We've talked before about my husband, the Prince of Darkness. I've told you how he has dedicated his life to turning off lights. How he turns off the porch light before our guests have reached their cars in the driveway. And how he figured the Donald Duck night light cost 8 cents a year and pulled the plug on it.

Well, I want to correct an erroneous impression I may have left with you. There is one moment when the cost of a light is no object. It can never burn too long or too brightly. In fact, it has the only 200-watter in the entire house. I'm talking about the light by the bed he shines in my eyes when I am trying to sleep and he wants to "read a little to get sleepy."A lighthouse should have such a light. Night baseball games and operating rooms should benefit from such radiance. President Bush should have 999 more points of light just like this one.

The other night I asked, "How long are you going to read?"

He said, "Whenever I get sleepy, why?"

"Because I want to know how much No. 30 sunscreen to use on my eyelids."

"It's not that bright," he said.

"It's like looking at Queen Elizabeth in a snowstorm. It is the whitest white I have ever seen."

"Do you want me to ruin my eyes?" he asked.

"If that's what it takes," I said.

I personally do not know why it takes so much light to peruse a dull book he has been reading for three years.

Lately, a new wrinkle has evolved in his discovery of light. He has started to bring to our bed boxes of snacks and a television tuner. Even if I were not blinded by the light, the sound of him grinding up a hard pretzel in his teeth would jolt anyone out of a coma. (Did you know it takes 133 chews to masticate a small Triscuit?)

The volume on the television set is low enough to know Carson is saying something, but you don't know what. It is loud enough to hear the laughs.

I once sat up in the middle of this orgy and said angrily, "I cannot believe you are the same man who, when the power goes out, tells me God is punishing me for leaving the garage light on all night; the man who turns off the Christmas tree lights when we leave the room to answer the door."

He stopped chewing and said, "Why don't you just sit up and join me? It would be more cost-efficient if you did."

I almost punched his light out.