. We really cannot win.
I've also heard that aspies are allowed to have a sense of humour but that they need the jokes to be obvious and self-explanatory. Jokes written with crayons perhaps? Or coloured in by five year olds?
I wonder about this. Life is full of unusual subtleties that aspies grasp for and miss. Jokes can be the same but I believe we fare better here than in other areas. In my mind, I'm so into humour that I'm on the look out for it, so am perhaps more receptive to other people being funny too. If I'm going to laugh out loud, though - in other words, show the world I found something funny - it has to be properly good stuff.
I have no problem laughing at things on TV or the cinema, as I forget about my surroundings. I laugh less often in company as I feel more 'on show' and self-conscious. I tend to laugh out loud more at things I shouldn't, that suddenly strike me as funny and so catch me unawares. Unfortunately, I have no problem guffawing then!
As for the humour we're meant to like, painted with the broad brush strokes, I like that as much as more sensitive humour. I can laugh at Laurel and Hardy, cartoons, kids' movies (love those). I can also laugh at the more off-beat humour in programmes like Fringe. I can still laugh at the Chuckle Brothers, even though my sons have long since outgrown it. I just love to find things funny.
Yes, reader, I love finding things funny. It's a release, it can lift you up, free you for a moment. It can make you feel good and is a great way to connect with other people. You may not know what to say to them, but if you can find the same thing funny or make them laugh, you're half way to being friends.
In my darkest times, I laughed even more. I made a concerted effort to bring light into the darkness, to keep it at bay, prod it, spike it, pierce it until the sun shone through. Have at you, darkness, you can't beat me! Not today, not while I have this laughter in my heart!
I want to grow into my different stages of life still laughing, still smiling at the pleasures of a small, instant, funny-goose. I want to have laughter lines and for people to see my teeth when I find something funny. I want to make it funny for them too, as I know everyone has those dark parts of the day and they're not all as manicly-mad about humour as I am, so they maybe need a little help.
You know what, I want to carry on just as I am. Let me not need the caffeine to buzz through the day. Let's all be silly, subtle or sensitive in our laughter. Just give in to it and see things in a different way.
Lastly, I'm not saying all aspies have a sense of humour. I've discovered, bizarrely, that some people don't like funnies. Some of those people may be aspies. I've also discovered some people don't watch Fringe either. The world is a strange place.
What I would say is, don't assume aspies can't see the humour-geese. Those geese get everywhere and are often only seen by the person right next to them. For all you know, that stony-faced woman in the queue behind you is looking blank because she's enjoying some private joke, re-visiting a funny scene or waiting to share a goose with someone else.
Don't judge a joke by its cover, readers. And don't forget to poke your pointy stick at the darkness, for you and other people.