Autism and Eating Elephants Eeeew!

Eating an Elephant
Eating an Elephant

I have noticed something in myself that I have noticed in other people with autism. I go into such detail that some things don’t get done.  I think through the whole thing. I gather more information than needed for the project.

I have been unlearning this for a few years.  As my mother said, “You don’t need an A++ when an A or even a B will make things happen.”

I’ll tell you a story.

Hubby has offered help by saying, “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” Can you guess what I pictured?

I saw an elephant lying on its side in the yellow grass dead. Suddenly, the awful scene shifted. I was tearing at the the skin and bloody meat of its thigh with my teeth. Then intellect kicked in by thinking that for one person to eat an elephant would take months. The elephant would start to rot, and birds and insects would be picking at it.

I told hubby, “Why do people say such things? It’s disgusting.”

If you’re on the autism spectrum, you know how pictures can instantly pop in your head when someone uses a saying instead of a direct, factual sentence.  I told hubby what I saw, and he was surprised.  He explained the saying to me.

Instead of freezing up with the overwhelming workload of a project, break it into smaller projects that are a part of the overall project. Do each small project before moving on to the next one. His point was that a large project can’t be done as a whole all at once.

I suggested we change the elephant saying into “eating a turkey one bite at a time.” I picture a cooked turkey just out of the oven. I could smell the sage scent of stuffing, and the sweet tang of cranberry sauce cooking in the pot.  This makes sense to me.

If you cook or eat turkeys, you know a turkey is eaten in stages.

  1. Serve the turkey meat fresh out of the oven for the first meal.
  2. After supper, save the turkey juice and the carcass for boiling to make soup, and put some of the turkey in containers in the freezer.
  3. Make turkey soup and eat it for two days.
  4. Make hot or cold turkey sandwiches.
  5. Eat turkey and cranberries for a snack here and there.

That’s how projects are done–one phase of the turkey eating process at a time.

About Eileen Parker 100 Articles
Support a starving writer, by buying my current book, The Weighted Blanket Guide, on Amazon. I'm a writer working on my fourth book. I live in the Twin Cities with my husband. Between us, we have four children.

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