Maintaining Focus and Hope in the Odd Couple Wars

Author Lisa Yee is so cool. Plus she has a smile that lights up a room. Forget Julia Roberts. If my fairy godmother would just show herself to me, I’d ask for Lisa Yee’s joyful smile and humor. Which leads me to Lisa Yee’s funny post. This just had me laughing. After Lisa announces the Anonymous Grand Prize Winner of her Bodacious Book Title Contest, she writes about her new theory on couples:

In coupledom, one person is always way more squeamisher than the other. So
I took a semi-scientific survey and asked around. And yup, sure enough,
generally there is one person who has no problem watching the surgery channel
while eating dinner, and another who will nearly pass out if you say, “look how
far back I can bend my finger.”Which one are you?

When I was a teenager, I was often amused by the antics of Felix and Oscar in the TV show, The Odd Couple. Felix is the loveable fussy neatnik and Oscar, the rough around the edges messy slob with a heart of gold. Two people, so different. Learning to tolerate each other and their differences, sometimes not so well, but with lots and lots of compromise.

Compromise. Webster’s definition: 1 a : settlement of differences by arbitration
or by consent reached by mutual concessions b : something intermediate between
or blending qualities of two different things2 : a concession to something
derogatory or prejudicial

Compromise. Something few of us really want to do, because let’s face it. That inner child in us just makes us want to have our own way. It makes us want to scream, connive, whine, manipulate, and sometimes torture others simply so they can see things our way. If the situation is really big, thinking about compromise makes us plain uncomfortable as we think about what it is we need to give up of our own beliefs to satisfy the other person. It makes us wonder whether it is worth losing ourselves in the process of compromise or if we should just fight to the end. Thankfully, there are situations out there, where it’s easy to be gracious and concede, making the other person think you’re just one swell person.

I find all this quite interesting, as I focus, contemplate and gather my words to describe a conflict in my book. How will the characters’ differences influence a given situation? Will they work it out or make it a total chaotic mess? Will it create a situation where everyone hates each other and suffers in total despair? Or will it create something special, where the characters learn to dance together with a gracious give and take, giving each other some hope that their differences are accepted, tolerated and understood? Something to think about as I’m writing.

And in case you’re wondering, I’m the one who was always first in line to dissect all those formaldehyde scented victims in science class. And I’m the Oscar. My husband, who could be Felix’s twin, heads for the nearest exit whenever there is blood and gore. Except when it absolutely counts…like when I was throwing up my guts after drinking way to many margaritas when we first started dating and most especially, for the birth of our children. My husband intently watched each dramatic birth of our little ones. Despite all the blood, gore, interesting sights and Ripley’s Believe it or Not scenarios. He saw it ALL and survived. Good man.

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