Friday, April 22, 2005

The Beef Sizzles on the Grill

The Beef Sizzles on the Grill. That was what I titled Thomas Friedman's column that the paper ran today. I wish they had gone with my title. Thursday, Thomas Friedman was jazzercising and backed into the gas heater. Burned his big old heinie.

I was writing the column at the time and after I got done spraying his rump with Bactine, I thought, "The Beef Sizzles on the Grill," that is the title.

So Thomas Friedman greets me Thursday morning waving three bottles of vitamins in front of me. "Do you want these, Bettina?" Of course I did. I could have one bottle before the column, one bottle while I wrote the column and one bottle after.

I wish my body did not crave the vitamin C so much. But it does. Who would have thought that something you have gone your whole life without could become so important once you were introduced to it? I said that Thomas Friedman and he said, "The global econmy! Just as the people living in huts do not know of Old Navy, when it comes to their area, they must have it because the world is flat and . . ."

"Who is writing this column, Thomas Friedman?"

He stopped dicatating and asked me what I needed. I asked for a manual. Finally, he showed up with the New York Times ethics guidelines. So I read that and found out that op-ed writers for the Times could not endorse a candidate. Knowing how wiley Thomas Friedman is, I thought, "There it is! He will endorse Tony Blair and even though his column will be carried overseas, he will not get in trouble because he is the great Thomas Friedman. It is as though he is grabbing the hem of his shorty robe and mooning the world."

I figured Thomas Friedman could identify with Tony Blair for a number of reason, chief among them the fact that both are goofy looking men with strange teeth whose wives are far more interesting than they could ever be.

I actually said that to Thomas Friedman and he laughed, "Oh my little, saucy, tropical Tina Brown, everyone knows who is the Sir Harold Evans in this marriage."

I don't know about that but I do know if they made a moving picture of our lives, I know who would be played by Halle Berry and who would be played by Rick Moranis.

I also figured Thomas Friedman would identify with Tony Blair because they both lack frineds. So when I wrote that the left didn't like Blair and the right didn't either, I was really talking about Thomas Friedman.

When I wrote, "Tony Blair, by contrast, dines alone," I'm really talking about Thomas Friedman, there too. And how did I think up the "dined alone?" Easy, while I was writing, Thomas Friedman was jazzercising to Cher and kept bleating, "Sooner or later, we all sleep alone."

Thomas Friedman strongly identifies with Cher. He feels they are both "dark beauties" who've had a lot to overcome. I don't know about that comparison. For one thing, when Cher wears one of those jaw dropping outfits, she's trying to shock you. Thomas Friedman, on the other hand, truly thinks those polyester suits from Sears, circa the late-seventies, are the height of fashion.

There's also the fact that Cher overcame Sonny and Sonny didn't overcome Cher so I'm having a hard time seeing Thomas Friedman as Cher. Was that confusing? I fear I have written like him so long that I am unable to write clearly anymore?

Thomas Friedman is a on a jazzercise kick because his publicist told him he looked "unusually jowly." After Thomas Friedman took that phone call, he was so depressed. Within an hour, he was telling me and anyone who called that his publicist had called him to congratulate him on being "unusally cheeky." I can't wait to hear how he turns the publicist's "fat ass" comment around.

So Thomas Friedman has been jazzercising but he does not like that word. Thomas Friedman says he is calorie burning at an accelrated rate. To Cher blasting from the stereo with Thomas Friedman singing along. I said, "Thomas Friedman, that is jazzercising." Thomas Friedman did not stop from throwing his hands in the air as he did a dance step and told me I did not know what I was talking about.

Actually, Thomas Friedman said, "What do you know from McFries and Carl Junior burgers?"

Then it was time for his can-can kicks as he told me, "This is a high energy, calorie burning, manly excercise."

But what I do know?

I know that I am sneaking water when Thomas Friedman is not paying attention. I am exceeding the daily water allotment he has set for me. It must be the water that makes talk so quickly and mix metaphors, but on paper, Thomas Friedman pronounced it perfection.

Or as he put it, "My Eliza Dolittle just went shopping on Rodeo Drive and none of the snooty salesgirl scoffed!"

I also made a point to work myself into the column because I think I am pretty important to his life even if he usually does not mention it. So when I had him talking about how Tony Blair's wife didn't agree with him about the war, I added "I know that feeling!"

I just wanted a little attention for myself, Bettina Friedman. I am the woman behind the man. Literally when we are playing Iraqi invasion or when he is playing himself and I am playing Bill Keller.

I got a shock yesterday when a call came in yesterday. The woman asked if I was the maid and I said, "Uh no, I am the wife." She immediately apologized and gave me her name: Gail Collins.
Gail Collins. All that time I though Thomas Friedman was speaking of a Gale named Collins. A natural disaster. When I told Thomas Friedman that later, he replied, "Well have you seen her?"

Thomas Friedman thought that was very funny but I did not get it. He stopped laughing when I told him Gail Collins had called the column "perfection" and Thomas Friedman's best Friedman-ism.

Thomas Friedman made a point to tell me that he had spoken to five cab drivers of various nationalities, several people at a deli and half the U.N. and they all felt the column missed something and wasn't quite up to standard. I got so mad that he made that Eliza Dolittle comment.

I do not know why he calls me do-little. I do plenty. He is the one who is sitting on his special pillow watching TV.

If it weren't for the three bottles of vitamins he is giving me each day, I do not know how I would find the time to was the hard wood floors in his office and in our bedroom, scrub the kitchen floors and bathroom tile, squeeze his prune juice every hour on the hour when he screams, "Prune me! Daddy's feeling blocked!" or do any of the other things I do.

But the last two days, I am just raring to go. I think the vitamin C may finally be kicking in. I just wish my mouth wasn't so dry all the time.