Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Thomas Friedman Says What-What?

I spent most of the weekend trying to determine whether my husband Thomas Friedman was stark raving mad or just finding a new shade of crazy? I still don't have the answers.

He was again on his kick where Singapore is the promised land, a claim that doesn't stand up to the facts. Or up to the people who were shouting at him outside our apartment. Usually, standing outside in broad daylight, wearing only his shorty robe and foaming at the mouth, is enough to stun onlookers into silence. But his latest rants have gotten uglier and usually lead to cries of, "Screw you, you America hater!"

Fruit is frequently pelted at Thomas Friemdan though, sadly for his bowels, no one has yet to throw prunes.

Giggling, Nicky K told me it was like watching Christopher Hitchens in mid-transformation. "Howard Beale," Mrs. K corrected.

And while, like any wife who's husband's cheated on her and who's been lied to by him repeatedly so he could save pennies, I do enjoy watching the occassional rotten tomato hit him upside the face or seeing him pelted with raw eggs, a part of me does tend to worry that possibly this might be harmful to our marriage?

For instance, our landlord has taken to complaining that if Thomas Friedman is going to stand outside the building he must, absolutely must, wear underpants or he will start eviction proceedings. Surely the loss of our apartment would be harmful to our marriage.

My other big concern in that department, as Thomas Friedman went from public clown to Carrie Nations, was what does this say about me?

For too many months, as instructed by Thomas Friedman, I went around offering expressions such as "Thomas Friedman is a great man." Often times, I prefaced it with "My husband." Will people remember that and, thinking I too am crazy, start legal proceedings to have me declared incompetent? That could really hurt our marriage.

One thing that's helped our marriages has been Mrs. K's very practical advice that with reality and Thomas Friedman diverging, I should take over our finances. This has been stressful but also educational. In the first week when I felt clearly out of depths, Mrs. K suggested I speak with Paul Krugman.

I was leery. For months Thomas Friedman had informed me of Paul Krugman and the nicest way I can put it is that the thing that lurks under the bed and devours children? Paul Krugman was far worse than that.

So imagine my surprise when I met with Paul Krugman and saw that he neither had horns nor carried a pitchfork.

"I am not doing that cheapskate bastard's taxes!" was the first thing Paul Krugman said to me.

Apparently, Thomas Friedman, always stinging with a penny, had attempted that in the past.

After I explained the situation with Thomas Friedman and that I was attempting to take control of the household accounts, Dr. Krugman couldn't have been more sympathetic. At one point, however, he did throw me when he stated that he wasn't aware Thomas Friedman had remarried.

"What-what?" I asked in shock.

Realizing he had touched on a history that Thomas Friedman had failed to share with me, Dr. Krugman quickly changed the topic.

Thanks to his advice, I feel that economically speaking we are structurally sound even if we do end up getting evicted. I did, however, continue to wonder about the first marriage remark.

Then on Friday morning, Thomas Friedman was outside the building again, sans underpants again, screeching of how the end was nigh. After grabbing one of the thongs he used to show enjoy, I carried it down to him. In his current state, all he could do was pull the thong over his head and wear it as some sort of hat/hair net. Clucking to myself, I was about to leave on yet another shopping trip since I've long since learned the bed sheets he had imposed upon me as fashion wear were neither fashionable not, it turns out, intended to be worn as clothing.

I was all set to head on down to the boutique that Gail Collins had kindly suggested prior to Thomas Friedman's imposed vacation when she politely informed me that some women's clothing actually came with zippers and buttons when the world seemed to stop as I heard Thomas Friedman begin shouting about his daughter.

Thomas Friedman makes up many things. He makes up cabbies, street vendors and assorted other characters who all claim to have read him. He makes up original feelings regarding the Bully Boy and how he said "all along" that the Bully Boy would destroy the nation despite the fact that Thomas Friedman yelled louder, tossed the pom-poms higher and, in the words of Maureen Dowd, spread his legs far wider than one would assume a backseat in a Chevy would allow.

So as the dementia continues to enslave Thomas Friedman, I am rarely surprised by anything that pours out of his foaming mouth. I am wondering, however, what this talk of a daughter is about and I'm starting to get mad.