Does that make him the murderer, or do the homemade curtains reduce him to the level of the child molester?
February 17, 2007 2:33 AM   Subscribe

The Way We Are: David Sedaris makes coffee with tea while ruminating on identity
posted by Blazecock Pileon (37 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for the post, as I would not have found this otherwise. Cheers!
posted by malaprohibita at 4:52 AM on February 17, 2007

While I cant imagine why anyone would want coffee when there was perfectly good tea around, this some funny stuff
posted by cubby at 5:08 AM on February 17, 2007

Wow, fantastic story. I've never seen put to print the bizarre situations you often find yourself in when buying weed, parachuting into the strange and often sad lives of the people who sell the stuff.

And just this morning, not 2 hours ago, I was dipping into 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' for the first time -I bought it at a thrift store a few weeks ago. I read a story here and there and realized that it's actually pretty patchy. There are stories that are brilliant and hilarious, but also a few that seem more belaboured, like filler. I was wondering if maybe Mr Sedaris was a little over-rated, but now, with a single one link FPP, you've laid waste to this idea.
posted by Flashman at 5:09 AM on February 17, 2007

Uh, this is some funny stuff. I have not yet had my tea.
posted by cubby at 5:09 AM on February 17, 2007

supercute. Sedaris pleases me. Although I would've smacked my brother upside the head if he started announcing my sexual practices in that sort of situation. That could've turned out a lot less funny and a lot more ouchy.

p.s. Flashman: Try reading "Naked." Far better in my opinion.
posted by LMGM at 5:33 AM on February 17, 2007

Thanks for the post. I spent the better part of September and October reading all of his books. It's nice to laugh out loud at a story.
posted by catseatcheese at 6:20 AM on February 17, 2007

I've seen him give a talk here in Madison at the Orpheum theater. He basically just stood on stage and read aloud from some of his work. I think my sides hurt for weeks after that.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:28 AM on February 17, 2007

No matter how many times I read Sedaris in the New Yorker, I never get sick of a) his writing, and b) the house style that mandates the use of diaereses.
posted by danb at 6:37 AM on February 17, 2007

Thanks for that!
posted by simonemarie at 6:50 AM on February 17, 2007

danb: thank you for saving an askme question about what those were called!! I always wondered.
posted by neustile at 7:23 AM on February 17, 2007

Me talk shitty one day.
posted by Termite at 7:45 AM on February 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have known people who refer to their remote control as their "nigger." I had hoped they were an anomaly. I am saddened to find out there are others.

(Best David Sedaris story is "You Can't Kill the Rooster"--if only for the concept of the "fuck-it bucket"-- or the one where his brother (The Rooster) teaches his dog to eat it's own shit.)
posted by ColdChef at 7:59 AM on February 17, 2007

This was awesome.
posted by everichon at 8:08 AM on February 17, 2007

"Ain't nothing you can do about it - best to get yourself a fucket-bucket and have yourself some candy!"

I dated a woman for a few years where not more than a week went by that one of us didn't say this to the other in our best Rooster voice. It really is comforting in so many situations. Ahhh..I miss those days.

Yeah, Sedaris is wonderful - sure some of the stories are just so-so, but when some of them are diamonds who cares.

Thanks BP.
posted by django_z at 8:52 AM on February 17, 2007

"I would've smacked my brother upside the head if he started announcing my sexual practices"

How would your brother have known about your sexual practices, LMGM? Are y'all West Virginians?
posted by davy at 9:30 AM on February 17, 2007

Perfect little blurb for a lazy february saturday morning.

