Anyone who doesn’t like David Sedaris should investigate whether they have a malignant tumour eating away at the fabric of their entire brain. Not that I have a strong opinion on this subject, but he’s genuinely one of the funniest people I know writing in the English language. If standup comics need that certain je ne sais quoi to deliver a punchline, then writers of humour need a certain ability with the language to mold it, shape it, massage it, and then deliver it on the page in just such a way that you can’t help but laugh and think, Who writes shit like this?
David Sedaris does. And, on a day when I felt a needed a good laugh, I went in search of some classics from some of Mr. Sedaris’s classics. These are obviously just a few handpicked from a seemingly limitless black hole of funnies. But funny, they are, and hopefully they will make you laugh and lighten your day a little.
“He took a sip of my father’s weak coffee and spit it back into the mug. “This shit’s like making love in a canoe.”
“It’s fucking near water.”
“For the first twenty years of my life, I rocked myself to sleep. It was a harmless enough hobby, but eventually, I had to give it up. Throughout the next twenty-two years I lay still and discovered that after a few minutes I could drop off with no problem. Follow seven beers with a couple of scotches and a thimble of good marijuana, and it’s funny how sleep just sort of comes on its own. Often I never even made it to the bed. I’d squat down to pet the cat and wake up on the floor eight hours later, having lost a perfectly good excuse to change my clothes. I’m now told that this is not called “going to sleep” but rather “passing out,” a phrase that carries a distinct hint of judgment.”
“If you’re looking for sympathy you’ll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.”
“When asked “What do we need to learn this for?” any high-school teacher can confidently answer that, regardless of the subject, the knowledge will come in handy once the student hits middle age and starts working crossword puzzles in order to stave off the terrible loneliness.”
“I wanted to deny him, but that’s the terrible power of a diary: it not only calls forth the person you used to be but rubs your nose in him, reminding you that not all change is evolutionary. More often than not, you didn’t learn from your mistakes. You didn’t get wiser, but simply older, growing from the twenty-five-year-old who got stoned and accidentally peed on his friend Katherine’s kitten to the thirty-five-year-old who got drunk and peed in the sandbox at his old elementary school. “The sandbox!” my sister Amy said at the time. “Don’t you realize that children have to pee in there?”
“This left me alone to solve the coffee problem – a sort of catch-22, as in order to think straight I need caffeine, and in order to make that happen I need to think straight.”
“The way I saw it, if my students were willing to pretend I was a teacher, the least I could do was return the favor and pretend that they were writers.”