the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

My “Lucy”


You always hear "nice guys" complaining about women who only want to go out with "bad boys."  I’ve never complained about this, because I feel the same way about women.  I’ve always been attracted to the "trouble-maker."  When I use that term, I don’t mean a female criminal with tattoos riding a Harley.  I mean the high-maintenance but loveable woman, the irresisitable female who is also a pain in the ass. 

I blame this on Lucille Ball.  Growing up, I was in love with "I Love Lucy."  While other watched reruns of  "The Brady Bunch" after school, I watched reruns of Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory.  Being a bookish kid, I guess I fantasized about Lucy because she was so fearless.   She was a handful to be married to, and Ricky sure complained a lot, but would he have it any other way?  His life could never be boring with Lucy as his wife.  Even though Ricky was the famous bandleader, it was clear to everyone that Lucy was the more interesting character.

Sophia spelled "trouble" from the minute I met her.  We were dating only a few days when she almost "accidentally" burnt her apartment down by leaving something in the oven for six hours.  She broke her toe while hopping in the living room.  She took to making and drinking this kombucha "mushroom" tea because it sounded so exotic and exciting, even though I told her not to, and almost poisoned herself.  When she forgot to buy me a birthday gift,  I came home the next week to a multi-colored custom-made $4000 ergonomic desk chair that we could not afford.  It wasn’t enough that she got a swing band and a klezmer band for our wedding, at the last moment she also hired some belly dancers she saw at a restaurant.  She was always spontaneous, ready to go for a drive to dinner — all the way in Bakersfield.

And this is only during my first year of knowing her.   

But the minute I saw an old photo of her with red hair — that was it.  I was in love.

Important news flash to all those about to get married:  The thing you most love about your spouse will also become the thing that will end up annoying you the most.

Sophia is unpredictable and uncontrollable.  Sexy and exasperating.  She always forgets that she should respect boundaries and will step over them for you — for good and bad.

On my blog, readers write all sorts of comments to my posts, some serious, some sarcastic, some mean.  On a recent post, a reader wrote something that sounded mean.

I got a phone call from Sophia.

Sophia:  I read your blog today.

Me:  Uh oh, what now?

Sophia:  It’s about one of your readers, "M."  First she was mean to you, now she’s dissing some reader of yours.

Me:  She was joking.

Sophia:  No, she wasn’t.  Remember she once emailed you, angry about some innocuous joking comment you made on her blog about the genitals of Japanese men?

Me:  "M" and I made up weeks ago. 

Sophia:  I think you should delete the comment, especially since it attacks one of your readers.

Me:  I’ve never deleted a comment before.

Sophia:  She deleted your Japanese comment.

Me:  You’re like the Lady Macbeth of the blogging world. 

I ended up deleting the comment.

Later on, I received an email from "M."  She said I was being too sensitive and that she was just joking.   "M" and I made up again.

A few hours later, I received another email from "M."  This time, she was not friendly.   She accused me of writing an anonymous and nasty comment on her blog.   I told her that I had no idea what she was talking about.   She said I called her rude and bitchy.  I said I didn’t write it.  She insisted that I did and she had proof — she checked her stats and the comment came from my IP address!

How could that be?   But then I thought about it.  What would Lucy do?  Who else was in my apartment today?

I called up Sophia.

Me:  Sophia, did you…

Sophia:  OK, OK, I wrote the anonymous comment.  I’m guilty.   I’m sorry.  Don’t be pissed.  I can’t stand it when I think someone is trying to hurt you…


Sophia, my protector, my bodyguard.  She does it out of love, I know. 

And didn’t Ricky always forgive Lucy…?


  1. Jack

    You know the thing that doesn’t add up to me is this. Why make those comments anonymously. Why not just come right out and say what you have to say. It is the net, it is not like you have to look them in the eye and be concerned that they might come after you.

    Personally I think that your protector should have identified herself from the start.

    If nothing else we could have found a way to schedule a nice mud wrestling match to settle this once and for all.

