A 10-year-old boy from Plattsburgh, New York found the words to explain his experience with autism with a moving poem.
The poem started as a school assignment for young Benjamin Giroux. The assignment was to write a poem about oneself starting every few lines with "I am."
As a young boy with autism, Benjamin decided to base his school assignment around his experience of the world as an autistic person.
The result is powerful and incredibly moving.
My poem. I am Odd. #ODDTOO https://t.co/djVVtPN9mI— Benjamin Giroux~Order I AM ODD I AM NEW (@Benjamin Giroux~Order I AM ODD I AM NEW) 1461459111
"I am odd, I am new,
I wonder if you are too
I hear voices in the air
I see you don't, and that's not fair
I want to not feel blue
I am odd, I am new
I pretend that you are too
I feel like a boy in outer space
I touch the stars and feel out of place
I worry what others might think
I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink
I am odd, I am new
I understand now that so are you
I say I, "feel like a castaway"
I dream of a day that that's okay
I try to fit in
I hope that someday I do
I am odd, I am new."
Benjamin's parents were overwhelmed when they first read the poem. Their first reaction was that their son lived a struggle-filled life because of his autism, but as they re-read the poem, they realized they had misunderstood his poignant words.
Benjamin's father Sonny explained,
"At first, we felt sad and hurt that he feels isolated, alone, misunderstood and odd at school. As the poem went on, we realized that he understands that he's odd and that so is everyone else in their own way, which is what Ben wants everyone to embrace."
Indeed, everyone is odd in their own way, hence Benjamin's hashtag #ODDTOO.
The internet is reeling from the poem's insight into life with autism.
@GirouxBenjamin beautiful !— Monia Jaafar (@Monia Jaafar) 1464632021
@GirouxBenjamin Your honesty and understanding of life is far beyond your years. The understanding you have and the… https://t.co/GjEdm8BcLw— David Sheinkopf (@David Sheinkopf) 1550379941
@GirouxBenjamin I love your poem. Please don't fit in, and don't be scared of the voices in the air, what makes you… https://t.co/ZdKURZPe1Z— TheArtofApril-Anna (@TheArtofApril-Anna) 1550266669
@GirouxBenjamin I stumbled across your poem today. It is indeed beautiful. And, as my father always told me as a ki… https://t.co/YTffyFveZH— Harald A. Wiltsche (@Harald A. Wiltsche) 1550490432
@GirouxBenjamin Both my children have autism and your beautiful poem helped me understand them better. You are an… https://t.co/Qq0loiTz5L— Patricia Carpenter Kirby (@Patricia Carpenter Kirby) 1550354545
@GirouxBenjamin twitter can be a miserable place, but you have made many of us smile - if you ever are missing your… https://t.co/eeithzN1mn— Dan Stefanson (@Dan Stefanson) 1550280030
Thank you for your wise words and insight, Benjamin!
We often look back on our teenage years with mixed emotions.
Our final years where we could enjoy our youth, and live largely without responsibility and just enjoy being a child and all that came with it.
Of course, we might also look back on things we did as teenagers which we are less than proud of today.
Or things we wish someone had told us, so that we may have avoided falling into those unhappy situations.
Redditor notViperX was curious to hear all the things people believed every modern teenager needs to know, leading them to ask:
"Adults of Reddit, what is something every Teenager needs to know?"
No Means No!
"It's ok to say no to anyone."
"Don't let anyone in your life guilt trip you into doing something you don't want to do or are uncomfortable with."- Purpleraven01
What Constitutes Being "Cool" Is Debatable...
"It's exactly as lame to not do something you want to do because it's too mainstream or popular as it is to do something only because it's cool and the cool kids are doing it."- itsacalamity
Pay Attention in Gym And Spanish Class!
"Learn a second language."
"It's good for your brain, and it's a lot easier when you're young."
"Get active and fit; make it a habit."
"This is one of the most important ways to stave off cognitive decline as you get older."
