Honor Ted Kennedy by Making my Husband Pick up his Socks

09/01/2009 09:16 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Hi. I signed this petition to honor Ted Kennedy, which was delivered to senators:

"In honor of Ted Kennedy, name the reform bill that passed Kennedy's health committee 'The Kennedy Bill'." I did, however, add a minor modification -- that my husband pick up the piles of clothing and sections of 'The New York Times' he's been strewing on the floor during our 27-year marriage."

This bill is important to those of us who not only worry about medical coverage, but are forced to choose between stepping over or picking up assorted items of a man's clothing, an issue that created controversy when feminist author Fay Weldon, in a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph, advised that if a woman wants an easy life, she should pick up her husband's socks. Is this instead of, or in addition to, going to the gym?

Each time I toss a sneaker into the closet, sock into the laundry bag or "Style" section into the recycling bin, I remind myself that my husband replaces burned out bulbs, washes greasy pots, hangs photos, rearranges the food pantry, pays the bills and manages the record-keeping, has our car inspected and tops off the wiper fluid, moves furniture, handles everything electrical and digital, charges batteries for remotes and cameras, orders cartridges for our seltzer maker and maintains the espresso machine, updates my software and recovers lost data, whether in my computer or brain. You'd think someone who does all that uncomplainingly would pick up after himself.

Without an act of Congress, I will have no recourse but to lock him into our apartment and hold him hostage until he sympathizes with his captor in what's called Stockholm syndrome, becoming dependent on me for survival and guilty enough to do what I ask. But what happens if our car should run out of windshield fluid?