Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Can you hear Thomas Friedman?

So my husband the not so great Thomas Friedman has been trying desperately to reach Patti. She won't take his calls. The choice between Friedman or her cats was an amazingly easy one for Pats.

That hasn't stopped Thomas Friedman from sneaking out of bed, grabbing the portable phone, hiding out in the walk in closet and screaming to her answering machine, "Are you there!!! Can you hear me!!!! Patti, can you hear me now!!!!"

If it weren't all so pathetic, it wouldn't be so laughable. Which is a lot like one of Thomas Friedman's columns if you stop and think about it.

"Calling All Luddites" is in fact that the title of his latest. If someone doesn't know what a Luddite is, they shouldn't feel too bad. I'm not sure Thomas Friedman knows. It's not like he provides a definition. Luddites, as I understand it, first was a term for workers in England who, unhappy with the Industrial Revolution, began going after the machines.

The only Luddite I personally know is Thomas Friedman who dismisses my calls for a dishwasher ("Bettina, you are the dishwasher!"), a washing machine, a food processor or anything beyond that non-electric "sweeper" as bad for the environment. Which seems a lot of hog wash if you want my opinion because as he goes through one styrofoam cup after another each day, or one aerosol can of hairspray a week, thoughts of the environment don't seem to penetrate his head. Maybe the increasing number of added highlights cause thoughts to bounce off?

Thomas Friedman finally met a real, living, breathing fan today. Or at least someone who knew his name and knew his writing and walked up to say, "I've always wanted to meet you Thomas Friedman."

His chest swelling with pride and pomposity, Friedman wavered between dignified and giddy (and really just came off looking squeamish throughout).

"Of course, of course," he insisted extending his hand.

"Why do you hate America?"

Thomas Friedman's mouth dropped at the question.

Then the man, looking closely at Thomas Friedman, asked him if he was drunk or had pink eye. That's a question I've often wondered.

Stomping his feet and screaming like a banshee, Thomas Friedman quickly gathered quite a crowd. Even for Central Park, Thomas Friedman's actions were "exotic."

I was picturing him being carted off to Bellvue and weighing the options of that. Then I realized that getting him out would take tremendous work on my part because proving him crazy was a much easier task than proving him sane.

So with everyone watching Thomas Friedman throw a tantrum, I whispered in his ear, "The crowd wants your Sybill!" Immediately, Thomas Friedman found his focus. He grinned at me, nodded as he loosened his tie and began his monologue:

Oh look at you painted up in your little halter top, you're nothing but a litle slut. I'm a Puerto Rican lady senor. You're nothing but a little slut Sybill Ann Dorsett. I'm not a slut. I'm not a slut. I'm not a slut. I ain't no slut!

While he did this, I stood behind him circling my finger around my forehead to indicate that he was nuts. When he finished, I started clapping and others joined in out of pity.

Thomas Friedman strode out of the park feeling quite proud of himself.

"The thing is, Betinna," Thomas Friedman boasted, "you have to be able to reach people. Me, I can do that. I'm the thing you see on the Home Shopping Network that there's only a limited number of and by the time your call's finally answered, I'm all gone."

"Yeah, crap," I said.


Covering, I pointed to some dog poo up ahead and immediately Thomas Friedman went back to explaining how lucky the world was to have him and why that is. Some days, I wish Patti would answer his phone calls. Can you hear him?

Better question, would you want to?