Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 7:49 pm | Partly Cloudy 55º


She Said, Z Said: Life in a Fun House Is a Happy Medium

It's a sad day when laughter isn't the best medicine

Z: I think I’m happier for your happy than I’m sad for your sad. How about you?

She: I’m definitely happier when I know what you’re talking about. Once more, en Inglés?

Z: There’s an article by Suzann Pileggi in Scientific American Mind this month about how couples handle good news.

She: Did her check accidentally get made out to me? Is that why this is supposed to make me happy?

Z: Unfortunately not. According to the article, “It turns out that how couples handle good news may matter even more to their relationship than their ability to support each other under difficult circumstances.”

She: So you’re saying ...?

Z: I’m the best husband in the universe, because when you’re happy, that makes me happy.

She: When the going gets tough, it doesn’t matter? It’s more important to be the life of the party?

Z: You have to admit, I handle your good news with great aplomb.

She: You do. In good times, you’re great. But what about the sad thing? Aren’t you sad when I’m sad? I’d like you to be a little more sad.

Z: Did you not read the article? It says that happy is all that matters. I’m the perfect mate.

She: I did read it and that’s not what the article says. It says that handling good news might be more important than bad news. It doesn’t discount how you handle life’s complications.

Z: We have scientific evidence that I’m the husband of the year, and you’re talking semantics.

She: I’m not saying that you’re completely tone deaf to my sad moments, but it wouldn’t kill you to be a little more sympathetic and a little less jokey. The bar is pretty low.

Z: My bad. From now on, I’m going to be the most sympathetic man ever. I see you.

She: In fact sometimes when you actually are being sympathetic I think you’re sarcastically mocking me — I’m just so used to it.

Z: Laughter is the best medicine. It says so, right in Reader’s Digest. More science.

She: Making fun of me for being bummed almost never makes me laugh.

Z: I’m not making fun of you; I’m making fun near you. And, I’m afraid I’m not very good at the sad thing. I try. I know that the half-dozen times I’ve cried in front of you were some of the best days of your life.

She: True. It’s very satisfying for me to see you cry. On those rare days when you’ve cried, it made me very happy. But then you didn’t share in that happiness, which pretty much kills your whole thesis.

Z: You never answered my question: are you happier for my happy or sadder for my sad?

She: I’m going to have to go with my own self-interest on that one.

Z: How so?

She: When you’re sad, you tend to be very selfish about it. It’s hard to be sad with you because you refuse to share it with me.

Z: I can’t stand a buzz kill, least of all me.

She: When you’re upset about something you choose your words carefully, which I don’t understand at all. You barely even let me take care of you when you’re sick.

Z: That’s because you tend to pick on me when I’m sick. It’s easier to moan quietly to myself.

She: On the other hand, if you’re happy because you just made a bundle of money, you tell me right away and I’m very excited to be happy with you.

Z: You’re a giver.

She: Then again, if you’re happy because you’re going to play golf or poker with your friends — it’s mostly just an inconvenience to me.

Z: You can’t stand my happiness?

She: It’s not that I don’t want you to be happy; I just want me to not be unhappy more. So if you’re doing something fun that I’m not included in, it’s always better if I’m doing something even more fun. That’s actually the secret to being a happy couple.

Z: You should write a story about that, and I’ll share in your happiness when you get the check.

She: Yes, dear.

— Share your secrets to happiness with She and Z by e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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