Is Tom acting as a proper housewife?

Acerbic essayist P.J. O'Rourke hit the nail on the head when he wrote that the main feature of the Internet is that it allows false information to go around the world at the speed of light.

I could probably prove this on a daily basis, but I generally stay off the Net. There's really nothing there for me. I don't like porn. I don't want to watch other people's home movies (especially if they involve porn), and the only thing stupider than blogging is reading other people's blogs.

However, people send me stuff in my e-mail from time to time. I'll look at most of it, unless that thing pops up and ominously asks, "Do you know who sent this mail?" I generally verbally respond, "No," and then delete it, sight unseen.

In the past couple of weeks, five or six different people have sent me the same thing. Most did so because they know that, for the past couple of decades, I have been a house-husband, taking care of my kids and writing only after their needs were attended to. OK, writing only after The Rockford Files rerun was over.

Anyway, there's this thing that's going around the Internet. Apparently it's a hoax, but if so, it's a darn good one. Supposedly, it's from a 1955 Housekeeping Monthly magazine, and it's entitled "The Good Wife's Guide." It's an absolute scream, and while most people believe that the hoaxster will never be identified, I think it's got to be the guy who wrote the stuff about uranium, Niger and Saddam Hussein in Bush's State of the Union address a few years back. It's that insanely brilliant!

You really should look this thing up for yourself (just Google Housekeeping Monthly), but I'll give you some of the highlights. When I originally read it, I put myself in the Good Wife's part, because that's been my goal for the past 20 years.

· Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return.

Since I do most of the cooking (go ahead and say it--and most of the eating) in the house, this isn't horribly off base. I've even planned ahead from time to time. So far, so good.

· Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking.

Where to begin? First off, I had kids. Where am I going to find 15 minutes? Forget the makeup; I don't have enough hair for a ribbon, and every time I try to be fresh-looking, she says, "Huh-uh!"

· Be a little gay and a little more interesting ...

I'm not so sure she'd find it all that interesting. Besides, how am I supposed to be "a little gay"? Take pointers from Anne Heche?

· Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house ... gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc., and then run a dust cloth over the tables.

Remember, the most important article ever written is the one that explains how kids who live in a moderately messy house are less likely to get sick than kids who have maids who keep a place immaculate. It's because the kids in the messy house breathe in all that gunk from tables that haven't had a dust cloth run over them, and that immunizes them from the illnesses that strike the rich kids.

· Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash their faces, comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes.

Now it's getting weird. If you start washing faces and combing hair more than once a day, what kind of corner are you painting yourself into? What am I raising, Stepford kids? A kid gets his hair combed once. If it doesn't last through the day, there's always tomorrow; we can try again.

· Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

I think I might have actually used the phrase "I sincerely desire to please you" once, and all I got was a "Huh-uh!"

· Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes.

TOUCH HER PILLOW?! Are you nuts? I'm not allowed to touch her pillow. Her shoes, maybe, under special circumstances, but her pillow? Never.

She once told me that since I'm Italian, I might be greasy. I found that remark rich in comedic opportunity, considering that her ancestors came from a few hundred miles south of here. But we were only dating, and I was hoping that after we got married, I might be able to see her naked, so I held my tongue. But, wouldn't you know it, my fingers slipped off.

· A good wife always knows her place.

As I said, this is almost certainly a hoax, but like most good hoaxes, it's somewhat based in reality. You can visualize a time when Dad was the breadwinner, Mom kept the house, and Wally and the Beav were upstairs talking about clunky girls.

If you find it all a bit twisted, join the club. But if you think it sounds oddly appealing, and it's something you might like to try, vote for Jon Kyl.

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