Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Thomas Friedman is a one-man Sylvian Learning Institute

My husband Thomas Friedman is so mad at me. He was all happy today because Nicky K. and John Tierney called to praise "his" latest column "Reaping What It Sowed." When not watching NBC's Passions, my husband Thomas Friedman spent the whole day on the phone with either Nicky K. or John Tierney, his "loyal subjects" as he calls them. (He is no longer blaming Tierney or Kristof for Gail Collins switching the op-ed schedules. He does still blame Collins and entertains thoughts of an "extreme makeover" wherein he plucks Collin's "bushy brows" forceably.)

During a commercial break in Saved by the Bell, Thomas Friedman came into the kitchen to ask of his prune juice. "Where the hell is it!" he said in his typical Friedman manner, "You're slower than Sunkist!"

As I continued squeezing the prunes, he entertained me with tall tales of a florist downtown that had told him today that he was "the most incredible columnist in the world." Then he told of a baker who informed him that he was "the most incredible columnist in the world." As he was telling me of a cabbie, I interrupted to say, "Let me guess, he said you were the most incredible columnist in the world!"

Thomas Friedman looked so mad and so hurt.

But he has worn that shortie robe all morning. Even after his grape jelly slid off his piece of toast while he watched his DVD of That Darn Cat! and I begged him to change it so I could clean the stain before it set.

As I handed him his glass of prune juice, he looked sheepish and then offered, "You did a fine job, Bettina. Obviously, I have tutored you well. I am a one-man Sylvian Learning Institute.
To think of how stupid you were only weeks ago . . ."

His voice trailed off as Thomas Friedman apparently ran out of sweet things to say.

Slamming back the glass of prune juice, Thomas Friedman then handed me the cup and asked for more and to "hurry because I think Slater's going to get some and I haven't seen this episode of Saved by the Bell before!"

I told my big-assed couch potato that it was quite easy to write the column.

"All I had to do," I said as I squeezed more prunes, "was to forget everything about human decency and the rights to self-rule, to think like a fat assed imperialist stooge and then the words just came to me."

Thomas Friedman was sputtering and stammering and then he started screaming.

"Bettina, you stupid, backward child!" Thomas Friedman hissed. "Iraq left to its own devices is nothing! We must remake the world over in our image! They are stupid children, like you, and so we must make all the decisions! We are enforcing democracy! You are just too backwards to see that! If you continue to speak like this, there will be no Iraqi invasion for you tonight!"

Another empty threat from Thomas Friedman. He is snoring loudly now that we have finished playing Iraqi invasion. Myself, I am tired of playing Chalabi and think he looks ridiculous in the Judith Miller wig. Bangs are not a good look for Thomas Friedman.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Back from my days and nights of wine and roses

Forgive me electronic diary, I have been in some sort of a black out. I still do not know all that happened in my "Days of Wine and Roses" as the great Thomas Friedman calls them. Sometimes Thomas Friedman will tell me one thing and sometimes Nicky K will tell me something else.

I am not sure whom to trust? Or as an island song of my childhood would ask, "Who's Zooming Who?" I am spotty on nearly everything that happened in the last few days. I do remember at some point working on a column on John Bolton and getting some ideas from a brilliant web site.
I remember Thomas Friedman screaming at me, "How could you?"

I do not know what I did. I think then I was at the computer pulling up a month old piece on Bill Gates and schools from a fantastic web site. Nicky K was telling Thomas Friedman, "It is not her fault!" Thomas Friedman was screaming, "No one upstages me!"

I did not even know that Thomas Friedman was in a play. I would ask him if it was a community theater but he seems very happy about the blanks in my memory.

But he was mad that someone was doing his job only better. I wonder what role he was playing and who was Thomas Friedman's understudy? I could see him as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire. Or possibly Toval in A Doll's House. Those titles just pop into my head but I can see the plays when they do. I think the island I grew up on, though backwater as Thomas Friedman says it was, must have had a very lively art scene.

Thomas Friedman showed me the column he says he did all by himself. It is on Bill Gates. I had started a thing on Bill Gates after searching on that groovy web site. So I do wonder if he has raided some of my work.

But when I tried to ask Thomas Friedman that, Nicky K. got very nasty with me. He was screaming "Darfur! Darfur!" And Thomas Friedman said, "Nicky, you do not think you discovered Darfur, do you?" Nicky K. looked like he was going to cry. He cries quite often so I know the look.

But it was weird because it was like Thomas Friedman was taking up for me to Nicky K. Usually Thomas Friedman is much more stern. One might even say bossy. Thomas Friedman says it is because left to my own devices, as a woman, I am not smart enough to write. Nicky K. agrees with that and added something about "lousy feminists!"

But today Thomas Friedman was defending me. And I felt like I was being played, is that the word in your language? "Played" is the word in my village's language.

They have teamed-tagged on me and tried to get me to write what they wanted. But here was Thomas Friedman telling Nicky K. that he didn't discover Darfur and that his screeching about it was "unbecoming" and made him sound like a "whiney little bitch."

Usually, it is me that Thomas Friedman calls a bitch. But he told Nicky K. he was sick of hearing "Darfur Darfur always Darfur!" Thomas Friedman said there are other things going on in the world. Then Thomas Friedman told me I could relax and write the column later.

He handed me a bottle of pills. They are new vitamins. I have not taken blue capsule vitamins before. I forgot to ask Thomas Friedman what the vitamins were.

"What Me Worry?" is what Thomas Friedman's column was called. The one he says he wrote. Thomas Friedman may have written the title because I would never use a title so stupid.

But it looks familiar. And when I said that, Nicky K. said, "She will mention Jane! She remembers!" Who is Jane? I do not know. She is someone else who upstaged the great Thomas Friedman. I also think she has somehow managed to outsell his new book because Nicky K. said something like, "No one wants your books anymore!"

It was getting very ugly but I just took my vitamins and watched. It was like I was floating and not in the room. Thomas Friedman walked over to Nicky K. and struck him. Nicky K. cried and squealed, "How dare you!" Thomas Friedman said, "You keep whining like a little bitch and I will treat you like one."

Nicky K. whimpered and groveled and Thomas Friedman forgave him. By that time, I had taken half the bottle of pills.

I have to get to work on Thomas Friedman's column. Thomas Friedman tells me I must have done in less than an hour because it must make tomorrow's paper.

Hearing that, I swallowed the rest of the pills in the bottle and said, "All gone-gone."

For some reason that was so funny to me. I laughed and laughed.

Then I licked my finger and used it to swipe any residue of vitamins left in the bottle.

Nicky K. hissed "Junkie!" But I do not think I look junkie. I am wearing the same fitted sheet I always wear around the house. For nights out, Thomas Friedman lets me wear a flat sheet.

I do not know what I am going to write. I wish I had more vitamins.