Opposites Attract

In a previous post, I gave a number of examples of polar opposites, like right and wrong or day and night. My blogger friend Jim, in a reply to that post, asked, “Why are people usually attracted to their opposite, the one who is totally different from or the reverse of themselves?”

My snide response to Jim was, “I don’t know, but that may be why the divorce rate is so high.”

That got me wondering if there was any validity to my off-the-cuff comment about the divorce rate being in any way related to people being initially attracted to their opposites, so I did some digging.

The United States has the highest divorce rate in the world, with roughly 45% of marriages expected to end through divorce. The good news, though, is that the overall divorce rate in this country has decreased slightly since its peak in the 1980s.

In fact, in 2017 the U.S. divorce rate has dropped for the third year in a row, reaching its lowest point in nearly 40 years.

Infidelity, money issues, lack of communications, and lack of physical intimacy are generally cited as the most frequent reasons for getting divorced.

I found it interesting, though, especially for a Baby Boomer like me, that while divorce has been studied extensively among younger adults, the research to-date has essentially ignored divorce that occurs to adults aged 50 and older.

Gray Divorce

According to the Pew Research Center, in contrast to the dropping overall divorce rates, the divorce rate among those 50 and older has increased substantially in recent years. And among those ages 65 and older, the divorce rate has roughly tripled since 1990. Divorce within this group of older Americans is sometimes referred to as “gray divorce.”

Among the top reasons for divorce by Baby Boomers is irreconcilable differences.

So perhaps people are, indeed, attracted to their opposites and may even end up marrying them. But it’s also possible that, as people age, their opposites grow less and less attractive.

And that might explain why the divorce rate for those over fifty is increasing while the overall divorce rate is going down.

Maybe, for older married couples, there is some truth to that saying that familiarity breeds contempt.

Either/Or

IMG_2530

Awake or asleep
Friend or enemy
Entrance or exit
Yes or no
Good or bad
win or lose
Day or night
Dark or light
Stop or go
Red or Green
High or low
Clean or dirty
Walk or run
Walk or don’t walk
Fact or fiction
Stay or leave
Up or down
Left or right
Republican or Democrat
Wet or dry
Fresh or stale
Liberal or conservative
Black or white
Simple or hard
Hard or soft
New or old
This or that
Cold or hot
Give or take
Right or wrong
Heaven or hell
Freedom or imprisonment
Live or die
Love or hate
Aware or in a trance

It doesn’t have to be this way. Life is a continuum, not something to be lived at one extreme or the other. It’s not a zero sum game where, in order for one to win, the other must lose.

It doesn’t have to be “either/or.”


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “trance.”

Ignorance and Apathy

IMG_2529

I walked in a few minutes after the first speaker at the conference started making his presentation. I found an empty seat near the back of the large meeting room and worked my way over to that seat and sat next to a guy who was busy texting on his smartphone.

“What’s the speaker discussing?” I whispered to the guy.

“He’s talking about ignorance and apathy,” he responded, without looking up as he continued his texting.

“Did I miss anything important?” I asked.

The guy, clearly annoyed, finally stopped texting, turned his head toward me, and said, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Okay, you got me. That was a joke. But with everything that is going on these days, ignorance and apathy are serious concerns.

Ignorance is the lack of knowledge or understanding, whereas apathy is the state of indifference due to a lack of interest or an emotional connection.

Ignorance either exists in a person or it doesn’t. Once a person becomes educated about a topic, the state of ignorance on that topic is gone. It’s generally understood that an ignorant person would do something different if he or she knew better.

Apathy, on the other hand, is more a state of mind that comes and goes with inclination and emotion. Thus, even with an increase in knowledge, an apathetic person may continue to exhibit indifference.

“Ay, there’s the rub,” as the bard would say. Author J.K. Rowling once stated, “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright ignorance.”

I believe that it’s more difficult to overcome apathy than ignorance. You can educate someone about a topic, but you can’t make that person care about it. That must come from within.

I am concerned that apathy may be the largest problem we face in our society today. Apathy fuels a number of social, political, economic, and environmental challenges that confront us.

If we are to preserve our way of life, we need to figure out how to get people to give a shit.

#SoCS — Pant-Pant-Blow

IMG_2525

The first time my wife got pregnant we were advised by her OB/GYN to enroll in a Lamaze class. These classes teach young couples how to prepare for childbirth and, more importantly, how to make it through labor and delivery.

One of the key learnings from the Lamaze class was how to breathe. Naturally, this lesson was intended for the soon-to-be mother to learn breathing techniques during labor. But the husband had a role as well. He was to be her coach, and as such, he, too, needed to learn the proper breathing techniques in order to help his wife manage the trauma of labor and delivery.

One such breathing technique is referred to as “pant-pant-blow.”

Our Lamaze instructor told my wife that as her contractions became more intense, she should exhale in a pant-pant-blow pattern. She needed to take a deep breath in through your nose when her contraction started and then exhale in two short pants followed by one longer blow. That breathing in and panting out should take about 10 seconds and should be repeated until the contraction stops.

Well, one night my wife’s water broke and we headed to the hospital. She got settled in her room in the maternity ward, where, in my role as her coach, I was by her side.

