Saturday, June 24, 2006

Thomas Friedman Wants It Hot

I met a woman who comes into NYC to work. She's here five days a week. She goes to her office from nine to five after arriving on the train and she leaves on the train each weekend.

She told me NYC has too much crime and nothing to do. She blamed it on the tax policies of the city which she feels place too much burden on corporations.

She's not a tax attorney or anyone who studies the issue of taxes (professionally or personally), she's not law enforcement or anyone who follows trends in crimes. She had quite a lot to say about life in NYC and about the makeup of NYC.

Why am I talking about her? Well why did my husband Thomas Friedman devote his Wednesday column ("Latin America' s Choice") to what Gabriel Rozman "a Jewish technologist of Hungarian roots who was raised in Uruguay, educated in America and now heads the Latin American operations of India's biggest software/outsourcing company, Tata Consultancy Services of Mumbai" thought of Peru?

Did he think that there weren't enough outsiders weighing in on Peru? I count two: himself and Rozman. The average person, someone who really knows life in Peru? Not represented. But then if they weren't in charge of the "biggest software/outsourcing company," they might not back up all his tired and dated thoughts. (Not to mention xenophobic.) Wednesday, he pulled on the black turtleneck, tossed on the brown beret and headed to my campus. He wasn't greeted very warmly.

The answer, he decided, was that he needed a blog. "But I'm so busy!" he whined. Repeatedly.
I was attempting to do some homework for class and ignoring him. Finally he cut to the chase.

"Betinna, I know you keep a diary on our computer. Have you considered posting it?"

"Posting it?" I asked.

"Yes, I think the world would embrace me tighter if they knew about me," he explained. "And someone like you, who knows how great I am, would be the best person to do a blog."

"Thomas Friedman, what do you think I write about?"

"My bon mots. My funny observations. My generous nature. My keen insight. My wonderful abilities as a lover. My delicious body . . ."

He was still listing but I was trying to remember when we last had sex? I think it was August of 2005. And it wasn't all that to begin with which is why I had to really think to remember.

"Thomas Friedman," I said interupting his lenghty description of his physique, "I really don't have that kind of time. I'm immersed in a new world and need to focus on that."

"If you loved me," he said sticking out his bottom lip, "you'd make time."

"You're probably right," I agreed returning to my studies.

Then, smarting over the fact that despite all the lies he's told the last two weeks, Amy Goodman interviewed Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena and not him on Thursday -- that seemed to bother him the most since "I am Mr. International!"

Apparently, there was a contest and he sang his mantra, "Gotta Be This Or That," decked out in spandex and sequins. I'm sure he dusted off some of the Garland magic and his eyes misted over as they placed the crown on his head.

"Thomas Friedman, Sgrena was kidnapped in Iraq, when she was finally safe and headed for the airport, her car was attacked by the US military resulting in wounds and at least one person dead," I snapped.

Thomas Friedman began listing off the various heads of business and finance he'd gone golfing with. I grabbed the remote and turned up the volume. Apparently the remote control works not only the TV but Thomas Friedman's mouth as well because he just got louder. Thinking I might be onto something in an Adam Sandler "Click" kind of way, I tried the "mute" button but, sadly, it only worked on the TV.

"Yes, Thomas Friedman, you are quite the social butterfly. I'm sure when Amy Goodman wants to explore the subject of corporate heads and the journalists who stroke them, your name will be the first one she thinks of."

He pouted and headed for the Charlie Rose discussion board where he always has time to post under an alias and praise himself. Then, much later, he spent about five minutes churning out his column for Friday ("The World Is Hot").

Friday, after class, Dona asked me what he was talking about?

I think too much time is spent trying to figure out the subtext. People always place some deep meaning to his columns. That's simply not the case. He was bleaching his wig further, on Thursday, and went too far. It looked like white cotton candy. He couldn't stop crying. Finally, I grabbed the thing, cut a few sections, curled a few spots and plopped it on his head.

"Dry your eyes, princess, and look in the mirror," I said.

He did and beamed as he dabbed his tears away.

"I look just like Marilyn in 'Some Like It Hot'!" he cried excitedly.

Well, Marilyn was attractive and didn't have a mustache, but, yes, the wig did look like her hair in that film.

"Some Like It Hot" led to "The World Is Hot." The confusion over the column may have resulted from the argument he was attempting to make which was not very Thomas Friedman-like. He was going for Marilyn's character in "The Misfits" who tries to make a comment on the brutality against animals but bascially ends up screaming, "Stop it! It's hurting us all!"

He did a pretty good job of channeling that character, actually. But that doesn't mean I'm staying up all night listening to him strum the ukulele while he coos "Running Wild."

I told him, "Thomas Friedman, you full figured boys need to stick together. When you want to show off your song and dance skills, go to Simon Rosenberg."

He said he would but Simon's left his "Farrah phase" and is now "soaking up Cheryl Ladd." He assured me that the new one length wig was "fabulous" and that Simon has a "killer" version of "Think It Over." I told him I'd take his word for it but I needed to get back to sleep.

He tapped me on the shoulder and said he wanted to share one more thing. Groaning I rolled over as he said he wanted to talk about the Senate.

I perked up for a minute thinking he might want to discuss the two resolutions (one weak, one strong) the Democrats tried to pass this week. I waited as he stared off into space, tilted his head (to make sure I noticed the mole he'd been applying in his quest to be the new Marilyn Monroe) and then finally spoke.

"There a 100 members of the Senate. That's a quarter of a centruy. Makes a girl think."

It wasn't a "quarter of a century," but I recognized the line and decided the sooner I played along, the sooner I'd be able to get back to sleep.

"About what?"

"About the future. Millionaires. Flocks of them. They all go south for the winter. Like birds."

"Go to bed, Sugar," I told him. "You need your beauty sleep."