By Morris Newman
TIPPER and AL GORE have retired for the evening. They lie supine under the covers and are wearing pajamas, each with their respective monograms on the chest pockets.
Al: "Honey, something's been on my mind...."
Tipper: "If it's dirty, please write it down. You know I don't like to hear smutty language."
Al. (chuckling): "No, hon, nothing like that. Those fires are banked for the night. I'm just wondering if we blew enough insulation into this house."
Tipper (lecturing tone): "Albert, we have 300 cubic yards of insulation in this house. Plus we live in Tennessee, not Wasilla. It's never below 50 degrees."
AL: "I know, I know. It's just that this house is so… freakin' gi-normous. Sometimes I don't see you for days."
Tipper: "It's true. But, then again, it's not even the biggest on the block!" (coyly): "Did you miss me?"
Al (Aside):"That's a whole 'nother matter." (To TIPPER): "'Course I do, honey, 'specially after nine holes of golf in the Northeast Living Room. And sure I love it when you fix me a barbecue tofu sandwich after a long hike up the main staircase... It's just that something's been eating me...."
Tipper (Aside): "A great white shark could eat half of you and you'd never miss it." (To AL) "We've been married 40 years, honey. You can tell me anything."
Al: "Well, I'm sorry, hon, but your footprint's too big."
Tipper (sitting bolt upright): "You told me you loved my big feet. I'm quoting you: 'Aw, hon, I even love your big ol' feet.' Remember?"
Al (distantly): "Well, people say a lot of things when they're in love."
Tipper (crossing her arms and beginning to cry): "Now you're saying you didn't mean it!"
Al: "This is not about your feet, hon. It's your footprint. (Sotto Voce): The bad kind."
Tipper (her eyes widen): "I don't know where those footprints came from!"
Al: "You only have one footprint, darling."
Tipper: "Most people have two feet, Julep Tulip."
Al: "Yes, but only one carbon footprint. And yours is the size of the Chickamauga Reservoir. Shaquille O'Neal could swim in it without touching bottom."
Tipper: "Oh! That footprint! I thought you were talking about some other kind of footprints...."
Al (alarmed): "What other footprints could there be, Smother Bunny?"
Tipper (looking away from him): "Oh, you know. Those muddy footprints of Size 18 boots that were found in my Northeastern Boudoir....".
Al (surprised): "The Nor'easter? Does that place still exist?"
Tipper (licking her lips): "Does it ever!"
Al: "I don't like the sound of this."
Tipper: "I met someone..."
Al (in self-righteous anger): "You met someone?"
Al: "Was he Vice President of the United States? A Nobel laureate? An Oscar winner? Did get more popular votes than George W. Bush in a presidential election?"
Tipper: "No. None of those. But he has a diesel-burning 18-wheeler, with three tail pipes, one for each greenhouse gas. He practices slash and burn agriculture in rain forests. He keeps a large herd of cows, and feeds them food that gives them gas. He has an old airplane without any wheels, propped up on blocks in the front yard, and he just loves to run the engine to see much fuel he can burn. He installed the seal on the Deepwater Horizon!"
"Want me to go on?"
Al (aghast): "Tipper, how could you? What will the Washington establishment think, not to mention the snarky headline that Matt Drudge will think of: IRREMEDIABLE RELATIONSHIP, or maybe MARRIAGE AS SUPERFUND SITE."
Tipper: "You're worried about other people's opinions? Well, I'm tired of being repressed. I'm not a role model. I gave that up with dirty rock song lyrics."
Al (surprised): "Oh, you're THAT Tipper Gore? I should have put two and two together."
Tipper: "You were too busy reading Merleau-Ponty to pay attention to your wife. Well, I've been finding out who I am, exploring the inner me. And you know what I've learned about myself, Al? I love climate change deniers. They're bad boys, and I like bad boys. The haters on AM radio, the blowhards on FOX News that don't let you get a word in edgewise. Men who are not afraid to decorate their cowboy hats with little tea bags hanging from the brim. Men who are… real Americans."
AL stares blankly.
Tipper: "You're too good for me, Al. I want to be dirty. Too hell with sustainabilla--, or sustainabulla--. Hell, I can't even say the word."
Al: "You could just say 'green building practices,' hon—"
Tipper: "Listen to me, Al. I want to be bad. I want to dig up every ancient deposit of carbon-based life forms and BURN it. I want the sky to turn black, while I cling to the hairy back of a man who's racing as 1000-cc hog, belching out enough particulate matter to kill all the deer in Tennessee."
Al: "No, honey, that's wrong. That kind of behavior does not take the future into account."
Tipper: "What's the future ever done for us? What if the Mayan calendar turns out to be right, and we all go poof in 2011? You'll have saved the whole world for nothing. And think of all the fun we'll have missed."
Al: "Honey, Camus says we must do what is morally right, whether or not our efforts succeed...."
Tipper (using a husky voice): "Oh, Camus! God, what a good-looking man, with that trench coat, those mother-me eyes and the cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth. Oh, kill me, Meursault, kill me for no reason at all!"
Al: "What happened to the church-going, marriage-affirming, gangsta-rap-hating, no dirty-talkin', stand-by-her-man Tipper? What happened to her?"
Tipper: "I've paid my dues. I'm done playing Number Two. It's time for me to be me. I want to pollute. I want to turn the whole Tennessee Valley into a landfill."
Al: "Tell me this isn't happening! You'll do great damage to the environmental movement."
Tipper: "That's right, Al. I want to live, even if it means trashing your legacy...."
Al (attempting to regain his dignity): "Well, if that's how you feel about it, I'll prepare the text of a mass email..."
Tipper: (softly) "I'm sorry, hon. It's better this way."
(AL stands up stiffly, shakes TIPPER's hand, and leaves the bedroom. Enter GEORGE CLOONEY through the window, via grappling hook.)
Clooney (glimmering): "Well, that could have been worse. Still, you did lay it on a bit thick with the despoiling the earth stuff."
Tipper: "It was the only way I could tell him without hurting him...Despoil the earth? Hah! I can't even stand dirt under my fingernails. It costs a fortune to pay someone to clean them for me...."
Clooney: "Well, darlin', are you ready to go?"
Tipper: "Oh yes, darling, yes."
Clooney: "Well, okay now!" (He whistles loudly, and a team of eight white horses appear, drawing an ornate carriage.) "Are you sure you're going to comfortable in a Hollywood mansion of only 20,000 square feet?"
Tipper: (rising from the bed) "If you are there, my prince, I can endure anything... Just get me out of this house, this endless house! I want to see the world again, the blue sky, the trees!"
Clooney: "Well, you're the boss." He holds the carriage door open while Tipper gracefully climbs inside, followed by George. The horses start pulling the carriage off stage.
Tipper: "Are you sure you're not hungry, Georgie? I could make you a barbecue tofu sandwich...."