Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I listened to my first David Sedaris audiobook just a couple of months ago, after hearing much ranting and raving from my blogger friends. That pretty much sealed the deal for me...love at first listen. I then ordered everything my library had of Sedaris on audio (which isn't really much) which brought me to "Me Talk Pretty One Day". I'm probably repeating myself, but nothing I say here will properly capture the genius of his dry humor, and the magic of his whiny, nasal-toned narration. Just trust me that he is a funny, funny man.
I am not easily satisfied with humor either. Comedic books and movies tend to annoy me, because they are usually trying too hard. My entire family could be wetting themselves over some inane film (cough...Nacho Libre...cough) and I just sit there like a stone. Fart humor doesn't cut it. (No pun intended!) Falling down doesn't either. But Sedaris seems to have what I need. He doesn't take himself too seriously, and openly exposes every one of his frailties for all to see, even the more serious ones.
As with the last audio I listened to, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Sedaris covers his childhood, his quirky parents and siblings (including his now-famous sister Amy), his addictions, his time spent living in other countries and the difficulties in trying to speak another language.
I didn't laugh at every single segment. But on the ones where I did laugh, I laughed BIG. I loved his term "tapeworm", which is sort of like "bookworm" but replacing the love of books with the love of audio tapes - something to which I can totally relate! I loved his story of an encounter on a French train with a group of tourists from Houston, and their annoying and loud stereotyping of the French people. I appreciated his honesty about his drug problem and years of shiftlessness.
But I think my favorite part was when he was relaying stories about attempting to speak French. For any of you that have attempted to learn a new language, you will appreciate this. When you know only a finite number of words, you try to communicate by piecing these words together, usually with your conjugation completely hosed up. (And I wonder why every time I open my mouth in Poland, my in-laws laugh!) In his French-speaking class, a cultural melting-pot, some of David's classmates wanted to understand the meaning of Easter. Here is how the conversation went:
The Poles jumped in first. "It is" said one, "a party for the little boy of God who calls his self Jesus and....oh, s***." At a loss for words, her fellow countryman tries to help out.
"He calls his self Jesus and then he die one day on two....morsels....of lumber."
The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm.
"He die one day and then go above my head to live with your father."
"He weared of himself the long hair and after he die, the first day he come back here to say hello to the peoples."
"He nice, the Jesus."
"He make good things, and on the Easter we be sad, because somebody makes him dead today."
They struggled because explaining complex theological concepts was beyond their linguistic ability so they turned to food.
"Easter is a party to eat of the lamb." The Italian nanny explained. "One too many eat of the chocolate."
"And who brings the chocolate?" the teacher asked.
I knew the word, so I raised my hand, saying, "The rabbit of Easter. He bring of the chocolate."
"Well sure," I said. "He come in the night when one sleep on a bed. With a hand he have a basket and foods.
After listening to this, my husband shouldn't be surprised if I never utter another word in Polish! I'd rather run around playing charades and talking really loud in English!
My next adventure in fun with Sedaris will be "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim", which I will save until I need a break from murders, wars, treachery and physical abuse!
4 out of 5 stars