Good Narrative Principles

Jack Sprat and the Mrs.


The joke that Barry and Linda use to describe their marriage is like that of Jack Sprat and his nameless wife. Not in terms of fat vs. lean, they’re both too educated to lick fat, but in nearly every other way, the two are polar opposites. Linda loves numbers. When they go out to eat, which is easily five nights a week, Linda scans the right hand column first, narrowing her dinner options based on price. Barry, on the other hand, savors the descriptions. The more succulent adjectives employed, the happier he is. On the way home from a party, Linda critiques the host’s taste in furniture and lighting, while Barry zeroes in on the guests. After twenty-five years of marriage, Linda no longer bristles when Barry does something unexpected like order a cute yellow lab puppy on-line. And Barry, tries not to dive too deeply into the warm bread basket while Linda goes on about the challenges of addressing and languaging the problem of whatever. Barry and Linda are for the most part content, save for the winter when the question of who controls the thermostat is settled only when one of them depletes their fine collection of crockery by flinging it at the other.

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