From “The Deflationist,” Larissa MacFarquhar’s profile of Paul Krugman (New Yorker, March 1, 2010). Krugman’s wife Robin Wells is speaking:
“As a spouse, you have your little list of things that you jokingly won’t forgive your spouse for. Right after he started writing for the Times and attacking George Bush, we got an invitation to have dinner with Paul Newman and his wife, but he wouldn’t go. And now he’s dead.”I think Krugman has it wrong. The point of having dinner with Paul Newman and “his wife” — who too has a name, Joanne Woodward — is not to be able to say that you had dinner with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The point of having dinner with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward is to have dinner with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
“It was inconvenient,” Krugman says. “I just don’t get any joy out of thinking, Oh, here I am with the movers and shakers. It would have required really discombobulating my schedule just to be able to say I’d had dinner with Paul Newman, and it’s not worth it.”
Re: that list: maybe you do.
[Post title with apologies to T.S. Eliot and J. Alfred Prufrock.]