Don’t be a Ricky

I am rerunning a few of my earlier posts over the next few weeks. This one, about loosening up and having more fun, was from April, 2014.

Several years ago, I cut out and thumbtacked to the bulletin board in my office a section of an article about relationships. The article must have contained a list of “dos” and “don’ts” because this one was labeled “No. 16.” I have no memory of numbers 1 through 15, nor any that followed Number 16, but this one stopped me mid-read, and prompted me to get up and grab my scissors.

No. 16 Don’t Be the Ricky

On the 1950’s sit-com I Love Lucy, Ricky and Lucy Ricardo had very different ways of approaching life. Lucy was always doing crazy stuff and getting into trouble. Ricky was always there to bail her out of whatever disaster she got herself into. The premise of Number 16 was that people tend to either be Rickys or Lucys.

Ricky and Lucy4

Rickys are practical, responsible, and live life relatively conservatively. In a relationship, they are the caretakers; the ones who make sure the bills get paid, the finances are in good shape, and plans are made and followed.

Lucys, on the other hand, are crazy, fun-loving, and charmingly irresponsible. They have a “live for today” attitude. They are the ones who are out having fun and not paying too much attention to the consequences.

Number 16 warned about being a Ricky (who is stuck being responsible) while your partner is being a Lucy (forever starry-eyed, wacky, and impractical). One person is Homer, and the other Marge. One is Hans Solo, the other Princess Leia. The message was that one was having way more fun than the other.

I have a dominant Ricky gene. My husband also is a Ricky. We know how to have fun, we enjoy being silly, we even can be pretty creative (after all, Ricky Ricardo was an accomplished singer and bandleader) but, for the most part, we have a vision of what we want to accomplish and we take the steps necessary to get there. Most likely, being Rickys throughout our working lives has helped us get where we are today: being able to retire relatively young.

That’s not to say that Lucys are all screw-ups who have great fun but are ultimately destined to be financially unsound or be dependent on Rickys to save them. Some people I love and admire are Lucys. I imagine that many brilliant multi-gazillionaires are shoot-for-the-stars Lucys. Who knows, when I decided to cut out and keep that article, if I had been more of a Lucy I may have had the crazy idea to create some sort of an online bulletin board that people could, I don’t know… maybe “pin” interesting items to. And, throwing caution to the wind, I may have sold everything and taken out ill-advised loans to fund that insanity… that I might have cleverly named Pinterest.

Ricky and Lucy5

My husband and I got where we are today by saving more than spending, economizing more than splurging. That’s not to say we haven’t had great adventures or wonderful experiences, but we have said “no” to opportunities more than we would have liked, and probably more than we needed to.

Suddenly becoming total Lucys is probably not possible or desirable. Rickyness is in our DNA, and that’s not a bad thing; it will most likely keep us out of trouble as we get older. But I think we have reached a point in our lives when we should start channeling our inner Lucys regularly. We need to say “yes” more often, seek out some crazy adventures, and do a few marvelously impractical things that may leave the Rickys out there scratching their heads.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

28 thoughts on “Don’t be a Ricky”

  1. I am a complete Ricky, also. There are days when that can get too much, but often I get my Lucy-time by being the best Ricky I can. Real, true Lucy’s scare the bejesus out of me. BTW – what is pinterest??? 😉

  2. Ricky here. I have a bestie who is totally Lucy. I have dinner with her once a year and it’s three hours of catch-up that would fuel a sit-com for years. This year she went to Paris. Although she bought garments to keep her wallet and important things next to her body she didn’t seem to use them. A pickpocket stole her phone early on. What a ta-do. About 5 days later, still despondent about the phone she was careless with her purse and her wallet was stolen. Then she bought those fancy foie gras tins to take home (at $30) only to have them confiscated at the airport because you can’t take carry them on. Do you get the picture? (Of course none of this was her fault. She was annoyed that her travel mate didn’t tell her to pack them in her checked luggage.) By the time I got home I was exhausted.

    1. Oh my gosh, I’m not sure I could hang out with someone like that! I am always amazed how those types can have such little self-awareness. I hope – in addition to all of the drama – she also had a good Lucy-worthy time!

      1. It’s why we only get together once a year. Otherwise I’d be on medication. I worked with her once. I could do a year’s worth of posts on her but she occasionally reads my blog.

  3. I am proud to be a Ricky too. Without him, Lucy McGillicuddy would still be selling Vitameatavegimun on late night infomercials. Thanks for the clever and enjoyable post.

    1. I thought she was fun to watch… from a distance. I think maybe it’s the same feeling I get when I see people all tatted up, sporting purple hair – I’m happy for the diversity, but also happy it’s not me.

  4. Thanks for ‘splaining all this 🙂 Despite my red hair, I’m mostly the Ricky in my marriage, with my Latin hubby being very Lucy! There’s a great balance though and we each have the fun and stability we both need at the right time. Loved this, Janis, made my day!!

  5. I think we are both Rickys, though I’m definitely more so. Maybe when John retires his inner Lucy will come out and encourage mine out too! Interesting post, it’s nice to catch up,on things you wrote about before I knew you.

  6. I grew up ‘loving Lucy’, but then I didn’t have to live with her. I am definitely a Ricky. My sons are too. While I used to wish I had more fun with my money when I was younger, I am very glad I was a saver and planner so I can enjoy myself now and not worry about paying the bills.

  7. At work I was all Ricky, but in life in general, I am a total Lucy. I tend to date Ricky’s. I once dated a Lucy which meant I had to be Ricky which lasted about 2 months. The Captain and I are both Ricky and Lucy at different times, but rarely the same time which works out well. But sometimes, in our darker moments, we can be like George and Martha from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff. Not pretty..but thank goodness less do than we used to be.

    1. Too funny! I love that you describe yourself as a Lucy. It sounds like you and The Captain have just the right combination, at the right times. Two Lucys together – especially sailing around the would – could be a disaster. I know a few George and Marthas… best to avoid that if possible.

  8. As with everything, finding (or being) a balance is the best of both worlds. I think it is acceptable and enjoyable to be 3/4 Ricky and 1/4 Lucy. Although we are both mostly Rickys, the fact that we like to roam about and not have many plans, makes us a bit Lucy, I think. But, never could we both be total Lucys. Although I envy Lucys for many reasons – life is so much easier being a Lucy – I do cringe about the thought of being one. Interesting concept!

      1. When I review the old episodes as an adult, it makes me appreciate two things – how talented and beautiful Lucille Ball was.

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