  2. brando

    Wait, wasn’t Ricky a renowned philanthropist? Or no, wait, maybe the word I’m thinking of is philanderer. Whichever one means he liked to give more than he received. Is that why they say Philly is the city of brotherly love?

  3. Pearl

    Okay, you called Sophia up…which was good. ‘Cause somehow I don’t think confronting her in person, hand on your hip, and saying, “SO…PHI….A” has quite the same ring as Desi Arnaz’s “LU…CY…..!”

    “My Lucy” is eight years old; she’s famous — in this household –for scrunching up her face and every now and again emitting a loud “WAAAAAAAAA”. She calms down when I let out a string of Spanish words. Maybe it’s the “babalu” that pacifies her…!

  4. alley rat

    I have a mean comment to make, but I’m afraid of Sophia now.

  5. Sophia

    Go ahead, alley rat –
    M a k e my day… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Atomic Bombshell

    Oh my gosh… I blame Lucy for the fact that I’m constantly in trouble at home. She made being a little troublemaker look just so darn normal. I’m glad I’m not the only victim of loving Lucy.

  7. deb

    Wait, wait… You’re saying that which I love the most about my Almost Husband will be that which annoys me most later? Because, I can’t imagine him doing the dishes every night ever getting on my bad side.

  8. Edgy Mama

    You go, Sophia. I’m with you–no one makes snarky comments about people I love and gets away with it.

    Oh, and Neil, now I understand why you like me.

  9. modigli

    Awwww… that was so cute!!! She’s looking out for you, Neil! Exactly WHY are two separating, again? Did you ever blog about that?

  10. Tatyana

    My question exactly, Modigli (former).

    Or may be the answer is in the infinitive mystery that is a clash of male/female emotional responses? Like this, f.ex.:
    she’s protecting you, Neil, bodyguarding you, you know she does it out of love – and instead of melting out you going all formal on her calling her Sophia instead of Sofotchka?!


  11. jamy

    I remember this study where they found that happy couples were no less flawed than anyone else, but the partners were much better at ignoring each other’s flaws. Sophia is very good at not letting you ignore her, that’s for sure!

  12. ashbloem

    Sophia sounds fantastic. I think I am in love with her now.

  13. Nancy French

    Can’t you get back together?

  14. xtessa

    okay, i’m now thinking about my husband’s traits that i truly love and (probably) loathe… hmmm… i dunno. i may have to reflect on this one.;)

  15. Megan

    That’s it Neil, I no longer have a blog crush on you; I have one on Sofia.

  16. mary

    So true about the thing you love turning into the thing you hate. I know that R thinks its fun that I’m crazy and highly excitable now but that would alllll change if/when we would ever make it official. And I don’t blame Sophia – R has my commenters cross referenced and cataloged. While he’d never leave a comment anywhere, he definitely lets me know the people he doesn’t “like”… lol

  17. MQ

    I’ve been lurking here for a bit and I have to join the chorus. It is SO SAD that you and Sophia couldn’t stick together. It’s not too late. Why can’t you play off each other’s differences and turn it into romantic fizz like you do in this posting? Sigh. I know how hard this is in real life, so it’s a rhetorical question. But still, I think you may both end up being sad about it if you definitively part, even if it will take her longer to be sad than you.

    If you can’t get married again, though, you two should DEFINITELY write a romantic comedy script together. Maybe about a separated couple who have to live in the same apartment together for financial reasons? Maybe that’s more a sitcom though.

  18. Jay

    I think it’s sweet that she adds spice to your life. I have a sneaking suspicion that I do the same for my husband, though when I asked him if I was a pain in the ass, his enigmatic answer was “Oh, you and your euphemisms!”…..

  19. a.m. griff

    I wish my wife read my blog. She’s beautifully oblivious.

  20. Nope, not Brooke, not me, no way

    Hi! I love your blog and I bet your wife is the nicest person in the world and would never ever ever come after a woman that you pretend to flirt with online…right? Right? Especially not that Brooke character. She seems pretty harmless and I’m sure is a very nice person.

