I am an insurgent in my own marriage.
That thought hit me Tuesday as I was picking up my husband Thomas Friedman's tube socks and BVDs off up the floor. Not all on the floor, mind you. Thomas Friedman can never seem to carry anything to the hamper in the bathroom. He is, however, handy at hanging his dirty underwear from door knobs. It appears to be his idea of a cute little greeting. Some spouses leave little love notes, Thomas Friedman leaves his not so tight and not so white y-fronts.
I was attempting to get the stains out when Thomas Friedman came stomping into the kitchen, in his shorty robe, natch.
"Bettina," he screeched in that nasal tone that I've come to loathe more than any other sound, "I need help!"
"And I need a vacation," I thought but did not say.
He stuck out his chest and cleared his throat although he failed to check his ego. As he blathered on in that self-deluded, self-important manner, I pictured his mustache springing to life and tightening around his neck.
He read his first sentence, "On the question of whether China's Cnooc oil company should be permitted by the U.S. government to purchase the U.S. oil and gas company Unocal, my view is very simple: let the market rule."
Right away I burst out laughing.
Thomas Friedman grinned proudly.
"I wasn't sure it started off funny enough!" he declared with no sense of modesty.
"My view is very simple" is pretty damn funny and pretty damn true when it comes to Thomas Friedman but I didn't say that.
What I said was, "It's priceless."
He droned on and I fantasized about his mustache turning into two fists that took turns punching his smug face. I left my fantasy long enough to hear "If I seem uninterested in this matter, I am."
Honesty always is the best problem. And isn't Thomas Friedman always uninterested if the subject isn't him.
"It's funny?" Thomas Friedman asked excitedly.
"Hilarious," I told him.
He got to some phrase that was overreaching even for him, something about "Tiananmen-Texas Bargain."
It was clumsy, even for him. Usually he's just corny as he reaches for his puns but this one wasn't even worth a groan.
Naturally, I praised it and told him he must leave it in.
"We are Siamese twins, but most unlikely ones - joined at the hip, but not identical. That's a problem."
Did that sentence even work medically? I don't think so. But of course I told him it was one of his finest moments.
So Wednesday, his column was in the paper. And I'd reassured any doubts he'd had.
People are scratching their heads over this. Some are saying that Thomas Friedman has finally lost it. Finally?
What's that supposed to mean? Like he was the picture of sanity prior?
As someone who has hand washed his under things, I don't see him as the model of sanity. A grown man who appears unable or unwilling to use toilet paper when it's needed?
I see him as an overgrown baby. And not just due to all of his sex games where I have to put on the Peggy Noonan mask while he pretends he is William Safire and I have to change his adult diapers.
He got a call from Gail Collins today. She wanted to discuss his Friday column.
"She is checking in, she is making me give her approval over my columns!" Thomas Friedman roared after he had slammed down the phone. "Me! The great Thomas Friedman! Her knowledge of editing consists of staring at the McDonald's menu and thinking up other ways to use 'Mac' as a prefix!"
The might Thomas Friedman is not so mighty now.
He has been brought down. By his own ego.
I used it against him. And I realize now that I am an insurgent in my own marriage.