Apples to Apples and autism

27 Jul

Joey is something of a loner. I suppose my family should be grateful for what little time he will spend with  us, like at dinner, where he will gulp his caffeine-free Diet Pepsi at warp speed and chase it with a glass or two of water before retreating to the guest room to watch Cartoon Network or his room to jam to music. This past weekend, I heard death metal and Christian from his radio. At least we know the boy doesn’t discriminate against genres.

This is what the Apples to Apples cards look like.

But getting Joey to just SIT with us? Not an easy task.

This is why I am very proud to say that on Sunday night, Joey, my autistic and very unsocial brother, sat with me, my mom and my aunt. He sat with us for a good hour. It’s the longest he’s done so without Christmas (he likes to open gifts) or Easter (I can get him to dye eggs with me).

How did we do it? you ask. We didn’t; Apples to Apples did.

If you’re unfamiliar with the game, Apples to Apples requires a group of people and the cards in the box. Each player is dealt five nouns. These run the gamut: Stephen King, Big Macs, three tenors, my love life. Pretty much any noun is fair game. An adjective card is placed in the center. Again, there’s quite a range: silly, quiet, patriotic. Let’s go with “overrated.”

One player is the judge, and the other players choose a card from their hands that the judge will find most “overrated.” Whichever card the judge likes best wins the round.

It may sound overly simple, but that’s part of the genius. I whip this game out at most family gatherings, and most of the family will wander in and out. It’s funny, trust me.

Mom, Aunt Helen and I wanted to play. We wanted a fourth player, and Dad wasn’t having it.

“Joey!” I shouted at him. “Get over here!”

He ignored me.

“Sit by me! You’re gonna play a game.”

He ignored me.

“Come on, baby, I have a seat for you. Sit down!”

“No no no no no no no no no.”

So I set up five nouns for him, face-down.

Joey made to leave the kitchen, and I grabbed him again: “Sit down!”

Miraculously, he sat. None of us three wanted to move for fear we’d scare the elusive Joey away, but play started without a hitch. Joey was never judge, but for each round, I’d point to his five upside down cards and say, “Pick one, baby! We’re looking for the most ‘woebegone.'”

Joey throws: Confucius.

“That doesn’t make sense, but we’re OK with that … Now, give us ‘dull’!”

Joey: Detroit.


Joey: Snow. (He won that one, because Mahatma Ghandi and mirrors aren’t much more dainty.)

He also won “dangerous” with “ninjas,” but “toasters” weren’t quite “awesome” enough.

Joey’s best plays? Second place goes to “unhealthy,” for which Joey threw “Democrats.”

Mom: “What are you doing???”

Dad: “My little Republican!”

First place, however, goes to his response for the adjective “sultry.” Aunt Helen was the judge. Mom threw down “my bedroom,” which of course won. I threw down “three tenors.”

Joey’s card?

“Saddam Hussein.”

4 Responses to “Apples to Apples and autism”

  1. Stephanie July 28, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    Maybe Joey knows something….I mean, Saddam Hussein could have been sultry at some point in his life….

    • Snap, Crackle, Pop July 30, 2010 at 11:29 am #

      Very true. Middle Eastern men definitely have that sexy thing going on.

  2. Dana July 29, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    I think someday you should compile these Joey entries into a book of short stories.

  3. Angie August 4, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    ^^^ What Dana said!

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