From the Commute
Greetings from the still slightly surreal principality of NYC. I just want to jot a short note to let you know that your fan base here is strong and growing. I've been on a persistent campaign emailing Ace's web address to friends, acquaintances and some strangers as well. The response has been really fun and enthusiastic.
Back in early September, we [accidentally] dropped off the subscription list and although I didn't notice it immediately (I was in LA and all) I felt this void. Realizing that I had gone for close to six weeks without my dose of Reality Truck, and the lack of inquisitive stares on the subway with my copy of ace spread wide in people's faces, I turned to the archives of the websites and printed out six glorious weeks of your articles to take along with me.
Nothing infuriates subway riders more than when your reading something more fun than they have. It's a combo of anger and jealousy. They know this by my smile, giggles and oh yes, the occasional laugh out loud moments, which in a packed subway train of anthrax scared still shell shocked commuters is VERY noticeable.
I wonder sometimes if Lexington realizes what a gem they have, since I know the rest of the world sure could use a dose of you from time to time.
From the shoe stuck in the front porch to the 'I'd do her' distinction, I gobble up every word.
I send you my best and just wanted to let you know that your reach maybe greater than you know. Loved your Kottke piece as well [Nov 1, Harmonic Convergence]
New York, NY
How amazing that a trivial event like the slaughter of 6,000 innocent Americans would cause so many hard core liberals to suspend their 24/7 vitriol of conservatives in general and President Bush in particular. From 'stars' like Julia Roberts and Jennifer Anniston, to political talking heads like Geraldo Rivera and Bill Moyers, and even your own cartoonist, their ever so politically correct assaults on Bush's character and intelligence have magically subsided.
Perhaps it's the fashionable patriotism that has swept up so many Americans. Or maybe it's the perception that their own precious security may depend on someone who actually leads as opposed to following polls and focus groups. Or maybe it's the self serving realization that if they don't cease their vicious, lockstep attacks their own meaningless careers may suffer.
Whichever the case, I'm sure this is just a temporary respite. As President Bush pointed out, this war is not about the instant gratification that has spoiled most Americans. And when the need to pursue this challenge to the end begins meeting the inevitable roadblocks, that is when the beforementioned liberals will begin jumping off the bandwagon like rats.
But fortunately, this President does not answer to those who would negotiate with terrorists. And fortunately, this President realizes that the failure to eliminate this threat now means passing it on to our children. And fortunately, this President couldn't care less about polls, focus groups or even reelection. I know it's hard for liberals to admit when they, of all people, are wrong, but tell me liberals, hindsight being 20-20, who's the real idiot now?
I've met elves from all walks of life. Most of them are show business people, actors and dancers, but a surprising number of them held real jobs at advertising agencies and brokerage firms before the recession hit. Bless their hearts, these people never imagined there was a velvet costume waiting in their future. They're the really bitter elves.
Author David Sedaris has had a varied career, including gigs teaching a writing workshop (which included segments like "celebrity corner" and "feedbag forum," which was his "shameless call for easy, one-pot dinner recipes" in order to better utilize his Crock-Pot); a stint as a mover (where he was part of a team that included a folksinger, a schizophrenic, a communist, and a convicted murderer, freely acknowledging "the money was nothing compared with what other people earned answering phones or slipping suppositories into the rectums of senior citizens"); and probably most famously, a holiday season as a Macy's elf, infamously chronicled in "The SantaLand Diaries."
The latter is a long essay which leads the collection Holidays on Ice, hands down the best holiday gift anyone could ever give to anyone with a pulse and a personality.
(In another piece, "Christmas Means Giving," he observes, "Generosity can actually make people feel quite uncomfortable if you talk about it enough. I don't mean the bad 'boring, uncomfortable' but something much richer. If practiced correctly, generosity can induce feelings of shame, inadequacy, and even envy, to name just a few.")
If he can stop ONE person from sending out another family newsletter this holiday (see "Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family"), then his visit will not have been in vain.
Other collections include Barrel Fever and Naked, and most recently, Me Talk Pretty One Day.
The only thing funnier than Sedaris's memories of North Carolina, Chicago, and New York, is his accounts of living in France, and trying to learn the language (and, of course, procure taxidermied kittens, a two-headed calf skull, and "illustrated guides to skin rashes and war wounds," to say nothing of surgical instruments).
Critics always offer helpful admonishments about Sedaris - along the lines of how you shouldn't read his stuff with your mouth full (New York Times Book Review).
That doesn't begin to do him justice.
In truth, Sedaris writes like someone whose entire family is dead, and therefore, can't get at him. He seems to lack any kind of internal censor or fear for what others might think. Nothing is sacred, off limits, or even of questionable taste.
That feeling of release - that unabashed freedom of an expatriate - could be the quality that elevates him from funny to complete genius. Except he was brilliant long before he left.
While punch-drunk hack comics continue to pollute the late night schedule of all the movie channels that aren't devoted to porn, Sedaris has yet to become quite the household name in modern sarcasm that he so richly deserves (though he's a longtime favorite among Esquire readers and public radio listeners).
Of course, mainstream fame might not be the goal of a man who refuses to date anybody who claims they "'discovered' any shop or restaurant currently listed in the phone book."
David Sedaris will be at the Kentucky Theatre, Wednesday, November 14.