Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Other People's Anger

I’m afraid of disputes and arguments. I’m going to guess most people would shy away from a tense confrontation, but probably not for the reason I do. In my eyes emotions are extreme. This means that there isn’t varying degrees of anger, happiness and hate. If someone is angry that means they want to kill the person they are angry with. I can’t see that someone can be partially angry and just want to have a stern word with whomever they’re mad with.

            Living like this is hard! Each and every day is a potential explosion in my eyes. If I see two people angry with each other I instantly think that I’m about to witness a 21st century rendition of the showdown at the OK Corral. Is this normal?

            I’ve felt this way as far back as I can remember. In school I tried to be as bland as possible to avoid any chance that I would make another person mad. At this point in time though I don’t think it was going to involve guns, knives, and perhaps a pipe bomb. At the early school age though I was worried about fists, kicks, and yelling which, for someone in 1st grade, is just as scary as guns.

            Looking back I wonder if this extreme misinterpretation of other people’s emotions was one of the leading causes of my unusually high anxiety level. Each day was like crossing a barely frozen pond just waiting to hear the crackle of the ice that’s about to break. For that person crossing the pond the stakes are life or death. I saw it this same way for me.

            To witness an argument, regardless of what age I am talking about, is very traumatic. My fears jump to the worst case and I prepare for an all out brawl. All this thought and all this fear is just downright tiresome! I have yet to see the all out brawl occur, but I am 100% confident it will happen each time I see an argument.

            The underlying problem is a complete lack of the knowledge that emotions are level based. For me, screaming equals the desire to kill; therefore if I see two people yelling at each other they both want to kill each other. I don’t experience this because I realize within myself there are levels and I try not to allow myself the option of ever being mad or angry at another because that in turn will make them want to kill me. I know I’m using extreme words, but that’s how it is. Every person is a stick of dynamite with a quarter second of fuse left.

             I don’t know where this view of the world came from. I haven’t seen the extreme case happen in person… yet. Could this simply be that because I am unable to sense any emotion from someone I have to go with something that is on/off? I can’t judge the depth of anger so I must assume it’s the deep end. Whereas the person who is mad may be a depth of 2ft out of 10ft I see all anger as either none, or 10ft. Perhaps this is so.

            What gets me though is that even though I have yet to see a situation go nuclear, I still think each case will. This is what made me a good race director because when anyone was mad with my call I did everything in my power to convey a sense of calmness because, even though I have no intention of the extreme option, I assume everyone has that same extreme sense of other people’s emotions. This means if I show anger the other person will think I want to seriously harm them. Because of that I always stayed super calm and had an understanding fa├žade even though I was waiting for that 9mm to rear its ugly head.

            As I think about this I believe this concept if more than just a misunderstanding of anger. If I am to show any interest, like, or dislike on any given item then that means whomever hears or see this will assume that I am 100% committed to it, in love with, or complete hate with it. Since I see other people in an all or nothing fashion I believe that they do this to me; therefore I have to avoid any emotion whatsoever to avoid a misunderstanding.

            I simply wanted to state the fact that I don’t see other people’s anger in levels as it could be lukewarm, mild, extreme, boiling, and full of uncontrollable rage. From that attempt to state that I think I’ve uncovered why I try to be blank in public. Any emotion equates to full emotion and full emotions are usually bad therefore I must not be bad. Wow, impressive! Um, well, I guess this isn’t bad (must not show emotion, must not show emotion, dang, too late!) 

Friday, August 12, 2022

To be in School

 


I’ve spoken a lot about school so I thought it best to dedicate an entire chapter to it. I also wrote a similar chapter to this in Finding Kansas but from when I wrote the chapter “School” to writing this now my knowledge about myself, and the autism spectrum, has grown immensely.

I’ll start by saying that school was not easy for me. You’ve probably gathered that by the numerous examples I’ve given so far be it the fire drills or my love of arguing with those in authority. Anyway, preschool was difficult to begin with as my language skills weren’t that developed at the time, and I should mention I’ve been told most people don’t have memories to the details I have, but I always got so frustrated when I would talk and no one would listen or understand what I was saying. On top of that, when any sort of pretend play would happen I’d try to state what was wrong, or how to do it, but my words were never understandable. 

