Friday, April 08, 2005

A Disharmonic Wind Blows On My Husband Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman says we "have been largely immune to the disharmony winds of conflict." Which is his way of saying that until Sunday we had not had a fight.

There was a time when I would not have understood Thomas Friedman. Why? I do not know if it is the vitamins or if it is all the new words he is teaching me. Thomas Friedman calls the new list my list of adjectives to "use freely and often" to describe my husband Thomas Friedman.

"Mammoth" is on the list. But I am only supposed to use that when I am in the ladies' room or we are out on the town with Nicholas Kristof who Thomas Friedman insists I call Nicky because he is "a simpering, wimpering child again." I told Thomas Friedman that the way he said that, it was musical. Thomas Friedman humbly replied, "Well I am the greatest living writer."

I said, "Thomas Friedman is the greatest writer ever." I was so proud of myself because he's been drilling me on saying that when he says, "Well I am the greatest living writer." Thomas Friedman thinks I should say it more than just then. Thomas Friedman says that I should try to work it into conversations and to make it pop up normally and natural "as though you were asking someone to pass the salt." So I am working on that.

But "a wind of discord" has blown through our world and what was once happy is now "just another spot on the ever flattening world."

Thomas Friedman is upset because it is as though the world was suffering from "a toxic political correctness." Thomas Friedman says that the "toxic political correctness" has resulted in Pope-arama-Pope-Pope-Pope-till-you-drop and thanks to that the most important story of the week has been pushed aside: The great Thomas Freidman published a new book Tuesday.

Poor Thomas Friedman, the week should have been his. It would have been too. But for that Pope John Paul II who meant nowhere near as much to the country, the world as Thomas Friedman does. That is one of the sentences I am practicing per my husband Thomas Friedman.

He is so mad at "Blinky" for not booking him on Face the Nation this Sunday. He says, "After all I did for that fluttering-eyed fool, for him to book those "namby pamby nimrods is proof in the pudding and it is not pretty!" Thomas Friedman says without him on Face the Nation, there will be nothing to keep the viewers awake and "they will quickly fall into the land of snores and slumbers with nothing to do but count the number of times Blinky blinks."

Thomas Friedman says that no one even watches Faces the Nation which is strange because he also says that if he were on Face the Nation this Sunday his book would easily leap to the top of the bestseller lists. I do not understand how if no one watches the show, his appearing on the show would expose him to book buyers but he is Thomas Friedman and (a) he works magic and (b) he is not to be questioned.

He said that tonight when I said, "But Thomas Friedman, I have been defrosting the rump roast." Looking at me, Thomas Friedman said, "Bettina, I am not to be questioned." Nicky was due for dinner and Thomas Friedman said we could not afford to waste good money on the "woefully uncouth." Since Nicky was our only guest, I am guessing Thomas Friedman meant Nicky but I was attending too, after I was done serving, so maybe he meant me?

So it was lima beans with bits of bacon and I barely had time to quick soak the beans and then cook then before Nicky came knocking at the door. I topped each bowl with a dab of canned cheese and told Nicky that they were a native dish from my home country just like Thomas Friedman told me to.

Usually Thomas Friedman feels better after spending time with Nicky because "Nicky is so masterfully mundane and such a miniscule talent." But not tonight, tonight he was not happy.

At one point, I said to Nicky, "Pass the salt, please. Thomas Friedman is the greatest writer that has ever lived." For some reason Nicky snorted and the lima bean soup-ish dish flew out his nose. Thomas Friedman exploded.

"Get out! Leave my presence you mental vagabond, ever shifting this way and that from Wednesday to Saturday, on the shaky quick sand of your alleged principals!"

I had never seen Thomas Friedman so red in the face, not even when he hollers "Gut check time!" during orgasm.

Nicky attempted to apologize but Thomas Friedman was done with him.

"I am done with you! Cease your groveling! I will have no more of your sissy fit! Take your leave for you are boring me with your Grovel version 3.0! Return to your wife or, as everyone at the paper sneers, the only real reason you ever won your pity Pulitzer! Leave, little man, take your leave and be gone like so many desposed dictators of yesteryear!"

Wiping his nose with both hands, Nicky stood and backed out of the dining room. As I stared at Thomas Friedman, fearful that he might explode, we heard the door slam shut.

Since my husband Thomas Friedman was feeling so bad and sweating and sobbing, I said, "Thomas Friedman, you are the greatest living writer ever!"

"Lies!" he sobbed. "Lies! Like WMD, it is lies! Put it in a piece by Judy Miller and it would still be lies! Toss it over to Elisabeth Bumiller and it would be a plethora of adjectives piled one onto another over and over until the wheels fell off -- still lies!"

"No, Thomas Friedman," I said as I wrapped my arms around him. "You truly are the greatest writer ever. And to prove it we can do anything you want to tonight."

Thomas Friedman is sleeping now and I guess I am grateful for that. A genius like Thomas Friedman does not always want sex as he has told me many times on those not so altogether rare evenings when he is unable to perform. Thomas Friedman has stopped sobbing and that is good news.

He wanted to play William Safire tonight. That means I do not have to listen to him wheeze and gasp. No, I just have to put on the Peggy Noonan mask and grab the baby powder and an adult diaper. It is not that hard. Tonight. But come tomorrow there will be one poppy diaper to change.