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Meeting David Sedaris: Third Time is Not a Charm

May 14, 2013

Can I just ask, why am I such an idiot? You’ve read my blog, right? You must have a basic understanding of how my mind works. Where is the short circuit, the crossed wire, the defective part that needs to be returned to the manufacturer?

If you have read my past post, My Failed Attempts to Look Smart in Front of David Sedaris, you know that I really bunged things up the two times I’ve been in his presence. Last night, at a book signing at Indigo, I was supposed to have learned from my mistakes and presented myself brilliantly.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

The one day that David Sedaris was in Toronto, I had to work an event in Mississauga. One of my wonderful friends acted as a placeholder in line for me while I rushed my ass back to the city. I got there about ten minutes before it was my turn to have my books signed. That was ten minutes to forget my arsenal of jokes, ten minutes to get a dry throat and sweaty palms, ten minutes to think about the fact that I had nothing interesting to say. Why do I get so nervous around celebrity? And, yes, I do consider David Sedaris celebrity. I wouldn’t give a flying fuck if I ran into Angelina Jolie or some other actor. Well, except Jason Statham but I wouldn’t have a chance to get nervous, and when the security finally found a spatula big enough to peel me off his body, I would have no regrets.

Anyway, I got to the front of the line.

“Hey, how are you doing?” I asked, silently congratulating myself for saying something normal people say.

“Good. Do you have Maple Leaf fever, too?”  I’m sure he asked this because the woman who was in front of me in line had her signed Maple Leafs jersey on, and because the entire city was going nuts over the fact that they made the playoffs.

“Nope, not really.”

“I was worried about the turnout because of the game.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t think that would matter. Is it even a home game?”

“You’re asking the wrong person.”

“Oh. Okay.”

We sort of looked at each other at that point and I could tell I had failed to impress him.

“Do you know any jokes?”

Fuck! Why does he always ask me that?  But I did have a joke ready – What do you call a cow that just had a baby? De-calf-inated – and I swear I opened my mouth to tell it but instead  something entirely different came out:

“My friend’s grandma is ninety years old. She’s at that stage in life where she just says whatever she wants. Anyway, the lady was on husband number three but he died. My friend went to visit her and said, “I’m sorry your husband died, grandma.” The old lady responded, “Well, that’s the way it goes, dear. One day they’re fucking you up the ass, the next they’re dead.”

He didn’t laugh.

I felt the urge to explain, “See, it’s funny because it’s a true story and she’s so old…” but we all know that if you have to explain it, it’s just not humorous.

“What’s the difference between a pedophile and a tortoise?” David Sedaris asked.


“They both want to come before the hare.”

Wait. He thinks that’s funnier than an old lady discussing butt sex with her granddaughter? Well, to each his own.

He gave me back my books, one signed to the the friend who held my place in line and the rest to me. I thanked him and took my leave to join my friend in the magazine section.

“What did you to talk about? You were chatting with him for a long time.”

“I told him that my friend’s 90 year old grandma likes ass sex.”



“Well, I’m glad you had a good time. Do you want to go get a glass of wine?”

“Yes. Yes I do.”

We settled on an overpriced French restaurant because all of the other restaurants, pubs and bars in downtown Toronto were packed with Leafs fans. We ordered a bottle of wine and then another. We could tell the Leafs lost when a brawl started outside.

At some point we realized that we hadn’t read the inscription in our books. My friend opened his first and read it out loud.

You are but a placeholder.

Love it.

One of mine had a coloured drawing of a knife with blood on it. Another, an anthology for which all of the profits go to a tutoring centre in Brooklyn, said Thank you for helping the miserable children.


The third said Go mighty maple leaves.

We spent a lot of time debating this one. Was he referring to the hockey team or actual leaves? He didn’t capitalize maple leaves, and the plural for Maple Leafs is, well Maple Leafs. Plus, I did mention I wasn’t a huge hockey fan…

“I think he did it on purpose,” I concluded. “It’s funny.”

“Maybe you should just ask him next time he’s in town,” suggested my friend.

“But what if it is a misspelling? I’ll look like a passive-aggressive bitch when I point out his error in the form of a question.”

“Yes, you’re right. That would make a terrible impression. Stick to telling stories about ninety-year old women who take it up the ass.”

“Why don’t you go take it up the ass, you prick.”

“Well that just gives a whole new meaning to you are but a placeholder.”

“Hey, I should tell him that joke. That’s funny.”


Yeah, maybe next time I should just stay home.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. juliabarrett permalink
    May 14, 2013 4:16 pm

    That is a funny joke. Shoulda had a coffee-spewing warning on this. You and your holy grail – David Sedaris…

    • May 15, 2013 6:17 pm

      I know, right? I give up. But I do maintain that the grandma who likes it up the butt is hilarious. I must’ve been my delivery. Sigh.

  2. May 14, 2013 4:37 pm

    Did you hear about the boy who walked through the screen door? He strained himself.

    • May 15, 2013 6:16 pm

      My friend, Susan’s dog has no nose. I asked Susan how does he smell? Awful, she answered.

  3. May 15, 2013 12:24 am

    hey if nothing else you got a great story out of it!!

    • May 15, 2013 6:18 pm

      Yeah, I have a lot of experiences that amount to great stories. And that’s how I choose to view them. 🙂

  4. May 17, 2013 4:06 pm

    I tried to read a Sedaris book once, well I actually flipped through it in the bookstore next to the old man asleep in the chair. It was like Hell’s Waiting Room where they play the eternal loop of Seinfeld and nothing happens. I left it open on the old man’s chest so that when he woke up he would have something to help him go back to sleep.

    • May 18, 2013 4:15 pm

      The first book I read by Sedaris was Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. I did not think I liked the book while I was reading it and I was happy to finish it. But then I found myself thinking of some of the stories for several days afterwards. On occasion, I would laugh out loud. The stories some how seemed funnier when I was remembering them than they did when I was actually reading them. So I went out an bought Me Talk Pretty One Day. After that book, I was hooked. My favourite is Barrel Fever, which seems to be one that many of his fans don’t like as much as the others.

  5. May 18, 2013 8:05 am

    You’re killing me DC (in a good way!) 😉

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