I was armed with a large cup of shaved ice in case her mouth got dry. I had a small, brown paper bag for her to breathe into should she start to hyperventilate or feel dizzy while doing the breathing exercises we’d learned.

Things were moving along, albeit slowly. She was only about five centimeters dilated after about six hours and her contractions to that point had been fairly mild. So her doctor decided to give her Pitocin to speed things up.

It worked. Within an hour her contractions started coming fast and furious and that’s when she really needed my help. I was there for her, holding her hand, mopping her brow, and pant-pant-blowing right along with her.

Between contractions, I was dropping pinches of shaved ice into her mouth like a mother bird feeding her chicks.

And then the wheels came off the bus. My poor wife was in the middle of an intense contraction and we were pant-pant-blowing together. The next thing I remember was waking up in the other bed in my wife’s hospital room. I had a major headache and a bandage on my forehead.

I must have been a little too exuberant in my pant-pant-blow technique. I somehow managed to black out and, on my way to the floor, I knocked my head on the metal railing of her hospital bed.

Fortunately I was revived just before they wheeled my wife to the delivery room. Still, I was mortified by my failure as her labor coach.

To this day, though, I tell my daughter, who was born that night, that being there for her birth really knocked me out!


Written for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill. The challenge was to write a post around the word “pant,” just in case you couldn’t tell.

Solitary Man

IMG_2524

I’ve written several posts lately that are based upon songs I’d grown up with. When I saw today’s one-word prompt, “solitary,” I was reminded of yet another such song, Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.” The refrain of that song goes:

Don’t know that I will but until I can find me
A girl who’ll stay and won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man

I didn’t get married until I was 32, which, back in the day, was considered to be old.

But then I met a girl who I knew would stay and not play games behind me. We married. I am no longer a solitary man.

Fountain of Sorrow

Jack was looking through some photographs he found inside his bureau drawer. He was particularly taken by a grainy photo of his ex-wife, Melody.

There were others that she would have liked a little more, but they didn’t show her spirit quite as true. She was turning around to see who was behind her, and he took her by surprise. But at the moment that his camera happened to find her, there was just a trace of sorrow in her eyes.

The things that Jack remembered seemed so distant and so small, though it hadn’t really been that long a time. He realized that what he was seeing wasn’t what was happening at all, although for a while, their path together did seem to climb.

When you see through love’s illusion, Jack thought, there lies the danger. The person you thought to be your perfect lover looks like the perfect fool, so you go running off in search of a perfect stranger. And in doing so, you destroy what is nearest and dearest to you.

Jack felt that he and Melody were so close to reaching their dreams. But that magic feeling between the two of them just didn’t seem to last. So while the future’s there for anyone to change, Jack wished there was some way he could change the past.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “grainy.” This story was inspired by the Jackson Browne song, “Fountain of Sorrow.”

Recurring Dreams

Recurring dreams are those that we experience repeatedly over a long period. According to Google, most people have recurring dreams. Do you?

I do, although they’re far less frequent now that I’m an old fart than they were when I was younger fart. I’ve experienced three different recurring dreams throughout my life.

Recurring Dream #1 – The Final Exam

final exam schedule

It takes place when I was in college, which I’ve been out of for decades. But even today I occasionally have a dream about being ill-prepared for a final exam. It generally goes like this.

Today is the day of a final exam for one of my courses. I had cut most of the classes for this course and hadn’t done any of the required reading. It had been so long since I last attended class that I couldn’t remember the location of the classroom.

I finally arrive at the room where the class was scheduled to meet, but no one is there. I find out that the exam has moved to a different location, but I don’t know where.

I am in a state of panic because I need a passing grade in this particular course in order to graduate, but not only am I totally unprepared to take the final exam, I don’t even know where it is being given.

I wake up from the dream never having found the exam room or taken the exam, but knowing that the outcome was an epic failure. I am drenched in sweat because of the dream, but as consciousness slowly sets in, I feel an enormous sense of relief that it was just a dream.

Recurring Dream #2 – The Naked Truth

dreams_naked

This next recurring dream starts out when I leave my house in the morning heading to the office. I’m stark naked. At first it seems completely natural and I’m not at all self-conscious about having nothing on.

But at some point in the dream, as I interact with others, I become painfully aware that I am naked. It’s an “oh shit, what the hell was I thinking?” moment. I spend the rest of the dream completely mortified, trying to figure out how to cover up my nakedness or to flee the scene entirely with some shred of dignity intact.

As with the dream about the final exam, when I wake up, I am so relieved to find out that I was only dreaming.

Recurring Dream #3 –I’m flying

flying dream

In this recurring dream, I can fly. I start walking, lift my arms toward the sky, and suddenly I’m heading up, floating above the ground, rising above the trees, looking down at the landscape below. It’s exhilarating to be free from the tethers that bind me to the earth below.

I have no idea how I gained this incredible ability to fly, and while I’m up there savoring the experience, I am occasionally troubled by what might happen if this amazing gift of flight were to leave as suddenly and mysteriously as it appeared. But it never does, and, when I wake up, I am saddened that it was but a dream.

Okay. I’ve shared with you my three types of recurring dreams. Now it’s your turn.

Tell Dr. Fandango all about your recurring dreams.