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.

A Heel of a President

Our brilliant president tweeted this yesterday:

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Did you notice his spelling error? I guess POTUS-45 didn’t. And autocorrect didn’t catch it because “heel” is a real word, just not the right word, as the good folks at Merriam-Webster pointed out in this tweet less than 30 minutes later:

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Trump’s “heel” tweet has to be one of his best tweets since his infamous “covfefe” tweet and it illustrates just what the semi-literate man who is the leader of the free world really is: a contemptible person.


(Trump deleted his original tweet with the incorrect spelling and later retweeted it with the correct spelling, although it did take him two attempts to get it right.)

Either/Or

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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

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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.

Mumbo Jumbo

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When I was in elementary school many, many years ago, there was a daily morning ritual. We’d stand up, put our hands over our hearts, and recite the Pledge of Allegience. Then we’d bow our heads and recite The Lord’s Prayer.

Given that I was a “go along to get along” kid at the time, I did what every other kid in the class did. I recited these by rote, not really understanding or even caring about the meaning of the words I was reciting. It was just something we were required to do.

It didn’t take me too long to grasp the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, but I had a harder time with The Lord’s Prayer, especially once I started paying attention to the words.

My father’s name was Alan, not Art. So who was Art and why was he living in heaven? And why did they hollow out his name? And what will would he be doing until it was done?

What was so special about having bread every day? As far as trespassing, my mother had taught me to not go on the lawn of the crotchety old man who lived next door, but why would he be trespassing on our lawn?

One night at dinner I finally decided to ask my parents to explain The Lord’s Prayer to me. Ours was not a particularly religious family. My father never went to church and my mother went only sporadically. When I asked the question, my father said, “It’s just a bunch of religious mumbo jumbo.”

My mother explained that it’s a prayer to God, but she said that if I didn’t want to recite it every morning, I didn’t have to. I could just stand there, head bowed, and be silent. “Use that time to reflect,” she said.

The next morning, I was sent to the principal’s office after telling my teacher that I wasn’t going to recite religious mumbo jumbo anymore. I received a week of after school detention for that indiscretion.

Perhaps that incident contributed to my becoming an atheist.


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

#SoCS — Pant-Pant-Blow

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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.

Man Purses or “Murses”

IMG_2523Last week I wrote a post called Manscaping, which discussed male grooming habits. Becoming hairless is apparently quite the fashion trend in the U.S. these days. I don’t know if this is actually true, but I heard from a reliable source (Jimmy Kimmel) that 76% of American adults have removed most of their body hair below the neck. I’m one of the 24% who does not. And I happen to have a significant volume of body hair below my neck.

Anyway, a blogger, “Busy Mom,” commented on that post, I would love to hear your thoughts on the “murse” or should I say, “man purse.” I told Busy Mom that I’m not a fan of man purses and that I would gladly pick up the gauntlet she threw down.

And so I started crafting a post explaining why I don’t like man purses. Or, for that matter, fanny packs. But I was having trouble getting things rolling. I was struggling to find the right words to describe what it is that I don’t like about man purses.

And that’s when it occurred to me that no one really cares whether I am or am not a fan of the “murse.” It’s just a personal opinion, an individual preference. I don’t possess any special knowledge or insights beyond knowing what I like and what I don’t like.

Besides, I am a “live and let live” kind of a guy. You do your thing and I’ll do mine. As long as you’re not hurting yourself or anyone around you, or are attempting to impose your will upon others, I’m fine. So if you’re the kind of man who is comfortable wearing a man purse, hey, whatever floats your boat, right?

Furthermore, I’m not an expert in men’s fashion accessories. Not even close. In fact, given my preference for comfort over style, I may be the least qualified person to discuss that topic. Hell, if I could, I’d wear my soft, comfy pajamas 24/7.

So with these caveats noted, I have decided to not proceed with writing a post explaining that men who carry man purses look pompous and prissy or that men who wear fanny packs, particularly in front — where they should be called “belly packs” — look ridiculous.

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