Courting Temptation in the Realm of the Probable

Things happen that are outside the realm of probability (although not to me). Real people win the lottery, survive lightening strikes, write bestsellers and marry princes. Truth can be stranger than fiction, but fiction can’t be stranger than truth. There are few things more annoying than a movie with plot holes large enough to drive a garbage truck through or  a book that’s so contrived and the ending so implausible you want to sue the author for wasting your time.

Capturing the essence and nuance of human nature without manipulating it is the foundation of a good story. All things may be possible but not all things are probable. I’ve been pondering this quite a bit, because I happened upon another short story contest (OK, I didn’t “happen upon it”. I looked for one). The idea my muse threw me has me pondering more than writing (at this rate I’ll miss the deadline). And the pondering has me wondering. I know it’s possible for a person to turn their life around. I’ve done it myself, and I’ve seen others do it; people overcoming addictions, inclinations and tendencies that had them by the throat and threatened to destroy them.

I know it’s always possible, but is it probable, particularly in the confines of fiction?

There was a man who loved the challenge of women. It was a heady game for him. His goal was the hook-up; her’s was a relationship. He always won and was always eager to find a new conquest. He didn’t realize the game had become dull and stale until he met someone who wouldn’t play it with him. To make a short story shorter, he fell in love with a young woman. And he could see with great clarity the peace and happiness a life and family with that woman would bring him. And he desired that more than he had ever desired anything before, even winning the game.

But the challenge and allure of women didn’t melt away just because he decided he didn’t want it anymore. It was part of him and the danger of temptation was always lurking in another woman’s eyes. There were occasions when he could overcome the temptation. But life is never that simple and the man found himself in a situation that overwhelmed him with desire to win another conquest. It’s possible that he resisted, but I can’t help wonder how probable it is.

What do you think? Because the real ending to the story hinges on the answer to that question.


6 comments on “Courting Temptation in the Realm of the Probable

  1. That was me 14 years ago. When my first marriage ended, simultaneously during the divorce proceedings and my soon to be ex’s death, I was out there after 28 years of being married to the a woman that was my third date ever. No joke. So this was mid 90’s, in the early internet days, in IRC channel rooms, and I found many women, each wanting the game to continue. Then i found the “one” again, and well, while I can say now that I am happily better in love than ever again, there were carry over relationships that had to end after the “one” was found. When you’re juggling several at one time, and you pick for keeps “one” of them, there are several that have to be carefully put away and not just dumped. That was the hard part, since when you are juggling, each one is handled carefully, you dont want to hurt any. But in the end, there has to be a stopping point, and then there is the inevitable who were the others when things with the one gets serious. So the short answer is its hard to turn over a new leaf, but it can be done, and for me was.


    • Thanks for sharing that Larry. You put it beautifully. You’re blessed to have found “the happily ever after”. I think there are many that doubt it’s possible, but people like you are proof it exists.


  2. I think, for men, the thrill of the chase and conquest are in the blood , so to speak. Having said that if you find someone who feels like home you can unpack your baggage and put aside the search for a resting place. Things can get interesting, however, if the person you regard as “home” does not have the same depth of feelings about the man and this becomes evident over time. For some the sense of completness is overwhelming. Others have to work at their relationship and this involves avoiding temptation. Easier said than done as your man may discover


    • I agree that the thrill of the chase and conquest are in the blood, (more for men than women). Maybe there’s different degrees of it in every man, making it easier or harder to avoid temptation. Or am I making excuses?

      I think one of the most painful situations a person can be in is if the person regarded as “home” doesn’t have the same depth of feeling.


  3. Is it possible to change old patterns? Absolutely. Is it probable given human nature and our reluctance to do the hard work of looking inward honestly (to explore the nexus of those patterns and finding the courage to step off the familiar ground of what we know and into the unsure space of the unknown)? No. Unless a person is presented with a “crisis” that forces him/her to change, the person will remain comfortably in the old patterns, even if the old patterns are uncomfortable.

    That’s my experience at least.


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