The Blog

If We Ruled the World...

According to the Daily Mail Callie Rogers, Britain's youngest lottery winner, is broke but happy. I've been broke. I was not happy.

According to the Daily Mail Callie Rogers, Britain's youngest lottery winner, is broke but happy.

I've been broke. I was not happy.

Although I'd be the first to admit I'm a charter member of the grumpy old men's club (special section for particularly mean old fogies...), there are times I'll honestly admit I get completely exasperated with the illogical antics of the neuro-typicals (NTs) who rule this sceptred Isle, our Earth.

I understand Ms. Rogers did not have the best start in life and I sympathize, but why in God's name couldn't she just have got a good lawyer, listened to her independent financial adviser (I believe the National Lottery does try to supply such help), invested her money carefully in low-risk bonds, told the hangers-on to *** off and got on with her life?

She'd never ever have had to worry about bills again, could have had more time for her children, and maybe even helped her community.

But no, that would have been too logical, and neuro-typicals (as I once wrote myself) think emotionally first and logically second. And as neuro-typicals make up the vast majority of the global population, they do indeed rule - and frequently ruin - the world.

Ms. Rogers is not the only example, nor are the antics of NTs confined solely to the ranks of Lottery winners. Mention must however be made of John McGuinness, a hospital porter from Livingston who won five times as much as Ms. Rogers and still managed to blow the lot, most notably via - let's put it gently here - an ill-advised investment of four million pounds in Livingston Football Club...

And what of the highly-educated CEOs and non-executive directors of such august institutions as the Bank of Scotland and The Royal Bank of Scotland who managed, within the space of a few short years, to destroy two organizations pivotal to Scotland's global reputation as a cautious, reliable and financially astute nation? Surely they should at least have been able to behave maturely...

In the case of The Royal Bank of Scotland in particular, why in the name of all that is holy did such a supposedly logical and astute organization buy the Dutch bank ABN Amro (a toxic timebomb of bad debt) without carrying out proper due diligence?

Because the then CEO Fred "The Shred" Goodwin was an emotionally arrogant individual with an ego approximately the size of Jupiter who'd allegedly been kept waiting to see senior management at ABN Amro. Fred's ire and ego were aroused by this, bad decisions followed, the timebomb was flogged off for too high a fee and we all ended up paying too high a price.

Where's the logic in breaking banks and blowing millions, and why the unctious defensiveness when asked for a logical explanation and some gesture of humility?

And while credit was crunching, banks blowing and lottery tickets followed by millions of banknotes wafting away o'er the White Cliffs of Dover, what was your autistic blogger doing?

Well, buying a flat with a nineteen-fifties style mortgage, having that flat properly surveyed (a sort of due diligence, one might say), putting down a large deposit and paying off his mortgage early...

This may sound a little smug, but I remember sweating my fearful way through those decisions with the hard facts of life laid out clearly before me by my autistic brain. As an Asperger, the phrase "oh, it'll never happen to me," is simply not part of my vocabulary and I knew darn well the truth of the saying that we're all "three months away from homelessness."

If I hadn't made those decisions properly, I'd have forfeited my flat five times over. My next-door neighbour was a bit more easygoing, and lost his home ten days before Christmas.

So sometimes I get exasperated when I see people damaging and destroying their lives, because I know that a few logical decisions could easily avert much unnecessary pain and suffering; but if I open my mouth and say so, everyone tells me I'm being too logical and boring.

I'm not sure it'd be better if Aspergers ruled the world, and it might indeed be pretty boring, but sometimes I wonder...

James Christie is the author of Dear Miss Landau. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, at the age of 37 in 2002. He lives and works in Glasgow.