The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Prescient David Sedaris

Posted by thearrow on August 6, 2010

First, the weird news of the day: “New Jersey Couple Loses Custody of Son Named Adolf Hitler.” Say what? How can anyone in their right mind ever do such a thing to their own child? Unfortunately, the parents are not in their right mind, as the custody is being removed for their history of domestic violence and other psychological problems (stemming from child abuse) that can put their kids at risk. It’s a really sad story.

I contemplate the news and how devastating mental illness can be and, slowly, drift away in the day’s work.

Later, I get, home, pick up the latest New Yorker, and see a piece by David Sedaris, one of my favorite humor writers. Next time you’re looking for something intelligent, thoughtful, and funny, get one of his books. Seriously. You will not be disappointed. This particular piece, “Standing By,” was about waiting in line to board airplanes, overhearing annoying opinions and people complain about airlines, observing the sea of humanity around you, and trying not to get too frustrated by the whole experience. I have some hearty laughs when, two thirds into the text, I read this:

“I was on the people mover, jogging toward my connection at the end of Concourse C, when the voice over the P.A. system asked Adolf Hitler to pick up a white courtesy phone. Did I hear that correctly? I remember thinking. It’s hard to imagine anyone calling their son Adolf Hitler, so the person must have changed it from something less provocative, a category that includes pretty much everything. Weirder still was hearing the name in the same sentence as the word “courtesy.” I imagined a man picking up the receiver, his voice made soft by surprise, and the possibility of bad news. “Yes, hello, this is Adolf Hitler.”

Poor Sedaris. He thought this was a clever and unexpected thing to come up with and reality proved his imagination right just a couple of days after the magazine hit the stands. I wonder what he’s thinking about the whole thing.

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6 Responses to “Prescient David Sedaris”

  1. Departe said

    I have to thank you for this post. Having never heard of David Sedaris before, I recently got one of his books in audio format and surprised myself laughing out loud listening to it. So now because of you, some people think I’m completely bonkers….:)

  2. thearrow said

    Hahahaha! This is great. You made my day 🙂 I love his self-deprecating, warm humor, coupled with some very astute observations. Some friends gave me Me Talk Pretty One Day in audio format and then I had to get the book. I’m now reading When You Are Engulfed in Flames. It’s a trip. I’m so glad you like him. And if bonkers means liking Sedaris, then I’m happy to affix that label to myself, too.

  3. Departe said

    I’m just about to finish listening to When you are engulfed… – brilliant. And in the meantime, I’ve also discovered the pleasure of listening to books in audio format; the only complaint I have is that it took me a while to get used to his voice, it’s a bit odd.

    How large is the Me talk pretty… file? (wink wink)

  4. thearrow said

    Hm… I think I have 4-5 CDs. I’ve never managed to listen to them, though; I just bought the book. Normally, I would be happy to mail you copies but I’ve moved recently and I think they’re in some unopened box 😦

  5. Departe said

    No worries. And by the way, if you have any more of these “hidden gems” recommendations, please feel free to share them.

  6. thearrow said

    I sure will!

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