My wife nearly left me for Iowa. And that’s been the tone so far for 2008.

My wife nearly left me for Iowa.

And that’s been the tone so far for 2008.

The problem could be that my wife and I dozed into the New Year. Barely awake, we uttered “Happy New Year” as the alarm clock on the bedside table struck midnight, and then we rolled over. To be fair, we have a 3-year-old and a 9-month-old, so at the end of the day, we have little to invest in such things as a New Year.

And the precursor to midnight was not much better. We watched reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond” (we get only basic cable) and then we tuned into Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

No offense to Mr. Clark and his toady Ryan Seacrest, but if you have to label something as “rockin’,” that’s a sure sign it won’t be. And it wasn’t. It was more limpin’.

But it was sufficient to make me feel weak and tubby. While watching pop singer Fergie, who was unimpressive, some guy dancing behind her started spinning on the stage. The next thing I knew, he was gyrating while standing on one hand. ONE HAND! I have trouble busting a move on a pair of legs -- actually I don’t so much bust a move as I do jerk a move (it’s less fun for the spectator).

This dude was basically dancing on one hand. It’s really not something you can do if you’re, say, 15 to 20 pounds overweight, which reminded me that through the holidays I gained back the six pounds I’d expelled while having what we lay people call the stomach flu.

And now I have another reason for concern. Each of those pounds I gained back is contributing to global warming.

Scientists are now looking at how our nation’s heft is causing us to use more fossil fuels.

Dr. Sheldon Jacobsen put together a documentary called “Killer at Large.” For every pound the average American is overweight, he says we use an additional 938 million gallons of gas per year. Jacobsen says the more you weigh the more energy it takes to move your vehicle. And that translates into using more fuel.

So with every Christmas cookie I ingest, I’m putting a penguin at risk.

So I enter 2008 both tubby and reckless.

And then my wife nearly left me . . . for a political rendezvous. My wife, Sharon, and I are political junkies, which means we care what the pundits say and we watch CSPAN, the political equivalent of watching paint dry. And this year’s presidential primary season is beating drying paint soundly.

My wife began anticipating watching the Iowa caucuses on television, especially on the Democratic side where people stand around and negotiate who they will support. Sharon became a fan of the caucus procedure four years ago as she watched Iowans hanging out in someone’s living room confabulating about candidates. She wanted to crawl inside CSPAN. At that point I realized my wife was either a great American or in need of a 12-step program. For now, I’m going with the “great” route.

Although things did get dicey just before the caucuses. Sharon’s discussions moved from wanting to watch the caucuses on TV to wanting to run away to Iowa to join the political circus. But she crawled back off that ledge and settled for a CSPAN showing of the events.

That’s when our 3-year-old became a big fan of caucuses. He’s discovered a love of numbers, and by love I mean fixation. He now only wants us to read books to him that have page numbers, so he can count the pages. Santa enabled this by putting a calculator in his stocking.

Anyway, as we watched the Iowans in Des Moines counting off Thursday night -- each yelling the next number when it came his or her turn -- my son’s infatuation with caucusing began.

I guess now I should worry about two members of my family seceding from Illinois to Iowa. But at least I have a four-year buffer, which gives me time to save some penguins and learn to dance on my hand. And even if Sharon flees west with our eldest son in 2012, by then I hope to be able maintain my viability as a second choice.

Tom Martin is editor of The Register-Mail. Contact him at or call 343-7181, Ext. 250.