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1:44 p.m. - October 25, 2005
Relationship Trouble? It May be Due to This Stuff
Many of you all reading this already have significant others, and hopefully that relationship with that man / woman / person of unknown origin is going well.

But if there’s trouble in paradise, then there may be some compatibility issues, not based on any personal chemistry, but on your likes, dislikes and tastes.

Now I’m not talking about such minor trifles like Democrat vs. Republican, Liberal vs. Conservative, Jew vs. Moslem vs. Hindu vs. Catholic vs. Protestant vs. Druid vs. Wiccan vs. Unitarian (motto: hey, believe in us, we’re cool) vs. Agnostic vs. (well, you get the idea…), or even which news channel you watch (CNN vs. MSNBC vs. Rupert’s Network of Satan).

I’m talking about things that are REALLY important. There are choices that REALLY matter in a relationship, and by gum I’m going to tell you about some of them. Because you need to know where you stand on these items with your spouse / life mate / snuggledaemon if you are going to make the relationship work.

So make sure you know the answer to these conundrums and compare and contrast. It may save you some legal fees, headaches, heartaches, and backaches (call it a cheaper version of Doan’s pills (wow, old school callback there, eh? (Stop patting yourself on the back you pop-culture vulture))).

Letterman vs. Leno - Rare is the person who is a fan of both shows. There are Letterman people and the Leno people. Personally, I think the Letterman people are cool, edgy, smart, hip, and righteous, but that may just be the Hoosier in me.

Sometimes the only time one can spend together is while watching late night TV, so it’s quite important that the two of you agree on this topic. Nothing is worse than a Letterman person forced to watch Leno and wondering where the funny is.

Oh, sure, you can opt for Nightline, if you wish, perhaps even Charlie Rose. But eventually, the choice between Letterman and Leno will be before you, and you both must choose wisely. I mean, it’s so much better to wager on “Will It Float” with someone you love, instead of having to call a bookie to take action on it.

Pudding: Skin or no skin - This is not about store-bought pudding. This is about the pudding that you make yourself (yes, you can do that – those little boxes from Jello that used to cause Bill Cosby to mug furiously on camera with those hideous sweaters).

When you make your own pudding, you obviously have to let it cool. Eventually, a layer forms on top of the pudding, and that’s the pudding skin.


Liz and I disagree on pudding skin, and yes this has caused strain in our marriage, because we are forced to now by Snack Pack or Swiss Miss, and that really isn’t the ultimate in pudding experience. We want Katie and Kristin to know where pudding really comes from – in a small little box in the baking aisle. But I’m pro-skin and Liz is anti-skin. We found out about this too late. (We have considered counseling for this issue).

You really need to find this out, quickly.

David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar - I would think that all right-minded people already have this debate settled in their heads. However, I still run into people who insist that the schlub who meweled about not being able to drive the speed limit, and who gave us the nonsense that is “Three Lock Box” is actually superior in leading a (once) kick-bootay rock-and-roll band that the original, flamboyant, party animal that is David Lee Roth.

You cannot be serious.

Van Hagar (with Sammy Headache) is a mere trifle. For one, the sound became wimpier. For two, the lyrics went from sublimely ridiculous to just ridiculous (“Only time will tell if we stand the test of time?” What??). For three, while some of this could be pinned on Eddie Van Halen falling in love with Barbara Cooper (look it up…), clearly the Hagarian influences of suckitude are also at work.

Studies have shown that this could be the leading cause in breakups amongst couples who want to rock.

If you meet a pro-Hagar person, run away, run away quickly. If you ARE a pro-Hagar person, seek help immediately.

Face it, I’d rather have Schneider singing lead for Van Halen than that guy.

McDonald’s vs. The Field - The dynamic of this changes a bit with small children, however, when you first meet someone, the place they choose to gain their fast food nourishment is quite telling.

If this person is a McDonald’s person, then most likely they are conformists who are not capable of much independent or creative thinking. They just go along to get along, and try to be like everyone else. This is evident when you try to order something special at McDonalds – say a quarter pounder with just cheese and ketchup. You may get your sandwich by the next mid-term election.

Those of us, who prefer Burger King, or Wendy’s, or even go off the board to Dairy Queen (mmmm…Brazier…whatever the hell that means…) show at least some independent thought. Some people, instead of going to a fast food chain, will get their RDA of grease and glop at an honest to goodness diner.

Those are rare breeds indeed.

So when it comes time to stop for sustenance, if the first thing they say is “McDonald’s” ask yourself – am I content with this choice? Is this my first choice as well? Or will I always be forced to sup and dine with Mayor McCheese and his minions when I could be enjoying the wares of the late Dave Thomas.

(For those with kids, this question should be taken off the board – we Americans now have a McDonald’s gene implanted in our children that doesn’t wear off until they are at least 13.)

Coffee additives - Back when I was single, and drank caffeine (I no longer do, as you read here, there was only one choice. Coffee was black, and strong. Sweetner? Pshaw. Whitener, forget it. If it wasn’t black coffee, you may as well be drinking milk.

Then I met the love of my life, and she had a strange coffee ritual. Basically, she poured 2/3 of a cup of coffee, filled the rest with milk, then re-heated the coffee, then drank it.

I was living with someone who basically drank half coffee, half milk.

Which was, I felt, an affront to coffee. I don’t think the people who grow it in the mountains want their product diluted. And what would Mrs. Olsen say?

Yes, I know you can get all kinds of permutations and combinations eight ways to Sunday at Starbucks. That’s one thing – because you don’t do all that frou-frou stuff in your house unless you have one of those fancy schmancy machines.

This is coffee that you make with your own Mr. Coffee. It’s real coffee.

Liz and I worked around this one – I get to mock her coffee habits once a quarter and she agrees not to bonk me in the head when I do it. So we have a coffee détente. Ask yourself if you want to go through life having to deal with an agreement like that.

Vacations – air vs. car - I travel sometimes up to five times a year on business. In my last job, I used to travel more, but thankfully I only go away to conferences and meetings now.

But I’ve flown enough for work that I have fear and loathing of airports.

So if I am planning the vacation, I’m planning it so we can drive there. We’ll have enough time to see the sights along the highway – get to where we’re going – and drive back leisurely. And in the case of a long trip, we’ll be sure to have enough time. Thank goodness for lengthy vacation leave!

However, if Liz plans a vacation, inevitably she wants to fly there. She wants to get there and stay there. That means that instead of driving to Arizona, spending three days with the in-laws and driving back, I’m now subjected to a whole week with them.

Pass the Tums, please.

Liz and I have worked out a compromise, though, and the last vacation we took we flew to Wichita to drop Katie off at Snow White’s house, then we drove to Durango, Colorado, and spent some great times in the mountains of Colorado.

However, for long term sanity – do you want to spend your vacations on the open road, seeing the beauty and majesty of this country – or do you want to spend your vacation in line and waiting around?

As you see, I’ve already made my choices, and we’re dealing with the consequences. So, for your sake, ask these questions in advance! Otherwise, you may wake up one day and wonder, “Why the hell am I eating McDonalds at night watching Leno and listening to OU812? That’s not me!”


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