  21. Pauly D


    She is a pit bull, isn’t she?

  22. Sophia

    ” Especially not that Brooke character. She seems pretty harmless and Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขm sure is a very nice person. ”

    She is also a pretty good writer from what I’ve seen.

    As to the rest, Nope, not Brooke, not me, no way – it’s separated wife, and… I don’t reveal my secret sinister plans.

  23. M.A.

    I want Sophia in my corner. You too, Neil.

  24. Nope, not Brooke, not me, no way


  25. Neil

    Thanks for all the nice things you said about Sophia. I was a little worried that you would jump all over her and I would be getting a “not-very-friendly” call from Sophia around now. Instead, she’s kvelling.

    PaulyD — She can be a pit bull at times, but a pit bull with a heart of gold. And only when someone attacks me. So be careful.

    And Nope Not Brooke — Thanks for the concern. But Sophia knows me already. We had a female rabbi at our wedding, and during the ceremony, my mind wandered between my sacred commitment to mariage and what type of rack the rabbi had under her tallis.

  26. Sophia

    Neilochka, you’re such a liar. Was that before or after you almost fainted during the wedding ceremony? ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. Sam

    Um. I’m not vulgar? How many stories did you read? I’m in shock. Speechless. I’m sorry that I let you down.

  28. Neil

    Uh, Sam, you’re supposed to answer me on your own blog, not here. You’ll be hearing from Sophia a little bit later. I’ll read your blog again. I give everyone a second chance.

  29. Jack

    I want proof that Sophia exists. I am beginning to think that she should be called Harvey and fed carrots. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. Neil

    $1000 in virtual money for the first person who explains that reference. (screenwriters excluded)

  31. Lauren

    I love that movie, my mom made me watch it when I was a kid. Jimmy Stewart and his imaginary giant rabbit. Had such a crush on him. ( Jimmy, not the rabbit)

  32. Neil

    Lauren, would you like your vitual money in dollars or Euros?

  33. ekramer

    i would also like to know why you are separated since you see each other and are there for each other and talk to each other more then any married couple i know and both sides of the family like both of you.

  34. JJ MacMillan

    I’d like to know your definition of “separated” since you seem to revolve around each other like moons trapped by one another’s gravity. At some point the two of you are going to have to admit you’re made for each other and just work it out.

    I don’t know, Neilochka, she sounds great to me. I mean, the worst fear of any man older than 21 is that his life will become boring. Sophia appears to be the perfect antidote to boring.

  35. Neil

    JJ – Too many years of excitement. A little mellowness would be nice. But then again, is there really any woman out there that isn’t going to totally twist and turn a man’s life until he needs cholesterol pills?

  36. Danny

    I too wondered if Sophia was a “character” in your head. But if so she’s beautifully written and I understand the dynamic completely. And I shouldn’t doubt her existence since I have a real-life Sophia of my own–mine (first wife) is Sophie instead of Sophia and French instead of Russian. What I’m curious about is if any of your or Sophia’s post-marriage partners have taken issue with the obvious enmeshment you two are still experiencing. I’m not saying that enmeshment is bad, I just know that sometimes the new people get a little confused.

    You obviously like (love?) each other but that does NOT mean you should necessarily get back together.

    Trust me.

  37. Neil

    Danny – you’ll have to ask Sophia about any “post-marriage partners.” So far all my new partners have come from

  38. Charlie

    If you married a female rabbi, would you end up being annoyed by the rack under her tallis?

  39. Neil

    Charie — Probably. Especially if I had to make a special blessing every day over them.

  40. Jack

    A special blessing- hmmm…There are a few.

  41. introspectre

    Sophia, darling- you sound like my kind of woman.

    I recommend using a crop on him. Keep him on his toes. He’ll probably love it.


  42. Hilary

    Out of curiosity, doesn’t it kind of bother you that Sophia does that?

  43. Neil

    Maybe for ten seconds.

    Does this mean you didn’t like “I Love Lucy” growing up?

  44. PLD

    what an adorable homage.

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