David Sedaris wrote this book:
It came out a while ago (back in 2013), and as with all things Sedaris, I bought it, read it in a day and laughed out loud so many times and so loudly that I annoyed everyone around me.
I first discovered David Sedaris back in 2008. I was standing in line at (the now-defunct) Borders in Carlton. His Holidays on Ice compilation was conveniently placed on the counter, just ripe for an impulse buy. It was a few days before we were about to go to Europe for Christmas, so reading about Wintery holidays seemed like a good idea. I bought it and tucked it away in my carry-on luggage to read on the flight.
I started the book about two hours into the flight and very quickly learnt something about David Sedaris’ writing: it should not be read in close confines. It should not be read when there are people around you wanting to sleep. It should not be read when your husband is sitting next to you and keeps asking ‘What’s so funny? Let me read it.’
Eventually, with me laughing so hard that my sides hurt, unable to see for the tears running down my cheeks, Aaron took the book from me to see what all the fuss was about. His response was similar.
Our absolute favourite story from this compilation is Six to Eight Black Men, which originally appeared in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. I am not even going to start to tell you what it is about, but I found this gorgeous little video that gives you some idea.
In recent years, David Sedaris has visited Australia. In 2010, when we heard of his upcoming tour, we booked tickets, initially baulking at the $70 ticket price. Seriously? For a book reading? We could go to Readings any week of the year and hear someone give a reading of their book. For nothing. And get a free glass of wine.
However, we forked out the money – along with thousands of other Melbournians. His tour sold out. There was not a spare seat in the Melbourne Concert Hall. And it was brilliant. Hearing him read aloud was mesmerising. Even the stories that I had read – some of them several times – were completely different when read in his very distinctive voice. It was a thoroughly enjoyable night!
We bought tickets as soon as his 2014 tour was announced. Again, the Melbourne event sold out. Again, it was an absolute delight hearing him read not only his short stories, but also diary entries of often mundane occurrences.
Anyway, back to his latest book. When we saw him last year, as soon as he stepped off stage, Aaron and I ran out to the foyer to wait in line for him to sign our copy of the book. I desperately wanted to know what the title meant. There is not a single reference to diabetes other than the title. What did it mean?
Apparently, not much at all! When it was my turn to chat to him, I asked my pressing question. ‘Why ‘exploring diabetes’?’ As it turns out, it came from a book signing – just like the one he was doing then! – when a woman asked him to write a dedication in the book for her daughter. She wanted him to write something about her daughter needing to ‘explore her feelings’. He refuses to write what people ask him to, so he kept the word ‘explore’ and instead wrote ‘let’s explore diabetes with owls.’ She was not pleased. I doubt he could have cared!
He asked me why I was so interested in the title. ‘I have diabetes,’ I said. ‘I was hoping that I would read your book and find the secret to diabetes.’ I smiled at him. ‘I didn’t. But I loved the book nonetheless.’ He handed me back my book with his signature and a little scribbly drawing. ‘Thank you,’ I said.
‘Oh, before you go. I have something for you.’ He reached into a bag under his desk. ‘You can have some hotel shampoo and conditioner. Because you have diabetes and are special.’
I laughed loudly. ‘Thanks! See – something good DOES come from having diabetes.’
I’ve been singing this song all day thanks to one of my Kate Spade bangles that has ‘You put the lime in my coconut’ written in gold. This version, whilst not the original, is great. Because Muppets. Have a great weekend. (And read some Sedaris!)