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.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Thomas Friedman and I had a fight but he is such a great man he forgave me

I do not feel well. My husband, the great Thomas Friedman, and I had a very loud, very angry fight this afternoon.

It all seems so hazy now so I may leave something out. I apologize. But as I remember it, one minute I was washing Thomas Friedman's silk boxers in the sink because they can only be hand washed as he tells me and I was looking through the Sunday magazine because Thomas Friedman says doing the crossword will help my English when I suddenly came across an article by my husband Thomas Friedman.

There was so much that made me angry that even if I was not hazy, I doubt I would be able to remember all of it. Thomas Friedman would say that is because I am a "bird brain" and do not finish my homework. He is still upset with me for getting a bit of drool on Longitudes and Attitudes when I fell asleep reading it last Wednesday. But it is a long book.

Thomas Friedman said, "Excuses are like assholes and as long as you keep touching that one, you can keep touching mine." As I was up to my knuckle, I made the mistake of smarting off and asking, "Could you please tell me, Thomas Friedman, what is a sexual slave?"
He got so mad he almost made me remove my finger.

Then he told me I needed more vitamins. I have never taken so many vitamins in my life. Thomas Friedman says that is because I grew up disadvantaged and he has rescued me. He told me that again during our fight when he insisted I take more vitamins and he upped my dosage.

Vitamin C makes me really happy but it confuses me too. I hope I am not allergic. Thomas Friedman says that I just grew up deprvied and did not get enough exposure to citrus fruits growing up so my body is adjusting now.

But I read his article or part of it and just grew so mad. He says right off the bat that he whispered to his wife "The world is flat." And he did not do that.

Then I read about some man named Nilekani saying to Thomas Friedman, "Tom, the playing field is beling leveled." Tom? Thomas Friedman does not let me call him Tom. I am his wife and he does not even let me call him "Thomas." I must always call him "Thomas Friedman." He says that is custom but now he is letting this man, this stranger call him Tom?

And at the bottom of the second page, I read that he has a new book coming out and my first thought is, "I have not finished Thomas Friedman's last book! After I finish washing out his silk boxers, I still have to take all the ketchups he brought home from McDonald's and squeeze them from the packets into the large empty bottle because he says fine eating places like McDonald's have a better quality of ketchup than anything you can buy in a store." That may be true but my fingers ache from doing the same with mayonaise packets and from the hot sauce packets he picked up at Taco Bell.

I say to him, "Thomas Friedman, when your friends took us to Elaine's Friday, there were no ketchup packets to be seen."

Thomas Friedman explained that his friends cannot afford the finer places that he takes me too. And that since they insist upon picking up the check to have the honor of bragging that they dined with Thomas Friedman, he cannot very well suggest that they take him to McDonald's or Sonic or Taco Bell or any of the other high class places he takes me. I am sorry that his friends do not have the money he has.

But I have asked for a food processor forever now because Thomas Friedman is on a hummus kick and he has told me that food processors are "declasse" and that we do not waste his money on "crap." So I use this mortar and pestle to ground the sesame seeds whenever the hummus mood strikes Thomas Friedman with him urging me to be "faster" and "faster" the whole time.

As I bake bread from scratch, scrub the floors with the same toothbrush Thomas Friedman expects me to brush my teeth with, and do a hundred other activities I never had to do before in my life, I was very angry to read that he has another book coming out, a TV special, and that he had taken a lengthy trip to foreign lands.

No food processor, fine. But could we not afford me to have one toothbrush for the kitchen floors and one for my mouth?

So I threw Thomas Friedman's silk boxers down and rushed out into the living room where he sat watching TV to see if there was anything that would improve my brain and learning skills.
Yes, I realize Thomas Friedman racks up many hours in front of the TV trying to find some programs that will help educate me and I am thankful for all of his hard work but I was very, very upset.

Right away, Thomas Friedman points out that by using my toothbrush to clean the kitchen floor it is always clean because of the bleach he makes me use on the kitchen floor. Thomas Friedman told me I was being selfish again and I do not like to be selfish to someone as great as Thomas Friedman so I apologized but brought up what he wrote, what Thomas Freidman claimed he told his wife.

