Opposite attraction works for nearly 50 years

Opposite attraction works for nearly 50 years By Bob Karolevitz They say that opposites attract. If it's so, it's worked for us for almost 50 years.

Actually I've never given it much thought, but when I think of it, there are a lot of things we do differently.

For instance, she squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle and not on the end like I do. When she gets done, the tube has an hour-glass shape as the paste goes both ways.

When she opens a cereal box, she tears the slot so the box won't stay shut. She also rips the plastic liner in her haste to get at the Wheaties. I like to take my time so that there are no ragged edges.

When I put a new roll of toilet paper on the dispenser, I like to have the sheets of tissue come over the top. I think she does it the opposite way just to aggravate me.

I have a fetish about putting stamps on an envelope. I want them straight, with a quarter of an inch down from the top and in from the right side. She just sticks them on crooked and willy nilly. She says the letters get there just the same.

Phyllis is a workaholic, doing things at double-time. I'm a half-speed guy. Even when we go walking together, she's always a couple steps ahead of me. It doesn't do much good to tell her to slow down.

She prioritizes jobs around the place based on what needs to be done. That's the practical way, of course, but I prefer doing stuff that's more fun. I suppose the grass in our lawn would be a foot high if she didn't order me to mow instead of hoeing my potatoes which I like to do.

She also wants to complete each chore before she starts on another one. I prefer to keep a lot of little tasks going. That way, if a project is never quite finished, I've got a good excuse when somebody finds fault with my work.

"I'm not done with it yet," I explain.

Phyllis doesn't understand why I straighten and save old nails. "You've got a can full of them which you never use," she says. "Why don't you just go to the store and buy the new silvery kind instead of hoarding all those rusty ones?"

Even though she's old enough to have at least hazy memories of the Dirty Thirties, she really isn't a Depression Kid like I am. I don't want to be caught short. That's why I save used nuts, bolts, washers and even things I can't identify. She wants me to throw away all my old paint cans, too.

She makes fun of me when I dry my hands one finger at a time � or the ten minutes it takes me to "make my nest" when I go to bed at night. That's why we have twin beds because I thrash around a lot before I get the covers just right.

When it comes to eating, Phyllis is more easy going. She doesn't mind if one food touches another. Me? I'm fussy.

She never ate in a military mess hall or a bivouac chow line where they throw diced beets and fruit cocktail on top of your mashed potatoes and lumpy gravy. Now I want separate dishes for my jellied cranberries and fruit salad, that's why.

Oh, there are lots of little eccentricities which we've learned to live with during almost half a century together. They've just added spice to our life instead of driving a wedge between us.

As the Frenchman says, "Vive la difference" � but I do wish that Phyllis would squeeze the toothpaste right.

© 2000 Robert F. Karolevitz

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