My husband Thomas Friedman says, "The world is going to hell in an Enstrom's gift basket!"
He has been furuious all morning and yelling and screaming things like, "The New York Times is the Hillary Duff of the global village attempting to pass itself off as the Meryl Streep!" I have never seen Thomas Friedman so mad.
Not even yesterday morning when I slept right through the alarm and was an hour late waking. I moved quickly to change his adult diaper from last name's game where he played William Safire and I played Peggy Noonan. But it was too late. Thomas Friedman had diaper rash, or adult diaper rash.
Thomas Friedman was so mad. He yelled and yelled no matter how I apologized. I said, "Maybe I did not take enough vitamins yesterday? I will go take some now. I will take the whole bottle." Thomas Friedman grabbed my arm and said, "Don't you Judy Garland out on me! I do not want to waste money on Betty Ford!"
I had no idea what that meant. I believe Judy Garland was the little girl in a movie dreaming about somewhere over a rainbow and that Betty Ford was married to a president. Rainbows and White Houses? Sometimes my husband Thomas Friedman speaks in riddles.
I was tired all day yesterday and kept trying to take my vitamins but Thomas Friedman kept saying I had a holler monkey on my back. That must be some new game he is playing, like Iraqi invasion, because everytime I checked, there was no monkey on my back.
But if I thought the day of adult diaper rash was bad, I had seen nothing. FYI, his heinie, though overly hairy, is fine now.
But Thomas Friedman is not fine now. He is so angry and so upset. Thomas Friedman is even swallowing my vitamins by the handful. I said, "Thomas Friedman, I thought you grew up with plenty of citrus. Why do you need so many vitamins?"
Thomas Friedman glared at me with squinted eyes and barked, "Kiss my ass!"
I dropped to my knees and started kissing, thinking, "Oh, he wants me to play Bill Keller again."
And I was saying, "Thomas Friedman, I am nothing but a glorified copy boy! A proof reader! I am not fit to print your columns! I am not fit to breathe air in a world whose most amazing natural resource is the great Thomas Friedman!"
I thought I was saying the things Thomas Friedman had taught me correctly but he pushed me away and stormed back and forth across the room with his flip flops flipping and flopping and his shorty robe riding up in the back.
He took my bottle of vitamins to his lips and emptied what was left into his mouth then threw it on the floor just like he does his socks, underwear, pants, shirt, tie and Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips. My husband Thomas Friedman can be sloppy but he always reminds me that it is part of his charm, "my quirky, endearing trait, my trademark, like the half-smile on the Mona Lisa or the beauty mark on Cindy Crawford." If you say so, Thomas Friedman.
In the kitchen he was hollering for me to get in there. I found him with a plate of his soda crackers and holding the can of cheese.
"Bettina, watch this," Thomas Friedman said to me as he took the can to a soda cracker and waited. No cheese came out.
He threw the can and it hit me in the forehead.
"You have been eating my snacks! Were it not for me, you would still be slaving away in Trenton and this is the thanks I get? You sneak through my snacks like Judy Miller stealing K-rations from sleeping soldiers!"
Trenton? Is that the name of the village I come from? I was thinking how musical it sounded. Tren-ton. And I was wondering if all my people lived in mud huts like Thomas Friedman has told me? I was trying to picture Dumb Asswipe, the man who must have been chief because Thomas Friedman is always saying, "Who taught you to do it that way? Dumb Asswipe!" or
"This meal is not fit to eat! Dumb Asswipe!"
But then soda crackers started flying in my face, pulling me from my reflections.
"No, Thomas Friedman, I did not eat your canned cheese," I insisted. "I know it is delicacy only fit for a great man like Thomas Friedman. I know that you say it is so costly that you can afford but one can a week. I know you work hard and deserve all the finer things in life and that I am grateful to merely sit beside you and reflect in your good taste."
"Stop repeating everything I have taught you!" Thomas Friedman yelled slamming the plate against a counter.
I was grateful I did not have another mess to clean. Nicky had once mocked the great Thomas Friedman for using styrofoam plates, bowls and cups. He had used words like PCBs which assume are some words from his native tongue. Thomas Friedman had snarled, "You are the McToxic here, Kristof!"
I felt so bad for Nicky because John Tierney had been over that night. He calls my husband Thomas Friedman "Big Tom" and Thomas Friedman calls him "Little John." And Little John had laughed and laughed at Nicky and spat out "Recycling is garbage!"
This had caused Thomas Friedman and Little John to start slamming their hands against the table as their laughter increased. Good sport Nicky (Thomas Friedman says Nicky is nothing if not a good sport) joined in the laughter saying that if two out of three believed something he was always happy to make it three out of three. Then he entertained us all with a story of a deadly tribe that was destroying the world, Nicky called them feminists, and all was fine.
My mind raced to that as I thought of how if Thomas Friedman had been using a glass plate, it would have shattered and I would have had to pick up the pieces. And what if a shard had been embedded into our "vintage linoleum?" I shudder at the thought because Thomas Friedman is made of greatness not money, as Thomas Friedman always says.
Thomas Friedman was on the floor pounding his fists against the "vintage linoleum" and sobbing.
He was screaming about this and that and I did not understand it all. Something was causing tremendous damage and wrecking the world, some sort of wind that I am guessing might turn into a hurricane. Thomas Friedman kept talking about this and damning it. "Damn Gale Collins!"
That is how much my husband Thomas Friedman cares for the world. A gale had reduced him to tears. He is such a caring man, I reminded myself as I rubbed the bump on my forehead from where the can of cheese hit.
The gale had blown the entire world into disarray. Thomas Friedman was fearful for everyone because although he is the most important and perfect person in the world, he cares for everyone. He brought up Little John and was saying things like, "Little John is not ready for this! This is the big leagues!" And I am guessing that Nicky was taking one of his brief stands because Thomas Friedman was screaming that Nicky had stabbed him in the back and was not up to Sundays.
"There, there, Thomas Friedman," I said pulling his shorty robe down to cover his ample rear.
"You always say 'Nicky caves quicker than Carter.' He will come around. He is your friend."
Thomas Friedman howled, 'Kristof is not my friend!"
Somehow this mighty gale was blowing through and tossing everything into chaos. This gale would somehow even effect his book sales. "The whole world is against me! Damn that Gale Collins!" I am guessing that in gales, like in hurricanes, people do not buy many new books.
I know Thomas Friedman was already angry that an actress had gotten all the attention last week and that his friend Blinky had not booked him on Face the Nation this morning. Is the whole world against Thomas Friedman?"
"Not me," I told him.
"Bettina, my backwater democracy grown ever stagnant," Thomas Friedman said wiping his eyes, "You do not understand! They have pulled me from Sundays! The biggest circulation day! They have moved me to Fridays! The only thing worse would be to be Mo Do being moved to Saturday when no one looks!"
Mo Do? I do not know. But I told him, "Come now, Thomas Friedman, everyone looks at you. You are the great Thomas Friedman. Why just this morning, when you went out into the hall to grab the morning paper in your shorty robe, did not the elderly woman next door shriek and scream? Because you are the great Thomas Friedman. That is why."
But Thomas Friedman did not answer me. He was curled in the fetal position and sucking his thumb. He has been that way for the last three hours and I am really starting to worry.
Thomas Friedman expects me to have the kitchen floor scrubbed each day before dinner and it is already half-past five.