By the time kindergarten came along I was better at speaking but I didn’t have much interest in communicating with those my own age. I did have one friend my own age, my neighbor, but he was in another class. Also, those my own age didn’t interest me as I’d much rather talk to the teacher because, either she understood me better, had interest in what I was saying, or was good at pretending on knowing what I was saying. This isn’t to say that I didn’t make the attempt to socialize. Yes, I tried, but not in the most appropriate of ways as I’d talk about my Kansas’ be it auto racing, the flags of racing, the drivers of racing, the cars of racing, the tracks of racing, car numbers, or the weather. In extreme events, when I was worried about the Soviet Union, I’d speak about my fears of intercontinental nuclear war which always got the same response with me being looked at oddly and then being left alone.

When others would try and join me in the fun of pattern blocks (okay, pattern blocks were and are the most awesome thing ever made. Sensory wise, there was nothing better than putting them together and creating all sort of neat designs one hexagon at a time) I would always disagree with the way they had their design so I had no qualms in letting them know. If they didn’t adhere to my advice I’d coldly go over and destroy what they were doing because it wasn’t right. This was a theme in all my time at school. I may have been labeled the “teacher’s pet” but I could have a streak of seemingly mean or cold behavior. This would go towards anyone, as mentioned in the previous chapter because teachers were no excluded from this.

After kindergarten and first grade came around I was scared out of my mind. I didn’t understand how, when I was in kindergarten, the amount of hours were doubling. After lunch on my first day the nerves got so great that I vomited right there at my desk. This was a one-way ticket home and using my “Film Theory” from Finding Kansas this started a precedent of how to avoid school albeit this first example was fully involuntary.

I may have difficult towards my classmates, but I was also a terror to substitutes. To my primary teachers I’d almost be a timekeeper and if the top of the hour was near and we weren’t in transition to the next subject I’d adamantly protest. Rules are rules and schedules are schedules and any deviance is not accepted. My 1st and 2nd grade teachers were amazing in that they tolerated this behavior and were always understanding and they’d explain it logically to me if we went over the allotted time. However, when it came to subs, well, that’s a different story.

As I state in my presentations my most famous, or infamous, run in with a sub was in 2nd grade. She came in and straight away put a wheel on the board. Now, I loved wheels and any game that loved a wheel automatically got three bonus points in my mind, but this wheel, wherever it came from whether it was from the depths of hell, or a teacher’s supply store, it needed to go back. You see, it was segmented into different subjects and she called it a topsy-turvy day and she would spin the wheel and whatever subject came up next would be the next subject we would do. Um… NO! I don’t do random all that well and in this subs defense every kid in the class thought this was the best thing ever, but I was the poster child for preparedness and this random element was not sitting well so I complained and she politely said, “Yes, Aaron, I know” and spun the wheel.

So often subs will use this logic when explaining something, “We’re going to do it this way because I said so.” If you want to lose a person on the spectrum use this language because it won’t make sense. It quite simply won’t because if everyone in the world used this language the question has to be asked, “Whose say so would have more say so than the next say so?” This is why we have rules, routines, and schedules and to come along and change it without any explanation other than, “because I said so” is only going to illicit a response of fear and anger. Why fear? Here’s the thing; if you’re making this change now what’s preventing you from using the same logic 15 minutes from now on another topic. This is something most people won’t think of as most people are a “now” thinker meaning they are only seeing the here and now, but for us on the spectrum we may be constantly thinking ahead and if you change something now everything I foresee happening is questionable because the only guarantee is that random could happen at any moment.

So the teacher spun the wheel and the next hour I complained again and got the same polite response but then in the third hour I finally had a logical argument because we did have a printed schedule on the wall. I rose my hand with extra oomph as she went to spin the wheel and I pointed towards the schedule and stated my protest and she looked over, saw it, and walked over and proceeded to rip it off the wall, threw it on the floor, and then spun the wheel. The worst part was my 2nd grade teacher was gone for the entire week so I really hope her week in Florida was worth it!

3rd grade was not a pleasant experience. I changed schools and had a very inconsistent teacher. One day she’d be firm the next would be random. It was hard for me to feel any level of comfort and she also had the, “look at me when I’m talking to you” mentality so that year was not one I enjoyed.

