Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls- by David Sedaris

I have been amused by every David Sedaris book that I have read.  As is so often the case with talented and prolific authors, each new one I read becomes my new favorite.  This was the case with Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, not, I don’t think because this is necessarily his most funny, but because it was, to me anyway, his most relateably human.

Oh it was funny, though.  Like his parenting advice in “Attaboy” for what to do in case of children throwing a crying tantrum at a store in want of candy.  “[B]ut I think the best solution at this point is to slap that child across the face. It won’t stop its crying, but at least now it will be doing it for a good reason.”  He’s kidding, of course.  But the slight possibility that he might be not just completely kidding is what makes me laugh out loud.

Less funny, but profound, and also very relateable, in “A Guy Walks into a Bar Car,” on the subject of missed opportunities/relationships:

When you’re young it’s easy to believe that such an opportunity will come again, maybe even a better one.  Instead of a Lebanese guy in Italy it might be a Nigerian one in Belgium, or maybe a Pole in Turkey.  You tell yourself that if you traveled alone to Europe this summer, you would surely do the same thing next year, and the year after that.  Of course you don’t, though, and the next thing you know you’re an aging, unemployed elf so desperate for love you spend your evening mooning over a straight alcoholic.  p. 137.

It’s so true.  When we’re young, the friendships and relationships we have we just assume are the first of many.  But that’s not true.  For whatever reason, we seem to only get a small handful of these encounters, and if we don’t jump at those opportunities, they are gone, and we are left to regret and wonder for the rest of our lives.

I also enjoyed how casually intelligent the stories/essays were.  Like in “Day In, Day Out,” discussing the difference between “diary” and “journal,” but noting that both have the word “day” at their root (which, if you think about it, they do, but I simply had not thought of it before).

Sedaris is brilliant and hilarious, but hilarious in a way that seems tangible.  He’s funny like a witty, most intelligent, most clever friend.  He comes to Kansas City frequently to do readings, at least as often as he writes a new book.  Hopefully I will catch him one of these times.

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