combined effort

A few nights ago I suggested to The Suitor that we play a board game.  After searching under the bed and various closets for Monopoly to no avail, we agreed to collaborate on a writing excercise for the blog.  He would write a line and I would counter.  Where it went was anyone’s guess.  Funny, I originally posted this without an explanation. Below is the fruits of our labor:

Some of the smartest people I know seem to do the dumbest things.  Like watch "The Best Man" when they could be in bed with candles and nail polish and Joshua Kadison singing about painting toenails red.  But that’s cliché and who wants to be cliché?  Dumb people, and I have to admit, Joshua Kadison at my age is right up there in the dumb league.

So we sit like Ozzie and Harriet on the sofa imagining what effect the fumes of "bordello red" nail polish would have on our motor skills.  Except I’ve only heard of Ozzie & Harriet, know it’s TV, but that’s all.  Conversations between a younger woman and an older man typically go like this.  I love older men for their sense, or apparent sense, of being settled, of knowing who they are, for their gray hair and realization that they are ready for more in their lives.  They see in younger women the potential, the optimism of a future.  I told you, dumb people.  Maybe dumb people make the best partners.  I’m hoping for more than maybe. Perhaps what we see as a deficiency of the the dumb & dumber is rather an innocence, the ability to just "be in the moment" without too much analysis.  Ignorance is bliss?  Nah, it’s not ignorance ‘cause ignorance goes more with stupidity which isn’t what we’re talking about.  Wait, did I miss that memo; there’s a difference between dumb and stupid, now? Indeed there is, stupid.

Everything between us is a battle, my writing against you, like pinning you up against a wall just to be pushed down.  Collaboration is neither a battle nor a dance.  It’s together, here and now, but just for now, before we fall back into our roles of his and hers, of right and wrong, of yours and mine becoming ours.

The end brings anything but an ending, a new beginning, a continuation of something created with love.  I don’t know what that means; it sounds better written than ever said because once it’s said, it’s less real, in the air, floating and trying to find.  And the dumb get dumber…

I wish things weren’t so difficult, but I hope the wish doesn’t come true.  I can’t recall the first time I made a wish.  If I made one now, as much as I hate to admit it, it would be to be different than I am.  I don’t mean physically although we all know my history on that topic.  I wish I made things easier for him, that I wasn’t so hard, so emotional, so quick to judge or jump.  Funny thing (or sad depending on your perspective) is that my wish is within my grasp.  I also wish he wouldn’t do that, wouldn’t try to underscore (or hit me over the head with) change at each chance.  But that is not smart or dumb, just his way of finding a common happiness, in my unhappiness within myself.



  1. Everyone I know, to some degree, has regrets, myself included. I regret spending as much time I did with an ex who really represented the worst in people; not only was she selfish, obsessive-compulsive, alcoholic and the self-described victim of awful parenting, she was an unhappy, overly-driven creature. Having said that, however, while I regret all the time and energy I spent on her and her f*ed-up family, I can't imagine who I'd be or where I'd be if all the events and all the knowledge — however difficult or at the high price it might have come — wasn't absorbed as a result of my being with her.

    So the prospect of wasted time is sort of a misnomer (check the Eagles for more on this). We can't erase our past, a la "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," because a) it's not possible; b) we'd never make emotional progress if we erased each memory that ricocheted between our ears and our hearts; and c) we'd never know when, who, and how to appreciate how good we actually have it.

    Unhappiness and dissatisfaction aren't the same, and they also differ from progress. Sometimes they impede it and sometimes they foster it. But like they say, life isn't a destination, it's a journey, whether it's a battle or a cruise. I don't know too many who feel it's a cruise, but it's nice to, every once in awhile, kick back from the battle and enjoy a few moments of sunshine. Even if they're not eternal.

  2. I'm not gonna lie, last time I did something like this it [d]evolved into a story about a lewd & horny Little Red Riding Hood.

    But cheers for making efforts at "deep"-ness.

  3. Sundry-

    Boogie makes an excellent point. I've done some really stupid things when I was younger, as younger people are prone to do. But I cannot simply say I wish I hadn't what I did. I am where I am precisely because of my choices, and I am happy. If I un-did some of what I had done, it would have lead me down a different path, and not necessarily one to my liking.

    Snagged is right as well. Firends don't let friends blog drunk.