4th grade was great as my teacher really challenged me and got me thinking outside the box. It’s amazing what a teacher can do without doing much, but Mrs. Colvin was a great example of that as she didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but she used many of my existing interests to spawn new interests. Going to school was never fun for me, and I would protest or be “sick” in the morning to avoid going but when the last day of school came I cried for the first time at the prospect that I’d never be in her classroom again.

5th grade was a turning point for me as halfway through the year my family moved from Indianapolis to Saint Louis and on my last day in Indy two major things happened. The first was I learned I landed the lead role in the school play which I wouldn’t be able to play and secondly, and more importantly, my class that I was leaving behind bought me a College Park Elementary school pencil. While it may have not been much, and it may have only cost a nickel from the school store, it quickly because the world to me. 

In Saint Louis it took a couple weeks before I felt comfortable going to school but eventually my parents no longer asked if I were ready so off I went and, sadly, the class I went to had a habit of pranking the new kid. What did they do? I’m sure pranking has come a long way from this seemingly innocent prank pulled against me, but during the lunch/recess hour a fellow student got into my classroom and hid all my pens and pencils. This was almost fine because I wouldn’t have cared if my new pencils and pens were gone. However, that College Park Elementary school pencil was gone as well and since I don’t remember people visually without a physical item it was very much like deleting the memories of those in Indy. Because of this my reaction was not a mild one but was rather severe. And because of that whoever pulled the prank did not come forward and if anyone had knowledge they kept it to themselves because no one wanted to have any part of the trouble that one might have gotten into considering my reaction.

A few months later when the teacher’s podium was moved for the floor to be cleaned my supplies were found, but it was too late by then. No one could understand, including myself, why inanimate objects had such an effect on me and since first impressions are important I never really fit in at that school. This trend would continue and eventually I’d be homeschooled which is where I’d finish up my schooling career.

There are several more points I’d like to make about school. The first is that I struggled in anything that required a group. There were many reasons why from not wanting to socialize to not trusting other’s work and if there were any debates on anything I’d be about as close-minded as possible because I knew I was right and it was my way or no way. Group work often has results much like mine and there was one project in 7th grade that I actually submitted my own personal submission outside of the group I was in. It wasn’t that I misunderstood the idea of a group but rather it was that I didn’t trust their work, they didn’t listen, and I knew I was right. 

Secondly, I could be cruel when it came to others around me if they didn’t pick something up as easily as I did. Things did either come easy (math, geography) or things were impossible for me (anything fine motor, English, spelling) but during the part of class where the teacher would call upon students to answer a question, and I knew it, I’d let our verbal, “Ugh’s” and “Grrr’s” when someone got it wrong because this meant two things; the first was that they didn’t know which was beyond me because I had the mindset of, “if I can do it everyone can do it” and secondly was that a wrong answer meant we’d talk about this longer which, since I already knew it, meant more minutes of endless boredom.

Finally, and on a positive, as I mentioned my 4th grade teacher was phenomenal as was my 2nd grade teacher. They both did something which I swear let me become the person I am today. In school the only thing I enjoyed were academic games as long as it wasn’t a spelling bee although in 2nd grade I tied for the win for the class but I just got lucky as everything I got was geography based so I let the other person go to the school spelling bee. Anyway, when it came to flashcards or states and capitols I lived for those games and the game played was a one question, sudden death winner takes all and proceeds to the next desk duel to end all duels. It was simple; get it right and proceed. Get it wrong and wait and sadly, for my classmates, both of these subjects fell within my Kansas so rarely did anyone else get to play. In 1st and 3rd grades I was declared the “retired champion” and was exiled to the corner to do busy work. This work wasn’t graded but I had to do anyway. Talk about a logic fail! Instead of banishment in 2nd and 4th grades my teachers did something else as I got a promotion and became the host of the game. I either held the flashcard or named the state or the capitol but all in all this was practice for public speaking.