Thomas Friedman said to me, "Bettina, you don't think I really believe anything I write do you?" Then he chuckled loudly and I had to smile.

He went to the bathroom and got my vitamins out of the medicine cabinet. He made me take six of each. They were very difficult to swallow but Thomas Friedman says water is fattening and I should limit my intake to no more than three glasses a day and by mid-afternoon I had already had two.

After I swallowed them, I felt funny and Thomas Friedman said that was my guilt because I was raging at him. I did not remember raging too well so I just said, "Thomas Friedman, I respectfully beg your forgiveness. Please tell me how I can make it up to you."

As usual, he wanted to play Iraqi invasion. I was afraid he would want me to play Richard Perle and him play Judy Miller but Thomas Friedman pointed out that I still not fully cleaned the wig he wears when he plays Judy Miller. I apologized again saying, "Thomas Freidman, I respectfully beg your forgiveness. Please tell me how I can make it up to you."

He was in the mood to play himself for a change which is easier for him but when I have to play Bill Keller, it is a lot of work for me. I have to stoop and grovel and beg and talk about how "Thomas Friedman is the greatest writer in the world. I am not fit to edit a paper that Thomas Friedman writes for. Thomas Friedman, I would lick the sweat off your sack if you would grace me with a smile."

After about twenty minutes of that, as I was licking the sole of his feet, the vitamin C must have been too much for me. I must have blanked out. Thomas Friedman was very angry when I woke up and told me, "You've just laid there for twenty minutes so let me finish up with no interruptions."

I did just that. When he finally hollered, "Gut check time!" I giggled and Thomas Friedman got mad because I did not do the polite chuckle he has helped me learn.

I apologized and apologized and finally Thomas Friedman forgave me because Thomas Friedman is a great man and he is a fair man.

He said, "I will forgive you for now but I will not forget this and you will spend all week making up for it."

I kissed his hands repeatedly and thanked him.

Thomas Friedman shook his head and said, "Bettina, I do not know what has gotten into you lately. After all I have done for you, I would think you would behave nicer to me. Do you not realize that you were living in a hut, peddling your . . ."

"Wait," I interrupted because I was dying to tell him about my dream. I know I should never interrupt Thomas Friedman. That is rule number two on the list of rules Thomas Friedman has posted on the refrigerator. But I was excited about the strange dream I had.

Thomas Friedman was asking, "Bettina, what is rule number two?"

But I was so excited, I just plowed over Thomas Friedman and said, "Thomas Friedman, I dreamed that I was not raised in a mud hut and I did not work as a sex slave. I was raised here in the United States, I worked at a Dollar Store and my name is . . ."

That is the point at which Thomas Friedman began shoving vitamins down my throat. I was gagging but grateful because Thomas Friedman explained to me that I was having a seizure and that I needed citrus very bad.

The seizure really wiped me out and I fell fast asleep. I do not remember the dream from earlier or any dream I had when I woke up. It is now after eight o'clock and I am waiting for Thomas Friedman to return.

He left me the sweetest note:

I have to go work now because we do not live in the lap of luxury version 3.0 on just my good looks alone though my good looks do not hurt. The other day, a taxi cab driver who came from Korea told me, "Thomas Friedamn, you could live on your good looks alone." I laughed and maybe someday. I, Thomas Friedman, and Nicholas talk to Bill Safire all the time about opening a male model agency and making us his top models. Today, it is just a dream but who knows what tomorrow will bring. Do not forget to finish washing my boxers, do not forget to take care of the ketchup packets, take out the trash, polish my shoes and that I like my prune juice freshly squeezed. See you tonight.
Your husband,
Thomas Friedman the Great
P.S. Perhaps I should not have called you an example of colonialism failure in the X-box age or Third World Gidget Goes to Ruin or maybe even not a bitch? If there's anything to make up for, feel free to help yourself to a fourth glass of water while I am gone.

Is that not the sweetest love letter you have ever read? Thomas Friedman is a great man. I am lucky to have Thomas Friedman as my husband. I should go get to work on squeezing those prunes.