In the early days of this production of The Odd Couple, I read — aloud — the lines for Oscar Madison.
And I came to a surprisingly haunting conclusion. Here goes…
The superego says, "Be Oscar."
The world — my parents, my teachers, my communities, my early employers — have always wanted me to Be Oscar. Oscar is affable, daring, a hale fellow well met, taking the world as it comes.
That's what the world has always wanted me to be. More to the point, the world has rewarded me for being Oscar: courageous in the face of challenge, spontaneously winging it, grinning confidently in the face of any result.
Of course, in hindsight, perhaps the world wanted me to be more like Felix: dutiful, exacting, prepared, sensitive, respectful of hierarchy and tradition.
What Am I?
The haunting conclusion: I am truly Felix, but I have lived a life of pretending to be Oscar.
As life unfolds, I recognize the Felix in me. He has issues, yes, and each and every one of them speak to me like an old friend I'd neglected for decades.
In the meantime, for the past several decades, I have fraudulently presented myself to the world — and to the mirror — as Oscar.
And, frankly, I've become quite good at Being Oscar.
At this point, it seems easier for me to fraudulently speak the lines of Oscar than to speak the lines of Felix in truth.
After the madness of this play is concluded, I'm going to have a lot to think about.
For now, I have to tap my inner Felix. And, today, I have to get "off book."
I encourage you to get your tickets. The show opens and closes within the next two weeks.