"Plus, it's great for managing mental health during the transition to adulthood."- HappyHappyKidneywill ferrell anchorman GIFGiphy
Put Those Pennies In The Bank!
"Start trying to save money now."
"You will definitely thank yourself later on."- Lastnight97
Sometimes Being Wrong Is The Only Way To Learn You're Right
"Failing is okay."- 2Graves1Ashe
People Are Always Willing To Help!
"When you make a mistake, own up to it."
"People are more willing to help you when you admit you did a dumb thing."
"This goes for school, work, and personal life."
"Forget to make a payment on a loan?"
"Call and talk to the finance company."
"Mess something up on a school project?"
"Tell your teacher and ask for a bit of leeway, Etc."
"People will be more likely to help you if you communicate."
"Start your retirement fund as early as possible."
"Doesn’t matter if you can only afford $5 a week, it’s still $5 more than you would have had otherwise."
"It WILL add up and you’ll thank yourself later."- GreenOnionCrusaderhelp me 80s GIFGiphy
Follow Your Dream, But Have A Safety Net
"Get a marketable skill, unskilled labor sucks."
"You need something that’s going to pay you, it doesn’t have to be your life’s passion, contrary to what my peers were saying at that age, but you do need to be able to tolerate it."-sweetperdition
"If you don't have a passion, learn new skills."
"You might find your passion or something you're good at."- checkmatelocked
Better Safe Than Sorry
"Cashiers don't care if you buy condoms."- induceddaftfanSafe Sex Love GIF by DUREXGiphy
Looking back at things we wish we knew or had done differently will never end up doing us any good.
But giving this advice to young people could save them a world full of trouble.
Rather than mope about the past, we can help improve the future.
We all pretended to be sick at least once when we were children to get out of going to school to avoid a test, game, or assembly we'd been dreading.
Some people still might not have given up the habit of feigning illness, as a means of avoiding work or other occasions that they are less than eager to attend.
Sometimes, simply telling people that you're "sick" is all the information you need to share to get out of it.
Whether or not more concrete proof is needed, others might go a step further in faking their ailment, be it a cold or fever, and often pull off fairly convincing performances.
Sometimes even fooling a doctor.
"Doctors of Reddit, what's the biggest case of 'faking it' you've ever seen?"
That's One Large Pain Threshold...
"Taking trauma call during surgery residency, had a prisoner come in after a fight and claimed he couldn’t move or feel his legs."
"All the CT scans and MRIs were normal, but we would shield his legs so he couldn’t see them and poke them with needles and other sharp objects, with enough force to cause pain- he never flinched or moved his legs at all."
"He was diagnosed with SCIWORA, spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality."
"He stayed in the hospital for a week, no improvement."
"Always had one guard with him."
"One night they were down in the lobby watching some television but the guard needed to use the restroom."
"The patient said, 'where could I possibly go?'"
"Guard left him alone for two minutes."
"Patient last seen sprinting down the road, naked butt cheeks flapping in the breeze."
"Made it to a city four hours away by car before he was caught again."
"I have never seen anyone fake it so well."
"Truly playing the long con!"- Wine_and_sunshineseason 8 episode 23 GIFGiphy
You'll Have To Do Better Than That...
"Patient was convinced she had a melanoma and needed a biopsy and would need to be on workers comp."
"I told her it looked like ink from a marker."
"She demanded a biopsy."
"I wiped the area off with an alcohol swab and showed her the ink and that there was no spot on her skin anymore."
"She stormed out threatening to sue."
"I'm just glad I cured her melanoma."- Richter915
No Complaints Here...
"Had a patient come in for a fall who now couldn’t move their legs at all."
"Did a bunch of tests, didn’t find anything."
"The patient was not at all phased by suddenly being paralyzed which was the first red flag."
"Didn’t really believe anything was wrong but the patient was still not moving their legs."
"My options are to admit for a huge work up or get them to walk."
"So I update them saying everything is fine, tests are negative, you can go home."