For the teachers reading this I first salute you and secondly I have to say that you can do amazing things for us and you may never know the outcome. Society can get so caught up in trying to fix everything right this second, but sometimes it is like planting seeds and the seeds planted for myself took two decades to sprout, but here I am. It may not take much sometimes and outside the subs I had my teachers never got angry with me which, had they, I may have become afraid of them. Also, several of my teachers were able to engage me in my interests which built up a trust with them. My 2nd grade teacher began to follow auto racing and she would quiz me as to where the world traveling Formula One series would be racing and she once asked me, “Aaron, where is Silverstone?” which I knew the track but had just a faint idea about where it was and that it might be in someplace called England and from that moment on my love of travel and learning about new places were born. So yes, while I did write a lot about my negative experiences there positive ones as well and I never got the chance to say thank you the wonderful teachers I had so I must dedicate this chapter to them to express my gratitude because without them I would not have achieved what I have.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Score in the Past

My brain is a funny thing. Out of nowhere can come the need to solve a mystery from the past. Unlike popular mystery movies, there's no real intriguing mystery, but rather something simple such as, "where did I place that pen?" or "where did I play golf that had the college dorm right off the course?" When one of these mysteries hits, the need to solve it is instantaneous.

I went to Google Maps to do a blanket search of golf courses and I looked at the names hoping to see a name that rekindled the place. No luck. I then went to my memory drawer where I have most every scorecard from every round of golf I've ever played. I wish my need to know when I want to know wasn't so great because the flood of memories was a tidal wave.

The scorecard on top was from May 27, 2000. It is one of my favorite days I've ever had as it was the day before the Indy 500, and a note on the scorecard shows what my dad almost achieved. He was on his cell phone as we approached a par 3, he put the phone down, and almost had a hole in one without even seeing the end result because he went back to the phone. Truly, it hit the pin and sat on the lip of the hole, and he didn't even know. It was fun to watch, and the Indy 500 was the next day! However, this wasn't the course I was searching for.

A couple scorecards below and I saw the name. It was the name of a former coworker who died five years ago. I noticed his handwriting on some of the scores and I stared at it, reminiscing about the round we had in Texas. The note on hole 17 says we ended due to darkness and like a scene from a movie I remember us searching for our golf balls in the last bit of light as an early fog and mist rolled in. Memories like this one are bittersweet because I didn't have many more with him after this.

I was now on the memory lane express, and I hit a series of course names I didn't instantly recognize. These were from small towns in Missouri that I played at while passing through, either headed to or headed from presentations. This made me miss the road and presenting to people and helping anyone that wanted to listen. Actually, I missed this a lot, and I broke down in tears. Why did having to find one golf course mean so much? And why did I have to stumble upon so many memories trying to find the answer?

Google Maps was consulted again because I didn't know what type of landmines awaited me in the scorecard pile, and I looked up college courses and I found it; it was just across the river in Edwardsville. I looked back at my scorecard pile and almost had the inclination to throw them away, but how could I do that? I keep many seemingly irrelevant tokens, trinkets, and scorecards, but even if I throw them away, I'll still know they existed, and the memories tied to them. Seeing the items, or scores on holes, makes the memory current. It truly feels as if it were today, and it's overwhelming to experience, but it would be doubly bad to try and remember and be unable to.

As I was putting the scorecards away, one fell out. It was from the Boulder City golf course in Nevada. It was from October 2003 and although it just had my score, I played with a local that day. He was retired, and we talked the whole round. This was, and is, extremely uncommon for me as I try to avoid interactions on the golf course, but that day was special. Seeing that card reminded me of how much impact a random person can have in a person's life. We didn't create world peace or solve any of life's mysteries, but that day, under the desert sun, I felt normal. I wasn't diagnosed yet, that would come in two months, but I wasn't quite the same as everyone else. However, on that round, I was. I wonder what happened to him. He was maybe 65 at the time and that was 19 years ago. Another mystery. This one unsolvable, but the motivation to be nice and have an impact remains... dang, I wish I would've had his name on the card. 

The cards went back into the drawer. They'll see the light of day again, maybe when I'm trying to remember what course I played at in Effingham, or the round I played with another friend who is no longer with us. Everyone has ways to remember people or places, and for me one way is in a stack of scorecards. The neat thing for me is, even though I try to avoid interactions, all the cards that mean something to me included someone else. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Memories of Places

I took a ride down memory lane last night, I'll write about that trip in a few days, but it got me thinking about places lost to time, and Crestwood Plaza, so I went diving for what I wrote in 2011, which is the following post... 


Places are very important to me. Having an associative memory system I remember a lot from being in places that those memories are tied to. Because of this I hate changes in the places that I know because it disturbs the way I remember the memories there.


