By JIM SHEA
Out of nowhere, my wife says:
"I want to be treated better."
The demand takes me by surprise a little, but it doesn't seem like an unreasonable request. I ask her to be more specific.
"I want to be treated like Tom DeLay's wife," she says.
My mind races. Tom DeLay? Do we know any DeLays? The only Tom DeLay I can think of is the congressman from Texas, you know, Old Bug, the former exterminator turned House majority leader. It turns out he's the one.
"You know he pays his wife," she says.
I don't say anything.
"Pays his daughter, too," she says. "Which reminds me, your daughter wants to be treated like Tom DeLay's daughter."
She points out a story in The New York Times. It says that according to Federal Election Commission reports, DeLay's wife and daughter have been paid $500,000 by his political action and re-election committees since 2001.
My first thought is:
My second thought is:
I wonder what the chances are of getting Tom DeLay to adopt me?
"You know what Tom DeLay's wife does for that kind of money?" my wife asks.
I'm really not sure I want to know this, but I bite anyway.
"She provides, and I'm quoting right from the newspaper, 'big-picture, long-term strategic guidance, and helps with personnel decisions."'
In other words, she tells him what to do, which I'm thinking is what most wives do for nothing, but of course I don't say this out loud.
"Who's the big-picture person in this house?" she asks.
I shrug. I'm not sure we have a big picture.
"Who gives you long-term strategic guidance?"
She's got me there.
"Who handles personnel decisions?"
She was the one who fired the plumber.
"You know what else Tom DeLay does for his wife?" she asks.
I have no idea, but I'm sure that isn't going to last.
"He takes her on nice vacations."
I'm about to mention Cape Cod, but as it turns out it's a good thing I don't because ...
"And not just to the Cape, either. He takes her to South Korea and London. And they go first class, stay at the best hotels. You know how much they expensed for food on their London trip? Two thousand dollars each."
I'm trying to get a word in, maybe say something about not being rich, but she's on a roll.
"And don't think he takes her on these vacations because he's rich, because he doesn't even pay for them -- he has these really nice friends that take care of everything. When was the last time any of your cheap-o friends picked up a tab for anything?"
Thanks Tom, thanks for nothing.
Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service