    Lastly, there were at least 11 references to some form of the word dumb. We're not all that much different in terms of intellect. And even given some discrepancies in terms of intellect, I don't think that being smarter is any more apt to make one happy. I probably know more 'dumb' people that are happy than I do 'smart' people that are happy.

    In any case, the constant reference to the word dumb comes across as condescending.

  4. Joey,

    Just wanted to point out that this writing excercise was the equivalent of "mad libs" where I wrote a sentence and Stephanie followed. Lighthearted and meaningless flow. Mostly "dumb" was used as comic relief. Taking anything written here as condescending is a bit strong. I initiated the "dumb" line(not Stephanie) and actually stated your point that "dumb" isn't necessarily bad.

    "Perhaps what we see as a deficiency of the dumb & dumber is rather an innocence, the ability to just "be in the moment" without too much analysis."

    I enjoyed this excercise and found out more about how we play off each other than anything else.

    Be well.

  5. Whew. I read it originally and thought: "Wow, this broad needs some meds. I think she's gone schizo." Now I understand that it is, in fact, an exercise is schizo.

  6. Chutes & Ladders and Candy Land are more my speed. Guess that's why I've been married to the same guy for 16 years! Ignorance can sometimes be bliss :)

    Love your blog, Stephanie.


  7. What a great way to spend an evening! Monopoly be damned, this is beyond fun. And insightful. Much better than acquiring nonexistent property.

    For a change of pace, try Boggle. A perennial fave for me and my former. Dirty Boggle is even better.

  8. Totally off subject…BUT….do you ever get any fat bald cyber stalkers who send you weird inviting emails and want to put your picture up on their website so they can…do Lord knows what?

    Just wondering :) :) :) :)

  9. Were you two laughing through this or what? I loved this! At one point, I was confused with who was who–but it didn't matter. This was one of your most entertaining blogs!

    And a man who can write—you got it made Steph!

    Question—what is the wish that is within your grasp? I'm assuming that The Suitor said that…

    Would love to know what that really meant. Hmmmmm….am I hearing wedding bells? Children?

    The best to you both!!! Great read!

  10. Great essay. Ultimately, it will boil down to chemistry. Thats the real measurement of compatability. If the chemistry is not there, it will never happen regardless how each side forces it.

  11. Put the joint writing down and go grab the polish….and pretend that you are in Bull Durham…..

    THEN write us a joint post and let's see the tone :-)


  12. My initial thoughts reading this before the explanation were to wonder how many people would jump all over you Stephanie, and also to wonder how many would consider this a brief moment in your life, as you have stated previously, and just take it for the drunk writing exercise it was stated to be. I loved it! It is really very cool and a nifty idea. I fear though, that my husband would resort to drunken debauchery and everything out of his face would be sexual in nature, were I to play the same game. Men and the every opportunity sorta thing. At any rate, it was really neat to share a glimpse into you and The Suitor. Very entertaining.

    Completely off topic though, if I may, I adore your photography and only wish I had a modicum of the talent. I wonder if you could recommend a good quality starter camera of the digital variety, as I am interested in taking some courses. Not that I hope to be able to one day do what you are capable of, but it would be nice to get some decent quality photos of my own little world without decapitation or otherwise slaughtering who/what ever I am taking pictures of. (Not really -that- bad, but you get the idea). Im thinking in the $500 range, pricewise. Thanks!

  13. Let's be clear here. I was drunkish. He was not drinking at all.

    DeannaBanana–I recommend any SLR you can afford. That's the only way to really do it. Google "Digital SLR" and take it from there. Hope that helps. I use a Nikon D100. The Suitor shoots with a Digital Canon SLR. We trade every now and again. It's nice to have both. It's also nice that he enjoys photography as much as I do.

  14. Wow. Well…I thought it was quite funny. And I find myself confused as to why some felt the need to jump all over you about it. Am I mistaken or is this not your blog and can you not write about anything you feel like? :-) Thanks for letting us read their hilariously immature and narrow-minded comments.

  15. The first time I read this post was before the explanation and I was pretty confused. Now it totally makes sense. I had fun trying to keep the writers straight. Well written and very nicely collaborated efforts.

  16. You guys have similar writing styles. It was amusing trying to guess who wrote what. And just so you know your blog is really bad for my procrastination habit. 2 whole years of archives to get through. This could keep me from doing anything productive for weeks.

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