I always read Sedaris with the feeling that everything that ends up on the paper has passed through the fortifying collector of a wry smile and maybe some flower-water coffee.
posted by isopraxis at 9:52 AM on February 17, 2007

I didn't find this one that funny (and he can really make me laugh to side-ache stage) except the little verbal exchanges at the centre that the story seems built around got a chuckle, but what amazes me is the guy's aplomb. The rest of the story is just a means of (re)framing that awful moment of having to interact with yucky people.
posted by Listener at 10:52 AM on February 17, 2007

"It’s astonishing the amount of time that certain straight people devote to gay sex..." as though answering the question with "oh, we live in New York" wasn't intended to make that worse? I bet the wife obsesses on the meaning of that to this day.
posted by kimota at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2007

Funny. I always avoided reading Sedaris because of an annoying girlfriend and her utter dogmatism to his work, but I think I like the man now.
posted by ScotchLynx at 11:58 AM on February 17, 2007

This was top-notch Sedaris—thanks.

I have known people who refer to their remote control as their "nigger."

And here I was hoping he'd made that up.
posted by languagehat at 12:44 PM on February 17, 2007

I can't wait to say this to one of gay friends:

"Which one of you is the murderer and which one is the child molester?"
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:45 PM on February 17, 2007

My SO bought my father's girlfriend a Sedaris book on tape for Christmas. Later we asked how she liked it, and she said, "Oh god, that was depressing!"

She's kind of hard to buy for.
posted by dilettante at 2:18 PM on February 17, 2007

the house style that mandates the use of diaereses

Why do they do this? Is there a better reason than pretentiousness?
posted by matthewr at 3:02 PM on February 17, 2007

First thing I did after reading this in the New Yorker was to ask my Raleigh-native husband, "Have you ever known anyone to refer to their remote as 'the nigger'?" He said no. And trust me, he has bought his share (and more!) of pot from shady people over the years.

The rest of the story is just a means of (re)framing that awful moment of having to interact with yucky people.
posted by Listener at 1:52 PM EST on February 17

I love Sedaris. But his superior-than-thou attitude gets a trifle wearisome at times, particularly his special anti-Raleigh passion. He hated living here and has nothing good to say about it.

Still, he can make me giggle uncontrollable.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:01 PM on February 17, 2007

Sedaris is kind of like Mamet to me: I can't see what all the fuss is about.
posted by rougy at 4:19 PM on February 17, 2007

I think this is my favourite Sedaris story. Personally I found "the Rooster's" pride in his brother 'being all up in the shit' kind of sweet. Much sweeter than pretending his brother was straight.

I amuses most gay people I know, myself included, the way some straight people assume that there is a "child molester" type of gay man, and a "murderer type." Some people have even asked me, though not in such colourful ways.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:07 PM on February 17, 2007

There was once talk of either Naked or Me Talk Pretty One Day being picked up for the big screen. Anyone know what's become of this?

And for those that never read 6 to 8 Black Men, it's probably one of the funniest things he's ever written.
posted by incurable at 7:33 PM on February 17, 2007

I'm devoted to Sedaris and his writing. If you get the opportunity to see him do a live reading, do it - his voice and that deadpan delivery add so much to the experience.

Great stuff.
posted by Space Kitty at 8:04 PM on February 17, 2007

If you get the opportunity to see him do a live reading, do it - his voice and that deadpan delivery add so much to the experience.

I saw him live at the Kimmel Center last year. Totally brilliant delivery, and the Q+A afterwards was a hoot. I eagerly await his next book.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 PM on February 17, 2007

I wanted to ask if that would be the murderer or the child molester, but instead I just accepted the joint, saying, “Oh, we live in New York,” as if that answered the question.
I keep reading that over and over, envisioning it, and laughing out loud every time. I love David Sedaris.
posted by Brak at 12:58 AM on February 18, 2007

Great piece of writing, hitting a couple of high clear notes that many others have sung before, but with some kind of extra timbre and tang because we know ol' Dave so well, and the sound of his voice, and we can hum along like it's a new rendition of an old familiar song.

David Sedaris is a blogger. He just gets his self-indulgent reminiscence posts published in Important Magazines. And good on him.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:04 AM on February 18, 2007

incurable 6 to 8 black men

[snip]"Saint Nicholas would kick you?"

"Well, not anymore," Oscar said. "Now he just pretends to kick

"And the six to eight black men?"

