Although I’m an avid reader, I’ve not read any of David Sedaris’ books. I wasn’t really interested in reading the personal stories of a white man growing up. That just seemed so far removed from my personal experiences.
I remember last year when many of my friends were so excited to go see him speak at the Pioneer Center. Most of them seemed surprised when I told them I didn’t want to go and had never read any of his books. I think they thought my words sacrilegious.
I felt vindicated when I read Christian Lander’s blog “Stuff White People Like.” There it was, #25 – David Sedaris.
“White people universally love David Sedaris. So if they ever ask you “who are you favorite authors?” you should always reply “David Sedaris.” They will instantly launch into a story about how much they love his work, and the conversation will go from there, and you don’t have to talk about books any more.”
So I just loved it when I heard that Sedaris went on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and commented about a woman in Reno who approached him during the book signing.
“She was wearing a Count Chocula T-shirt and she was in her 60s and I said, ‘is that your good Count Chocula t-shirt? And she said, I didn’t think anyone was going to notice.’ ”
I’m now thinking, ‘damn, I wished I would have gone just to see this!’
And then I read Karen Wikander’s blog: “The Count Chocula Incident.” She confirmed the varied attire of the audience with “women wearing cute spring dresses and men wearing suits — and there were people in shorts and t-shirts, and, honestly, a lot of sweatpants.”
Now this is starting to sound like the Reno I know — where I can go to a black tie affair and someone at the table will be wearing khakis, without a tie.
Then Wikander, managing editor of Nevada Humanities’ Online Nevada Encyclopedia, nailed it in her critical analysis:
“Sedaris observed something about our city and talked about it. He didn’t exaggerate — he observed and reported. Honestly? I think we should just own it. For better or worse this is a state filled with stubborn, free-thinkers, and that informs our sense of place. In fact, if I had to anthropomorphize Nevada I would say it was a lot like John Locke from LOST — “Don’t tell me what I can or can’t do!”
But it was what she wrote next that had me admiring this so-called funny author whom I never cared to read or listen to. She wrote about how considerate he is and one of the riders in his contract is that he be allowed to spend as much time as he needs with each person he meets. This meant he was at the Pioneer Center until 1:30 in the morning signing books!
Sedaris is speaking this week at Sundance Books and Music. He’ll be speaking from the veranda of that beautiful, old white building on California Avenue.
I’m a bit disappointed I have another commitment that evening because I would have worn my “Keep Reno Awkward” T-shirt and listened to his lecture, bought one of his books, waited to get it signed and said ‘thank you, Mr. Sedaris for seeing us for who we really are.’