Oscar Madison all day long

Published 6:57 pm Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I have already written about the New Year’s opportunities of “starting all over again.” I won’t write that again, but this time of the year does bring about a desire to do a few things that don’t come naturally, but seem to be good ideas. I try my best, but, sometimes doing those things that don’t come easily or spontaneously doesn’t last long. It’s like a New Year’s resolution that bites the dust pretty quickly.

For instance, I get a new calendar upon which I write. January of each year is the neatest of the months. By that I mean, my appointments or activities are written very legibly. I take the time to use my best penmanship. You can actually read what I write.

February is almost as good as January, but once March gets here a neat calendar is out of the question. By April, I have probably reverted to not even writing things down.

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I try to start each year as if I am Felix Unger, but, really, I’m Oscar Madison. What or who am I talking about?

Remember the television comedy The Odd Couple? It was the small screen adaptation of the movie by the same name, which was preceded by the Broadway play.

The Odd Couple was about two characters: Felix Unger and Oscar Madison. They were an odd couple because they were so different. Felix was a “neat-nik” and had to have everything in its place and as perfect as it could be. His wife had thrown him out because of his obsessive and compulsive behavior.

Oscar, on the other hand, would best be described as a slob. He was divorced, he gambled too much, drank too much, had a refrigerator that was full of spoiled food and, if anything had a place, it was out of it. His heart was soft, though, and when Felix was thrown out by his wife, Oscar gave him a home.

At the beginning of a New Year, I try to be Felix Unger. I look at the room that Donna Sue and I call an office and am reminded of one my mother’s plaintive cries, “This place looks like a pig sty!” Of course that was an exaggeration.

But, the office can get fairly messy; not in a pig sty-ish way, but messy and I want to clean it up. That’s usually a first week of January thing to do. It’s the same with closets. Wouldn’t it be nice if the shirts were all together, as with the pants and the suits?

And those boxes on the top shelf of the closet; the ones that haven’t been moved or reviewed since last January. Maybe they could be opened and the contents either thrown away or moved to another shelf in another room? That’s something that Felix Unger would do. I’m determined that this is the year when I turn into Felix.

The Bible asks a question in Jeremiah. “Can a leopard change its spots?” (13:23) Not really.

My pursuit of neatness usually lasts a day or two and I may accomplish some small thing, but the fact is I’m no Felix Unger. I’m Oscar Madison. I may not be a complete slob or have the Oscar Madision habits of drinking too much or gambling, but I’m pretty comfortable with letting the socks that I remove at the end of the day lay where they first hit.

No doubt, I’m Oscar. Which are you?