Snippets & Ruminations In The New Anthropology #2
How I got Lost In Space At The Age of Four Years Old
From the first time I saw [Lost in Space] as a toddler, it exerted an eerie grip on me that precluded everything else. I was so rapt watching the show it was difficult for my parents to even speak to me when it was on. I still had a dummy in my mouth and took it out frequently to point to the screen when it was on during some part of the show that resonated so strongly in me I had to highlight it. My fascination was with the Robinsons. Not Dr. Smith. Even at this young age I felt Dr. Smith was like the people I saw around me in real life. He was nefarious. He had a forked tongue. It was impossible for him to say anything without actually working on another angle at the same time. The man was so crooked he must have had to screw on his pants in the morning. Dr. Smith I recognized as being similar to the adults I knew in the world around me. The Robinsons were something else altogether to me.
Something in the curves of their faces and their builds and their self-expression triggered a powerful response in me. This is how proper people talked. This is the way proper people communicated. This is how real men and women should comport themselves if they were healthy and normal. Everything about the Robinsons struck a chord in me. I saw them clearly as being of my own kind. Dr. Smith was part of The Others. Even at four years old, I saw this as clearly as you see the sun rise in the morning. When adults were speaking to me and attempting to charm me I could see several different ambiguous emotions in their faces at the same time just as Dr. Smith’s face looked when he talked.
I began to tell my mother that the Robinsons were “my real family” and that Penny and Will were my real “brother and sister.” I began to speak to Penny and Will as my imaginary friends. I told my mother that the Robinsons were going to come get me in the Jupiter-2 and take me back to their home planet so I “could be with my own real family,” a frequent delusion seen with “Asperger’s Syndrome” about being separated from one’s “real race.” My mother and father tried hard to laugh at my strange notions and obsession with this television show, certain it must be some kind of stage that is normal for a child to go through. It isn’t. It is distinctly bizarre and outlandish. These kinds of feelings of alienation as a child that young is a truly odd expression of development.
My parents never knew what kind of sadness came over me as I got older and began to understand more of the mechanics of my situation. The Robinsons were never coming to get me in the Jupiter-2. I was never going back to be with my own kind. I was to be left here, forever, amongst the Dr. Smiths. The Others had taken me from my people and I would never, ever be returning to my true home. I knew, even before I started school, that all of these people were Dr. Smiths. Their ways and the ways of my people, the Robinsons, were as far apart and incompatible as a bird in the air and a fish in the water. The Others were going to raise me as one of their own and they would make me compete against a society of Dr. Smiths. There was something about this that even at a very young age I knew was wrong.
The similarities are likely due to a shared perception of chaos in the social environment. In the same way that neurotypicals commonly describe aspies as robot-like, aspies commonly describe neurotypicals as druggie-like. I’ve found that I can actually empathize with people a great deal more if I pretend they’re on crack.
This desire for a simple, saccharine family life is, incidentally, why autistic people like My Little Pony.