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News & Features » March 2019 » “Autism Shmautism” by Tamar Jacobs

“Autism Shmautism” by Tamar Jacobs

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, Tamar Jacobs reveals the realities of autism.

Autism Shmautism
by Tamar Jacobs
Five years old

Autism is you’ve got to say it louder. No, a little quieter. Wait, you have to look at her honey because she didn’t hear.  

Autism is not What’s your name. Start with My name is then you can say What’s your name. Okay?  

Autism is I know I know I know you are upset. I know I know I know you are upset.  

Autism is people who think they know what autism is and they say, “Really? He seems like such a normal kid.”

Autism is biting your tongue and not saying anything about Rain Man. 

Autism was that one time at that story hour at the library when all the other kids faced forward and he faced back.  

Autism was your intolerance for this.  

Autism is your intolerance for this.  

Autism is your continued intolerance and shortness when Autism doesn’t conform to norms.  

(And you thought you were such a norm-shatterer.) 

Autism is the lug nuts and bolts and a wrench and the oblong porcelain lid placed carefully on the floor of the bathroom.  

Autism is 442 views of a YouTube video titled “How To Fix Your Toilet: Residential Version.”

Autism is 238 views of a YouTube video titled “How To Fix Your Toilet: Commercial Version.”

Autism is I know I know I know you are upset. I know, honey, I know. 

Autism is fix your grip fix your grip fix the way you grip that pen flip the way you grip that fork. 

(Did you hear my words? Flip it.) 

Autism is trying to explain why this is important.  

Autism is trying to explain why you can’t watch it the 443rd time.  

Autism is your kid is smart and he knows you don’t have answers for these questions. 

Autism is your husband reminding you that Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was three. 

Autism is your husband reminding you that Stevie Wonder’s mom didn’t GAF, she pushed him out the door to play.  

Autism is your husband reminding you that he lined up all his cars in neat rows until he was eight.  

Autism is your husband reminding and reminding you.  

Autism is a reminder that we are all composed of our -isms and the world is composed of us and the world will be gone in a hot second.

And Autism is maybe fuck it flip your grip however it’s comfortable. Maybe fight fight against the dying of the light and watch every single blessed toilet video that ever blazed across YouTube. 

That’s autism.  

Shmautism. Banana Fana Fa Fautism.  


I know you are upset. I know.  

You are upset.  


TAMAR JACOBS lives in Philadelphia. Her short stories have appeared in Glimmer TrainThe Louisville ReviewHayden’s Ferry ReviewGrist, and other publications. She placed 2nd in a Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers contest and is a Katherine Anne Porter Fiction prizewinner.


Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Mar 19, 2019

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,