"Patient gets up, gets dressed and walks out without a word."- meropenem24
There's Clearly One Issue She Wasn't Faking...
"Not a doctor but worked in health care for nearly 20yrs."
"While taking a break from the ICU, due to it being emotionally draining, I worked in home health for a bit."
"I had a patient who clearly had Munchausen syndrome."
"On a daily basis she would call her insurance to see what things would be covered if she was diagnosed with this or that."
"She called her Doctor's office an average of 5x during my shift with her, she would report all kinds of non real symptoms."
"She pestered the doctors into doing exploitive laparoscopic surgery, of course nothing was found."
"One day I walked in and she was rubbing her incisions with rotten cabbage trying to get it infected."
"She wasn't seeking pain meds, except to sell, really she was just as happy with antibiotics or stool softeners, anything, as long as they wrote her a prescription and she got to go to the pharmacy where she did a whole song and dance for them too, claiming allergies and reactions."
"She always increased the exaggeration of her story too."
"One time she fluttered her eyes, after making sure I was looking, and said she lost consciousness in that half a second."
"She called the doctor and claimed she lost consciousness for 5mins, she called the insurance and claimed it was 10min, she called the pharmacy and claimed it was 30min, then she called 911 and told them she woke up on the floor after losing consciousness for 4hrs."
"The worst thing about her was she was a mom."
"Her son was 28 at the time and by all the stories of his childhood illnesses and all her saying how he is severely disabled I knew she basically f**ked up his childhood with Munchausen by proxy."
"She portrayed him as being severely disabled and that's why he would never find a wife."
"I met him, he was healthy and of average intelligence."
"He wasn't looking for a wife, he was gay, but she refused to accept that."
"Working with her was so miserable that I took a couple years off from any and all healthcare after that."- invisible_for_thisGiphy
She Only Thought She Was Faking It.
"Young, 18-20, Woman went running into small rural hospital ER pretending to have abdominal pain."
"Police officer had tagged her going 40+km over the limit which was ‘stunt driving’ as per the new law in Ontario, impound and licsence suspension automatic."
"Cop followed her into ER and apparently said he’d be waiting for her when she left."
"Locum staff such as myself were housed at a small B&B about 15 mins away, and the ER had pre-printed order sets to be done before we arrived."
"When I arrived she flat out admitted that she just came in because she freaked out and didn’t stop."
"I told her we’d give her 45 mins to call her parents/family before I booted her."
"Except, bHCG came back positive, and subsequent ultrasound came back showing extremely early ectopic."
"Officer figures out something is up when he hears air ambulance call come in over radio."
"She was completely asymptomatic and just worked out that she dodged both charges and a life-threatening issue by accident."
"It was definitely a WTF moment."
"A little more info, small rural hospitals in Northern Ontario often service areas from more than an hours drive away and still only have a catchment area of 2000-3000 people."
"When on-call it was just that, we would do our days in the community clinic, then maybe hospital rounds, then go home and be on call; we wouldn’t be at the hospital, there wasn’t an on-call room where you would stay for example."
"There were lots of times that you’d go a full night without being woken up, or maybe just a call from the acute care inpatient wing."
"Locums were short term contracts for places that didn’t have full time medical staff for whatever reason."
"It’s hard to attract clinicians if you don’t even have broadband internet in the community."
"They generally pay very well."- Graigori
It's hard to blame someone for faking illness to get out of something that they really don't want to do.
But when you actually try to get doctors involved in your deception, you might want to question if it's really worth it.
After all, let's not forget the story of "the boy who cried wolf"...
Every kid has their own strengths and talents. However, in school, some of us are singled out as being ‘gifted.’
This could mean a variety of things, from getting exceptionally good grades to having a unique way of thinking or understanding topics that aren’t seen in other students.
Often, when a student is labeled “gifted,” it is assumed they will be successful in later life.
However, Reddit has proven that this is not always the case.