With that being so, on Saturday, I decided to go to mall known Crestwood Plaza. Some of my first memories of Saint Louis happened at that mall. As my parents were house searching in October if 1993 we went to the mall and I was shocked. Yes, we had malls in Indianapolis, but there was something about Crestwood Plaza that I loved. The food court was enormous and the mall itself seemed to stretch forever (I just did a Google Earth measurement; it measures at .33 miles).

The food court was located in the basement right next to the Exhilarma which was, quite possibly, gaming overload for me at the time. This arcade was mammothly big and had everything. I went there for many years until it closed in the early 2000's, but I have one special memory in the arcade. In 1998 the day before I got confirmed at my church, the arcade racing game of Sega Super GT was glitched in a way. Instead of being a 3 lap race it was a 40 lap race! 40 laps for just 50 cents. Good times!

In a way this mall eased the transition from Indy to Saint Louis due to just how awesome that mall was. If this mall was any inkling to the future, the future was going to be bright (note to self in the future: Do not let malls dictate omens of the future).

I don't know why I wanted to go to Crestwood Mall on Saturday. I have read in the South County Times that the mall may be razed and rezoned and that shops are disappearing at an alarming rate, but I had not yet seen this for myself. I may have been reading it for two years now, but it wasn't real because how could the most fantastic mall on Earth suffer such a fate?

It was 5:45PM when I arrived at the mall. In my memories of previous Christmas shopping experiences I can remember parking at an extreme premium. There was no thing as a short walk! Saturday though, well, front row parking was readily available. I began to worry what I would find inside. My worries were well-founded and the following picture is one I took:

This may have been the building I remembered but where were the people? Where were the stores? Instead of a mall it looked like a prison with all the metal gates down on the empty stores. I was horrified.

I'm sure everyone has that place from their childhood that is no longer there be it a corner store or a cinema. Time changes, places change, but the ability to accept this varies in people. I was brought to tears at the emptiness of a place that I have so many memories at.

In a way now my memories are tainted as I will remember the people at the mall, but instead of remembering a lively mall with the typical healthy economy atmosphere I will remember a place that is well out of place. There is no avoiding change and change seems to effect us on the spectrum more so. The thing to remember about this is that it can be changes in places like a mall. I have written about this mall as if it were alive, but in all reality it is just a building that opened in 1967. To me though, as with all places I visit, it is the ties between what is and what was. I have always had a challenge when places close or get torn down because in a way the memories there get closed or torn down too. Sure, the memories are still there, but instead of being memories that are experienced in video form in 3D they sort of get filed into an encyclopedia in my mind that simply states that "memory happened".

What will the future hold for Crestwood Plaza, now known as Crestwood Court? I don't know officially, but from my phone's picture it doesn't look good. I don't know what happened to it, or where the stores went, nor do I care really because the only thing I know is it happened. In a way it feels if all that enthusiasm I felt as an awe-struck 10 year old back in 1993 is gone. The place that helped bridge the move, which was a big deal, is being lost to time. It may not be alive, but it feels as if I have lost a relative that always made me feel at ease.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Wanting Balance

 I truly don't like this but when this train of thought gets a rolling it seems there isn't all much I can do. 


Right now I am in full awe of how others make life look so easy. What I mean by that is how others makes the simple art of conversation easy. How do they simply go up and talk to another? When I have to do this the surge of fear is off the scale. And yet others can go up and speak as if it's nothing because, well, chances are it is to them.

I'm in that pit right now of just seeing what I am not. This is the trickiest and worst pit to be in because when one sees what they aren't they will forget who they are. This is where I am at and when in a pit like this everything, and I mean everything, becomes worse than it is. 

This isn't the first time I have written about this over the course of my blog and maybe this is a one every three month experience but right now it seems worse and I'm not sure why. The only moments of respite have been the moments I've had a flag in hand or have been giving a presentation. I am in the midst of showing how Asperger Syndrome can pop up in everyday life and this is where; balance is a hard thing to find. I live in an all or nothing system and in those moments of presenting and flagging I am putting everything I am into it. As soon as it is over though it is like I never did it. Whatever is now is the only thing that matters and if I'm not doing it now it means it was like it never was. 

Okay, read that last sentence above one more time. Have you read it again? I've talked to several other people on the spectrum that share this and this is one of the big hurdles to finding that balance. What's balance? Right now I'm seeing what I am not and I yearn for the ability to simply converse with ease and maybe even have a social life. Since this is the now this means everything else is irrelevant as it doesn't exist. What this means is that there is no balance; everything is to the extreme end of the scale. I'm either fully engrossed in the activity I am in and perhaps even hyper-focusing to the point that I don't realize I'm actually enjoying myself or I am fully down on myself and the inabilities I have.

