On page 319 of The Ends of Power, by H.R. Haldeman (with Joseph DiMona), we read of Haldeman’s reaction to an instruction that President Richard Nixon gave to him.
“[Nixon said:] ‘I want you to go in the other room and call Colson
and check out two things. First, find out exactly what he discussed
with Hunt’s lawyer when he met with him in January. Specifically, I
want to know whether he mentioned the President in any way when he
talked about clemency for Hunt. And I want to know precisely how Colson
raised the point and what he said.’ Since I didn’t know that Colson
had discussed clemency with Hunt’s lawyer in January, this order came as
a bit of surprise, but I was used to that. It was Nixon’s habit to
assume that I knew what he was talking about, or that I would somehow
find out. He didn’t often waste much time explaining to me.”
One characteristic of some people with Asperger’s (or so I have read)
is that they blurt things out without offering much context for what
they are talking about. I’m not sure if this is true of all people with
the syndrome, for there are people with Asperger’s who are known for
delivering monologues, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those monologues
provided context. But I know that, in the case of myself and certain
other people with the syndrome whom I have encountered, we tend to say
things without providing much context for what we are saying. And
people look at us quizzically, wondering what exactly we are talking
This is something for me to work on, insofar as I can. I think that
one reason that I may not offer a lot of context is that I don’t like to
talk. Another reason may be that I don’t feel that people give me much
of a chance to provide context, for they lose interest in what I am
saying and turn their attention onto something else, or I get cut off.
In this case, maybe one thing for me to work on is to try to hold
people’s interest. Perhaps I can dramatize what I am saying!
In writing this, I’m not dogmatically suggesting that Nixon had
Asperger’s. As a lawyer and a politician, there were plenty of times
when he provided context for what he was talking about. But perhaps he
preferred not to do so when he did not have to.
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