The Stories We Tell: A Narwhal Amongst Belugas

Taking a quick break to come up the surface from working on the book project (read, procrastinating and taking a bit of control to write what I want to write about today). But I’m 80% done with the first draft of the manuscript. Almost there. Or rather, it feels like so close, yet so far away. More updates to come in the near future.

Minor spoilers for Extraordinary Attorney Woo ahead.

We recently wrapped up the Kdrama Extraordinary Attorney Woo and what a ride it was.
The drama has done great in Korea, being the most viewed and highest rated drama that ENA (the company that produced EAW) has ever put out.

That’s 3 Korean dramas that I’ve seen that had characters on the autism spectrum: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay; Move to Heaven and now EAW.
All three were — for a lack of a better word — fairly stereotypical portrayal of people on the autism spectrum — except EAW featured a female on the spectrum.
If I recall correctly, both the male characters display emotional intelligence, but Woo Young-woo (the character’s name in EAW) was a savant with emotional intelligence.

Anyway, the point is, it’s great to see Korea’s media portraying people on the ASD as human beings.

Of course, any time a character with ASD comes on, I can’t help but think of my boy.
Not in a compare/contrast type of deal — but like, “Will he have to face things like this?”
“How would he respond to a similar situation?”

In the last episode Young-woo gives a speech to the managing partner of a rival law firm.
From the get-go, it was established that Young-woo is obsessed with whales and knows more about whales than I know about anything else.

Renowned professor Jae-Chun Choe stated that it’s possible that the character Young-woo was drawn to whales because whales are one of the few species that takes of those who are disabled in their pods. Most species would leave the “weakest” behind — after all, the wild is survival of the fittest. But Dr. Choe said that whales take care of one another. For instance, if a whale becomes unconscious while trying to resurface because it’s too weak; injured; tired, whatever — the other whales will put that whale on their backs and help it resurface.

As the lawyer of the rival firm is describing how everything must be so difficult for Young-woo at work, Young-woo mentions narwhals and explains that, in a documentary, she saw a narwhal living with Belugas. Then she goes on to say:

I live in an unfamiliar ocean with unfamiliar belugas. Because everyone is different from me, it’s not easy to adjust and there are lots of whales who hate me too. But it’s okay. Because this is my life. Though my life is unusual and peculiar, it’s valuable and beautiful.

That last sentence…
It really made me think of my boy.
And I hope that no matter what he may experience, that he’ll always know that his life is valuable and beautiful.

Here’s a picture of a narwhal that was adopted by belugas:

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