Sometimes gifted students are successful but to a normal degree. They have the same careers and achievements as students who weren't labeled gifted. Other times, these students are not successful at all and being labeled “gifted” ended up damaging.
Curious about the results of this label, Redditor Lemon_m1lk asked:
“People who were “gifted” in elementary school: what are you doing in life now?”
A Real Job
"First comment I saw that was actually a job and not a chronic depression..."
"I work in biotech ensuring drugs are safe and make a great living, just paid off my house. I feel like Reddit isn’t the most balanced place to ask this question haha"
Life Of Academia
"I have a PhD and teach university. So never leaving academia?"
"I think this is the way I'm headed too. PhD in archaeology (I start next week) and couldn't be happier with my life choices."
"Same. It's usually a great gig, except I'm chair of my department now and have to be nice to people."
Science And Engineering, Of Course
"I'm a computer engineer and VP at my company. I worked at a successful startup and even had a co-op job at NASA in college."
"Senior software architect. Discovered I had a knack for programming my sophomore year in college many moons ago. Made a career out of it. :)"
A Working Brain
"Honestly, I’ve got a good life. Got a master’s degree and certification in a job that I find really rewarding and challenging."
"I still love to learn."
"I have a great relationship with my SO and a pretty cool kid."
"I’m still friends with some of my gifted buddies (despite living all over the US). And I would say we are pretty content with our lives."
Others didn’t achieve what everyone expected them to achieve.
"I can count your change like a motherf*cker though."
"I am VERY succesful in my menial job"
Done At 10
"I peaked in grade 5. It was a good ride while it lasted, tho."
"Omg, same here. I was put into an advanced sixth grade that required actual effort and it was downhill from there."
Trying To Figure It Out
"Winging it still at 37...."
"This hits too close... I too am 37. Whole family and friend group like "why aren't you super successful? You're so smart and charismatic!""
""Really wish I could tell y'all something that made sense...""
Such A Waste
"I am chronically unemployed and just generally a waste of space."
"You and me both. Chronic depression and various other mental health issues; I suspect my brain simply burned out."
"Not unemployed but I have a lot of anxiety and fear of failure. I only start things when I can guarantee success. For example, I’ve been wanting to learn Python but the fear of not doing well stops me every time"
Only Way Out Is Through
"Depressed, anxious, and agoraphobic. I flunked out of high school because the anxiety was too much for me to handle and later turned to drugs to cope. I finally got sober but life still sucks."
Some even pointed out that being called “gifted” or anything of the sort was damaging to students.
"I'm staying in school bc I don't believe I'll thrive anywhere else. So I'm getting degree after degree."
"I’ve never related to any comment more than this. School was a safe place with clear objectives (degrees) and a reliable method of accountability (grades). Would be a student for life if I could"
"Same. Now I’m 39 with only 7 years of job experience."
Or High Anxiety
"Having anxiety about change in my life"
"Huge mood. Being labelled as having “so much potential!!!!!1!!!” will set you up for striving to be good at even the most menial and brainless tasks, bc if you’re not competent…well!"
Special Gifted Classes
"They were still doing this as late as the mid 90s where I went. Fun at first until you realize you still had to cover what you missed. Eventually the policy changed to 1 day a week at a different school which was even worse because you never really bonded with anyone there."
"Gifted school was better except they assumed you were gifted at all subjects."
"I remember being taken out of class in the 70s too. In the third grade me and about 4 other kids were studying microbes and using microscopes. Then they repurposed the room we were using and they just quietly moved us into the corner of the regular classroom which I found embarrassing. We would have to whisper with the teacher but it just made the other kids want to know what we were doing over there. It was awkward and poorly executed."
And Missing Out On The Fun
"Dude. Me too. Taken out of my regular school to go hang out with nerds and miss pe. Which was our only chance for sports that I only cared about back then"
"yeah i was “gifted” enough to know more busywork was punishment for being “gifted”. i’ll take my recesses and classes with my friends thanks."