"Them, too."

He considered this to be progressive, but in a way I think it's
almost more perverse than the original punishment. "I'm going to
hurt you, but not really." How many times have we fallen for that
line? The fake slap invariably makes contact, adding the elements
of shock and betrayal to what had previously been plain, old-
fashioned fear.

Why do I find this hilarious?

Thanks for the posts and --inexplicably-- the introduction to Sedaris.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 9:00 AM on February 18, 2007

I took my then-10 year old daughter to see Sedaris a few years ago; I had been supplying her with edited versions of his CDs and she was a big fan. He did about 90 minutes worth of material, 80 minutes of which was hilarious to the point of tears. The other ten minutes, however, took the form of one of the most vulgar and profane stories ever spoken out loud in our sleepy Southern town. There was no way to sneak her out of the theater without calling attention to ourselves, and by the end, I wanted to call DSS on myself.

A few days later, I asked her if she had understood the "nasty" story. "Not really," she said. "I mean, I've heard those words before, but I didn't really know what he was talking about." Thank GOD.

He's coming back to town this spring, and I'm taking her again. It's worth the risk because he's just that good.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:42 AM on February 18, 2007

They can’t imagine any system outside their own, and seem obsessed with the idea of roles, both in bed and out of it. Who calls whom a bitch? Who cries harder when the cat dies? Which one spends the most time in the bathroom?

I really liked this little moment of a straight person trying to grok a homosexual relationship.

My queer friends know what I mean when I say that my husband and I have a lesbian relationship* - both of us are the woman. My straight friends don't understand and think that I'm making some sort of claim that lesbian relationships are healthier and more honest or something.

It's just not true. A lesbian relationship means that we're BOTH in the bathroom all the time and we can't make a decision without talking it through for three hours to make sure everyone's really ok with it and there's no one to kill the spiders and should the cat ever die, there's no question that we'll probably need grief counseling. It's not better or worse, it's a different sort of functional (or dysfunctional as the case may be). (My husband doesn't think we're lesbians, he thinks we're just very Scandinavian. I don't know about this, unless Scandinavians are really lesbians at heart.)

Of course, we've also both had our moments of being "the man" in the relationship - for a long time, due to some difficulties with immigration law, he was the only one working and I stayed at home and made a mess. Currently, I provide a car and health insurance, which have enlarged my astral testicles a bit.

Screw heterosexual normativity! Let's all call each other bitches and do our hair!

*Note: I dated women pretty much exclusively before marrying this dude. I'm a certified hasbian.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:16 PM on February 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Grapefruitmoon. So glad the flexible roles are not just a gay phenomenon. So far it's made being gay worth any amount of discrimination I've faced, and I'm happy that straight people and hasbians can enjoy it too.

There really is a sweetness to this story.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:44 PM on February 18, 2007

OK, I'll be a lone voice of dissent.

I get a kick out of David Sedaris and own all his books, but he seems to be "pushing the needle too far" (to make an Indigo Girls reference) these days and getting a free pass on it. I suppose he can get away with saying that Hugh "does these things that are somehow beyond faggy" in the same way that a black person can use the word "nigger" with impunity, eh? That indicates no degree of self-loathing to anyone? Fine. Then he employs the writing device of portraying a white-trash bigot, to use as the foil for deftly turning her into "straight people", as in "It’s astonishing the amount of time that certain straight people devote to gay sex." If a straight person were writing an essay in which he painted in broad brushes about "certain gay people" the outcry would, no doubt, be large. If he was going to condemn straight people for thinking about gay sex he wouldn't have had to blatantly lead them to such thoughts with the "he's got a cocksucker and everything" bit. I gotta say that I believe David Sedaris was funnier before when he wasn't trying so hard to be the poster child for gays lecturing straight people.
posted by spock at 11:51 PM on February 18, 2007

A Sedaris reading on Letterman.
posted by danb at 8:53 AM on February 19, 2007

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