The lack of balance is frustrating to say the least and as I write this I'd give almost anything to experience the normality that I witness. Those around me might say that I do a fine enough job as is but trust me when I say everything I do is thought out a dozen times and it is forced with a high level of anxiety. This alone causes so much exhaustion as I simply can't "be" in a social setting.

Friday, August 5, 2022

The Thoughts

Someone asked me about social anxiety recently and the thoughts that surround it. This sort of goes with last week’s post regarding the desire to not let anyone see the way autism plays out in my life. So, here’s the thoughts that come about in a random social encounter…

I struggle with initial interactions. I’m never the one to say hello first, or ask how someone is doing. Why is this? It’s the process of these thoughts, “where are they looking? I’m not sure, but not at me. Don’t look. Don’t look. Okay, are they mad at something? Can’t tell, but if I ask them something they might get mad at me. Really? Hard to say, but it’s a risk. Okay, play it safe. Avoid interaction. It’s the only way to guarantee safety.”

Those are the initial fears and thoughts that come about at every interaction. And yes, it’s that extreme. I fear that, if I introduce, wave, or say hello to a person the outcome will always be anger. Why would I want to make someone angry? Since I don’t want to, this means that all social encounters will always have to be initiated by another person. I do know that this makes it appear as if I’m uninterested in others, but it’s the fear of making people angry that lends itself to avoidance. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Humor by Visualization


Yesterday, I was reminded of the time I laughed over the Taco Bell incident from 11 years ago, so I just have to tell you it  

I have laughed before, and I have laughed until I have cried, but in all my experiences with laughter I may never have had an episode of such intense laughter as I did in the wee hours of a Sunday morning.


I don't find many things all that funny. What other people call comedy I call words. However, when something does find that sweet spot of humor I end up laughing in what could only be called a fit of laughter. Then, instead of the moment passing, my mind maintains that point of maximum humor for what seems to be longer than other people. This always got strange looks when I was in school.

So, in the hours after midnight on a Sunday morning I was in the midst of what I think was a NHL 11 game on the Xbox. There were three other people on the team and we had been playing for many hours. During an intensely close game a random fact popped into my head. I am a resource of useless knowledge and when a random fact like this one pops into my mind I have to ask the question. The question at hand was, "Why is Taco Bell called Taco Bell?" What came next was nothing short of pure hysteria.

At first there was silence. Maybe it was because the other team had the puck in our zone, or maybe no one knew the answer. Then, right before I was going to give the answer, Rob, the friend from Vancouver, gave the humorous answer, "Maybe it's because when you want a taco you ring the bell." I lost it.

When I say I lost it I was at the point where breathing is difficult. I have no idea how I didn't wake anyone up in the house, much less the neighborhood because I was laughing harder than should be allowed by law. I don't know if anyone else found the line as funny as I did, but when he said the line I visually saw people lined up wanting tacos ringing a bell. 

In the midst of my laughing storm Rob made it worse by saying, "And you ring twice if you want extra salsa!" If I hadn't already totally lost it I was now a lost cause. As I said, it was a close game, and my eyes had so many tears in it I could not see. Oxygen was quickly being used up and breathing wasn't easy as well. My virtual, if he could think for himself, had to be thinking as to why he was constantly skating into the boards miles away from the play. 

Thankfully the play on the game was stopped due to some reason or another and we were able to pause the game. The laughter still was as strong as it could be and I kept seeing people ringing bells. Why was this funny? I'm not sure, but trust me when I tell you that writing this right now is tempting me to go back into that rage of laughter.

As I said, this type of laughter is something I have experienced before, and when it happens there is no simple off switch. Very rarely will a traditional stand-up act make me laugh, but I have been known to lose it to sarcasm, irony, or most of all visual concepts because I can truly see it as if it were real. Once that happens it's all over except from the pains in the stomach from laughing to hard.

After about five minutes I regained my composure just enough, and in a voice that I think stressed just how worn out I was from laughing I said, "It's Taco Bell because the guy who started it was named Glen Bell... but if you want a taco you ring the bell!" and I lost it again.