Recognition, validation, and facilitation can be extremely valuable for students, especially young ones.
However, it is more beneficial for these students to know it's okay to be who they are rather than being put into categories and gaining labels early in life.
Non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, are legally binding contracts that establish confidential relationships.
For most people, it’s not a big deal. NDAs are often signed at the start or end of an employment opportunity or during a sale of a product or technology you own. They mainly protect creative, business, or intellectual properties.
However, another function of NDAs is to guarantee silence on more high profile or nefarious events. For example, Stormy Daniels was asked to sign an NDA so that events that transpired between her and former president, Donald Trump, would be kept a secret. In most cases like these, the person who signs the NDA also gets a sum of money for their cooperation.
In these cases, the reason for the NDA is usually wild.
Curious about these wild reasons, Redditor gabz09 asked:
“People no longer bound by their non-disclosure agreements, what can you now disclose?”
That Didn't Work Out
"I disclosed to a minority partner that the majority partner owed him 100k. He could have easily received a check for that amount, but he sued for 700k, spent 300k on a lawyer and got nothing."
"Ha...I saw the owner of a company I worked for do the same thing. A sales employee sued for not getting proper commissions and the CEO easily paid 10 times that amount fighting it in court...only to lose and have to pay anyways. Spite!
"Not me but my cousin. He was working his first job in Marketing in one of the top marketing firms in the country. My cousin is ridiculously good looking, used to be a model for A&F( not just the local store models, but one of the national models) and dresses well. So he get to the job and his bosses boss (male) starts hitting on him ridiculously. He's invited to lunch, dinner asked if he wants to go to the bosses weekend home, all the time turning him down. One time in the car his boss told him how quickly he would advance if he spent the weekend with him, and my cousin recorded the entire conversation. He nopes the boss and then ghost him on invites for weeks until the boss stops asking. Fast forward to three months after he's hired and he's doing his review with HR and his immediate supervisor is there. He starts to hear about how he's not a good fit, not a team player etc."
"They let him know they were terminating him, and he grabbed the paperwork they wanted him to sign and put it in his pocket. Then he pulled out his phone and played his bosses recording. After he was done, he looked at the HR manager and asked if she had anything to say. They both left the room acting shell shocked and he stayed there in the conferoom until the HR manager came back an hour later. She put her boss on the conference line and they started telling him it was illegal to record private conversations, they would file charges etc. He laughed and told them he would go to the press, and that he knows they would love to put him on TV. Three days later he as signing a nondisclosure and picking up a check almost big enough to pay for his three years of law school. For anyone wondering, no the guy who harassed him was not fired, and he has since been promoted again by the company."
Don't Believe Everything You Read
"The book you're reading might only be a "bestseller" because the author had enough money to buy thousands and thousands of copies, have them shipped to a warehouse for storage, and eventually destroyed."
"Always wondered how sh*tty books were on the NYTBSL and who was buying them..."
"Given the fact that a book I'm reading right now is labeled as a "Bestseller" reads like a sixth grader wrote it, I wouldn't be surprised"
This Is How Games Fall Apart
"Technically, I'm still bound by the NDA, but the company didn't know how to write NDAs. It's like they had the following conversation:"
"Hey, we need an NDA just like all these other companies have!"
"Do you know how to write an NDA?"
"The NDA was for a roleplaying game that I signed up to playtest with the group. The NDA itself actually forbade me -- the person running the game and providing feedback to the company -- from talking about it, but had no such restrictions in place for anyone I ran the game for. It only required me to sign it, not any of my players. The way it was written, I was not allowed to play the game with any of the players in the group. How they expected anyone to playtest the game, I don't know."
"The way that RPG playtests are supposed to happen is:"
- "the company releases a playtest document,"
- "people play it, and then"
- "they make changes for another round of playtesting."
"What actually happened is the company changed the core resolution mechanic of the game in the middle of the first round of testing (in the middle of a long message forum thread), based on the feedback of people who were openly admitting they only read the rules and hadn't actually played the game."
