Am I Really Turning into Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets?

I like to read. A lot. I tend to choose fiction, with the occasional OK! Magazine; which is basically the same thing as fiction. When a book is good, it is goo-oood. When it is bad, it’s like a five day-old scone: crusty and dry, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth and slight indigestion.

Now, I am all for books taking the reader to a magical land, far, far from reality.  However, the books of late make me snort and say things like, “What? A thirty-four hundred dollar bottle of champagne just ‘cuz it’s Tuesday, and you are only twenty-four years old?? That’s some BS.” I am an optimist/romantic, but come on people – a helicopter ride on the second date? Gag.

My hat truly tips off to all novelists. That is A LOT of work to write three hundred plus pages, and if you are lucky, get it published.  The amount of re-writing done to create characters the reader roots for, or wants to slap, or wants to hug, or wants to twirl around on the beach with then make sweet sweet lov- oh nevermind, TMI – anyway, it’s a lot of blood, sweat, and Starbuck’s runs.

But I’m getting old and cynical.  So when the actions of a character seem ridiculous, I go into Statler mode and say things like, “Of course she left you! There has been no mention of you showering since the beginning of the book, and I’m on chapter thirty-two! Baaa haa haaa.”

To illustrate where I’m coming from, below is a comparison of the enchanted world of fiction, versus the, “Oh crap, where did that zit come from?” reality. This is based upon books I have recently read (no names mentioned):

Unrealistic Situation #1

Guy meets girl for the first time and says (I’m paraphrasing here), “We obviously have an intense sexual connection, but I don’t date. So, how do we do this?” And it works. Really?

What Happens to Real People

Guy hangs with bros at dive bar. He is sweaty from all the ingested Jaeger shots and Your Ass is on Fire flavored chicken wings. He sees/beer goggles girl across the bar. Does another shot. Stumbles over to girl and says, “He I zzzlluuou, you, shhhhouuuuld, cccuommmm overrrrr and hhhhanng ouuut.” Luckily girl is from the Netherlands, so it works.

Unrealistic Situation #2

Woman’s husband “disappears” after five years of marriage. She goes on the hunt after she learns he took all her money, has a different name, stole someone else’s identity, and killed a bunch of mobster people with his fists of fury.

What Happens to Real People

After five years of marriage you roll over one morning and say to your spouse, “Oh, you’re still here.” Then get out of bed before he passes wind…again.

Unrealistic Situation #3

Guy lives as loner in the woods. Oddly enough, he is super hot even though he has not shaved or cut his hair in years. He kidnaps the female reporter (also smokin’) who destroyed his career, in order to save her life because some seedy characters want her dead. Cabin man and ornery reporter have a lot of boom boom in the woods, they expose the bad guys, and cabin man get his job back. Oh, and shaves.

What Happens to Real People

At work, you screw up an Excel budget spread sheet. Your boss yells at you. You go and cry in the bathroom. You wish you could run away to the woods. There is no boom boom involved.

Even though I poke fun at the above books, I couldn’t put them down. They were all well written and fun to read. Yet even with the best books my eye-rolling Muppet tries to argue with the optimist in me.  Usually the optimist wins out.

I guess that’s why we read. To be transported away from the real, to believe in the un-real, and to stay up until 2:00 a.m. doing so.  Let’s face it, wouldn’t you rather read about running away with some mysterious stranger than fix your child’s pencil sharpener?

Especially if you can get some boom boom in the woods.

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3 thoughts on “Am I Really Turning into Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets?

  1. Yeah as a writer, reviewer and editor I couldn’t agree more with your article. I’ve always said if you’re going to bend or break the rules of physics then do it in style. But lately I too have read some real howlers. Perhaps there’s a genre out there called, ‘Period drama where characters speak like modern Americans?’ Writers need to turn off the tv when they write, better yet, quit watching Friends before your brain rots away.

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