I honestly can’t figure it out:
Karl is eerily reminiscent of what was historically described as an “idiot savant”:
Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with a developmental difference demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal. People with savant syndrome may have neurodevelopmental disorders, notably autism spectrum disorders, or brain injuries. The most dramatic examples of savant syndrome occur in individuals who score very low on IQ tests, while demonstrating exceptional skills or brilliance in specific areas, such as rapid calculation, art, memory, or musical ability. Although termed a syndrome, it is not recognized as a mental disorder nor as part of a mental disorder in medical manuals such as the ICD-10 or the DSM-5.
Now, Karl is definitely not a “savant”. His situation is both far less impressive, and far more pathetic:
Imagine someone with fair — but by no means exceptional — skill with electronics and computers, exhibited by someone who is both abysmally gullible, and arrogant almost to the point of self-parody.
The particularly amusing thing is: his attempts to rationalize the fact that he is a compulsive hoarder on the grounds that the aforementioned horde will eventually comprise the holdings of a “computer museum”.
Karl believes that the fact that he managed to stumble through a 2 year “degree” at Pennsylvania college of technology 20+ years ago demonstrates that he is “capable of so much more” than whatever he happens to be doing at any given time. (Considering that he is frequently fired by his employers (frequently via the pretense that they are “down-sizing”, or that it is a mere “layoff”), this claim strikes me as untested at best, and most likely unwarranted, in any case.
His two romantic “relationships” have consisted of: one woman who later claimed to have enjoyed her time in the mental hospital more than her time living with Karl, and another woman who initially tended to berate him on a regular basis over the fact that he appeared to value the myriad storage-units full of Digi-scrap more than their relationship, and THEN proceeded to — ruthlessly and methodically — bilk him out of vast amounts of money and gifts while living with another guy.
I honestly don’t know why I bother to talk to him — maybe because it genuinely appears that nobody else does so?
It is telling (to say the least), that he tends to call me, whenever he is lurking about at the laundromat, bored. (Most likely lonely, as well.)
He appears to have systematically alienated every other “friend” he ever had — as well as managing to destroy both romantic relationships.
Eventually, I genuinely see him as either deep-throating his own AR-15 out of despair, or deciding to “water the tree of liberty” with the blood of some hapless cop who pulls his rickety shit-bucket of a jeep over, for what would otherwise be a routine traffic-stop.