Humorist David Sedaris lovingly — and hilariously — profiles his sister Amy, recalling their playwriting days in the ’90s as “The Talent Family,” and other adventures.
In this day and age, this is a pretty short list.
Sedaris writes about a family trip to the beach, snapping turtles, and the evolution of his father into a “nice and agreeable” person.
Sedaris recalls his time working as a Macy’s elf during the holiday season:
“Today was the official opening day of SantaLand and I worked as a Magic Window Elf, a Santa Elf and an Usher Elf. The Magic Window is located in the adult ‘Quick Peep’ queue. My job was to say, ‘Step on the Magic Star and look through the window, and you can see Santa!’ I was at the Magic Window for 15 minutes before a man approached me and said, ‘You look so fucking stupid.’
“I have to admit that he had a point. But still, I wanted to say that at least I get paid to look stupid, that he gives it away for free. But I can’t say things like that because I’m supposed to be merry.
“So instead I said, ‘Thank you!'”
David Sedaris acquires a Fitbit:
Since getting my Fitbit, I’ve seen all kinds of things I wouldn’t normally have come across. Once, it was a toffee-colored cow with two feet sticking out of her. I was rambling that afternoon, with my friend Maja, and as she ran to inform the farmer I marched in place, envious of the extra steps she was getting in. Given all the time I’ve spent in the country, you’d think I might have seen a calf being born, but this was a first for me. The biggest surprise was how unfazed the expectant mother was. For a while, she lay flat on the grass, panting. Then she got up and began grazing, still with those feet sticking out.
“Really?” I said to her. “You can’t go five minutes without eating?”
David Sedaris and his family gather at a beach house in North Carolina, for the first time since his sister’s suicide:
“Even if you weren’t getting along with Tiffany at the time, you couldn’t deny the show she put on—the dramatic entrances, the non-stop, professional-grade insults, the chaos she’d inevitably leave in her wake. One day she’d throw a dish at you and the next she’d create a stunning mosaic made of the shards. When allegiances with one brother or sister flamed out, she’d take up with someone else. At no time did she get along with everybody, but there was always someone she was in contact with. Toward the end, it was Lisa, but before that we’d all had our turn.”
The writer visits a taxidermy shop to purchase a Valentines’s Day gift. This essay will be included in David Sedaris’s new book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls:
“The taxidermist and I discussed the owls, and when my eyes cut to a glass-doored cabinet with several weather-beaten skulls inside it, he asked if I was a doctor.
“‘Me?’ For some reason I looked at my hands. ‘Oh, goodness no.’
“‘Then your interest in those skulls is non-professional?’
“The taxidermist’s eyes brightened, and he led me to a human skeleton half hidden in the back of the room. ‘Who do you think this was?’ he asked.
“Being a layman, all I had to go by was the height – between four and a half and five feet tall. ‘Is it an adolescent?'”
In Holland the children receive presents on December 5, in celebration of Saint Nicholas Day. It sounded sort of quaint until I spoke to a man named Oscar, who filled me in on a few of the details as we walked from my hotel to the Amsterdam train station. … The words silly and unrealistic were redefined when I learned that Saint Nicholas travels with what was consistently described as “six to eight black men.” I asked several Dutch people to narrow it down, but none of them could give me an exact number. It was always “six to eight,” which seems strange, seeing as they’ve had hundreds of years to get a decent count.
In the early sixties, during what my mother referred to as the “tail end of the Lassie years,” my parents were given two collies they named Rastus and Duchess. We were living in upstate New York, out in the country, and the dogs were free to race through the forest. They napped in meadows and stood knee-deep in frigid streams, costars in their own private dog-food commercial. According to our father, anyone could tell that the two of them were in love.