When you are engulfed in David Sedaris

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This evening found me in Baltimore with a friend getting to see a live performance by David Sedaris, one of the funniest writers I know. I was afraid that seeing him would be one of those exercises where the author just reads the stuff everyone knows, trying to promote his new book (it IS a book tour, after all), and very little of it would be fresh. However, I was very happily mistaken and had heard nothing previously of the material that he read tonight.

One of the highlights was an excerpt from a story where he is talking how he and his long-time companion Hugh split the household tasks:

"Hugh will plaster up a wall that needs fixing, and I will make armor for dead, dried up bees out of tin foil."

Another was where he discussed the present election, saying that those who are undecided reminded him of airline meal choices:

'I don't know that it was always this way, but, for as long as I can remember, just as we move into the final weeks of the Presidential campaign the focus shifts to the undecided voters. "Who are they?" the news anchors ask. "And how might they determine the outcome of this election?"

Then you'll see this man or woman -- someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. "Well, Charlie," they say, "I've gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can't seem to make up my mind!" Some insist that there's very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they're with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with broken glass in it?"

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.'

The readings were great, and afterwards we waited on line for about an hour to get a few books signed. The line wasn't really that long, but when we got up to the front it became obvious why the line moved so slowly--Sedaris takes his time talking to each person, asking odd questions (he asked me casually "so, what's the last animal you killed with your bare hands?" to which I replied, "well, there was this kodiak bear in the living room the other day I had to dispatch..." That earned me a laugh.)

He also takes his time writing in people's books. Mine says "To Paul, Diabetes is for lovers", which, really, does say it all, doesn't it?

I asked him for some advice at this point on the whole bee-armor thing, saying that when I make my bee armies, and have them fight with the wasp armies, the legs get brittle and tend to fall off. He sagely suggested that I just accept this as part of the battle and instead of worrying about it, I use that as the measuring stick to determine the winner.

See? Helpful, as well as insightful and funny. What more could one ask for?

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This page contains a single entry by published on October 5, 2008 11:02 PM.

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