"One of the people who stated they hadn't played the game also said he didn't have a group of players they were going to play it with."
"So they changed the game based on nothing but feedback from people who hadn't tested anything."
"To top it off, after my group actually played the game and submitted feedback we weren't invited back to the second round of playtesting."
"Also we were left off the playtest credits."
This Is Disappointing
"I worked at a small bakery in New York City when I was younger. Every morning the bakery would take their day old cup cakes and deliver them to a tour company that did Sex and the City tours. The tour company would pass our cupcakes off as cupcakes from Magnolia, and significantly much more popular bakery."
The Secret Has Been Revealed
"The secret ingredient in Jimmy John’s tuna salad is Kikkoman’s Soy Sauce"
"I make my tuna with soy sauce now. I only worked there for a short time, so I was never allowed to make the tuna. But a friend that worked with me told me the recipe. They’re funny with their NDAs."
– Deleted User
My Pretzels Shall Be The Same!
"When i was fired from Auntie Anne's in 2010, I signed a 10 year non-compete/NDA contract, promising not to detail the baking secrets or work for another pretzel establishment."
"Well that ended this year so now I can run out and start a pretzel store because the secret I was keeping was making pretzels literally requires 2 products, one of them being water and the other a large bag of pretzel meal/dust/powder. Quite literally anyone with $2500 can start a pretzel stand and make perfectly fine pretzels, it's not difficult whatsoever."
"Edit: I signed the letter when I was hired but I got a copy with my termination letter."
It Could Be Worse
"I used to work for a large gas station chain."
"I worked at its warehouse where it creates a lot of the donuts. The room was really hot so we were always sweating. There’s some machines where the donuts get glazed in chocolate. They’re these small machines they look almost like a bbq grill. They always wanted us to be super fast glazing the donuts. Working in a hot room and working at super fast speeds it was natural for a lot of peoples sweat to just drip in the chocolate underneath us. Never eat the chocolate donuts from a gas station"
"Honestly if the worst thing in those donuts is human sweat, I'm impressed."
Knowledge Should Be Shared
"I was a contractor for NASA. I still fully support the agency, but I was extremely bugged when I learned that each separate NASA center (e.g., JPL, Kennedy, Ames, Goddard) hides many of its inventions and breakthroughs from the other centers so that when HQ is ready to assign a big mission (and a lot of dollars) to one center, they have a better chance to compete over the others. “Look what we invented! Ames can’t do this over there! Give us the next moon orbiter!”"
"The downside is that there is a ton of reinvention and duplicated efforts going on. Sometimes years of work go down the drain when another center does the same thing faster. My perspective was: you all work for NASA. Share knowledge, collaborate. I was frequently ordered to tone down anything revealing when speaking to other centers."
Reasons To Stop Eating Out
"We re-used buffet style food served in a cafeteria that we're supposed to compost and record as waste. The health inspector says anything that's left open buffet style and serve yourself can't be taken back and repurposed because it's not monitored and could be cross contaminated or many other things (nobody should ever eat buffet style if avoidable fyi) but the fortune 500 company I worked for was unhappy about the money they were losing by composting the food so they make us keep it and re-serve it later or repurpose it into soup or casserole or something. Personally I never did this and just waited for my boss to leave and compost the food but others I worked with were too worried about losing their jobs to go against orders."
"I didn't want to be fired but felt morally obligated to not feed people food that was meant to be garbage, so I just sneaky tossed it out when nobody was looking because I got paid really well there. We all had to sign NDA's saying we wouldn't tell the media or non employees about recipes and procedures that covered leftover food and food waste. Eventually my boss discovered what I was doing and I stood up to him about not being willing to reuse garbage as food so we agreed that I'd just quit because while they could force me not to talk about it, they couldn't actually force me to do something illegal for my job and I was clearly refusing to do it."
Some of these are even worse/funnier than I imagined.