"I think that children are like animals that don't have any natural predators left and they're just not afraid of anything...."
"I always thought when you got to be a certain age, you’d give anything to be younger. But I am so excited to be dead in, like, 20 years. Because there’s not much more of this I can take."
What is David Sedaris reading?
I have 7 TikToks selected for you tonight, and I think they kind of go together. In any event, some people love them!
2. Elizabeth Taylor on "What's My Line?"
3. The child is perhaps outraged not to be asked to join in.
4. When you, an audiobook user, order a used David Sedaris book so you'll have something for him to sign, and the book that's sent is one that David Sedaris has already signed.
5. The videos David Wain doesn't remember making but obviously did make, in the middle of a sleeping-pill-induced night's sleep.
6. It's Moby's birthday, and he's playing "Happy Birthday" in 5 genres.
7. Copying runway fashion with materials you find around the house.
"Tonight, he perfectly panfried two veal chops the size of snowshoes and served them with risotto and pre-natal zucchini."
"Sage was used, and, as is his habit, he took great care spooning the life-giving drippings onto the meat. Like always, we ate at the table, which was set and had candles on it.... We usually sit down for dinner between 9:30 and ten. I like to eat until I hate myself.... I once ate an entire 12-ounce can [of Aunt Ruby’s peanuts] in one sitting, hoping I’d get eternally sick of them, the way I did with Goldfish crackers when I was 6. No such luck, though. Aunt Ruby’s peanuts are my weakness. I cannot resist them, and so I have to do things like eat salads and fish and diet Jell-O in order to fit them into my life. I have to walk a minimum of 15 miles a day and do these sad little exercises all morning otherwise I would be massively overweight, which is something I like on other people, just not on myself."
From "David Sedaris Eats Until He Hates Himself/'Too much lunch puts me in a stupor, but at night, I really take the gloves off'" by David Sedaris (Grub Street).
I love David Sedaris. I even bought Aunt Ruby's peanuts in the middle of reading the article. Of course, I'm reading his new book — that is, I'm listening to the audiobook for the 4th time. Chapter 9 — "Highfalutin" — was recorded at the show he did here in Madison, so I am personally, minusculely, present in the recording.
Ah! It's finally here: "Yelp Reviews of Xmas" by David Sedaris.
I heard this story read aloud when Sedaris did his show here in Madison 2 weeks ago. He said it would be in The New Yorker "next week," so I've been looking and looking. Finally! I love the whole thing, but the part I've been wanting to quote is beyond humor and startlingly dark.
Oh! The part I've been waiting to tell you about is not in the short bit that The New Yorker published. It was about abortion. It's hard to explain how a harsh view of abortion could have fit into the comical idea of Yelp reviews of Christmas, but let me try.
The fictional Yelp reviewer criticized Christmas for causing the abortion clinic to be closed and, from there, manifested her outrageously self-centered character. She wanted the abortion for Christmas so she could — am I remembering this correctly?! — give it as a present to her ex.
It was way over the top, to the point where it would upset pro-abortion readers, because it wasn't just the usual refraining from discussing what is happening to the child as murder. The woman reveled in murdering the child. I thought: I need to see this in print.
From the version of the story that made it into The New Yorker, there's a 1-star review: "I like Christmas, except it has too many nuts in it and I’m allergic. There are nuts in the cookies—not all, but some—and even in the songs! I don’t think this is fair to people such as myself. Christmas needs to be more inclusive."
The Overture Center's "Evening With David Sedaris," originally slated for April 27, 2020, finally took place last night.
I adore David Sedaris — and listen to his audiobooks probably more than anyone — so I'd bought 2 tickets, for me and Meade. But when the rescheduled date finally came around, there was some new fine print: "All who enter building must wear a face mask and show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test with a photo ID."
It's stuffy inside that mask, and it's harder to laugh out loud. Some of the laughing in an audience is social. You want to be seen to be laughing, enjoying yourself, but if your mouth isn't seen, you don't have to bother with that. You can just laugh in your head, the way you do when you're traipsing around the city, listening to David Sedaris through headphones.
But it was the second part of that fine print that was truly irksome, and that caused the seat next to me to be empty. I was willing to show my papers — photo ID and vaccination card — but Meade was not. We went up to the gate together. I thought we might both make it through, but the gatekeepers performed the duty imposed on them, and Meade stayed behind. We reunited after the show.
Sedaris did a Q&A with the audience at the end, but I didn't have the nerve to raise this issue with him. He did at one point talk about how he's been traveling since September and has seen 60 different American cities on this tour. Things are different in different places. Milwaukee, he said, was completely open. No masks. But he didn't say what he thought of the sea of masked faces he had to look at here in Madison. He did say — more generally about Covid — that 700,000 Americans had died, and — mournful pause — he didn't get to pick any of them.
About Madison, he said he'd walked along the shore of Lake Mendota and loved the sound of the ice clinking against the shoreline. Here's a video I made on December 20, 2014, recording that sound:
"When gay men and lesbians come up, I say, 'Where do you stand on the word "queer"?' The young people are like, 'I love it.' It’s their word. I hate it."
Said David Sedaris, quoted in "David Sedaris Knows What You’ll Laugh at When No One Is Judging" (NYT).
"British Airways has advised pilots and cabin crew not to refer to passengers as 'ladies and gentlemen' in onboard announcements as the carrier celebrates the 'diversity and inclusion' of its customers...."
That caught my eye because I was just reading a diary entry from 2017 in David Sedaris's new "Carnival of Snackery" about the decision to get rid of "Ladies and gentlemen" in announcements on the London Underground:
There’s something sad about this to me. It’s like a casual Friday for language, only it’s not just on Friday. I rather liked being thought of as a gentleman. Yes, I’d think whenever I heard it, I believe I’m up for this.
The new announcements, he writes, would begin “Hello, everyone.”
You know, it's funny that "Ladies and gentlemen" lasted as long as it did. Even 60 years ago, it sounded old fashioned. It was corny announcer-talk. It seemed to imagine an audience that was much more dressed up and proper than the people who'd actually shown up. It added some humorous grandeur or an edge of hucksterism. And that was long before any complicated gender critique bubbled up in the culture.
ADDED: Milton Berle used to say "Ladies and germs" as a joke.