Joe’s Post #70 — The David Sedaris tickets I’d bought placed us on a temporary wooden floor in front of the stage. It trembled so much when people walked on it that we thought there was an earthquake. Corinne was unsettled by this. I was thrilled. Earthquake … David Sedaris, either way, we were in for an adventure.
When we arrived, we had arrived too late to grab any food beforehand and too early to just sit down. So, we did what everyone else seemed to be doing.
We had a drink and ate a bag of nuts. Then we stood in line to get my book signed.
He drew a gun in mine. I have no idea why. He just looked up, looked at me for a moment, then at Corinne, then me, again, then put his head down and drew a gun. For protection, he said as he drew it.
“I have her for protection,” I told him, trying to be funny and failing like a skateboarder falling off a railing and cracking his nuts on the hand rail (exact same feeling, by the way).
He looked at me like I totally didn’t get his joke.
And I didn’t.
To this day.
But we moved on. Like all good Canadians do when we are confused. We just went inside and sat down and waited.
The lights dimmed.
He reminds me of someone who would run a used book store, the books not even creased, his eyes glaring at you to dare to crack one open and damage it. But he looks at ease as he takes his place at the podium. He’s comfortable up there, the lights on him and only him, and he radiates an odd mixture of humbleness and leprechaun-like mischief.
He is the author of about nine books and countless articles, yet I have only read two of them, but what I’ve read, I’ve loved. His quiet, sometimes gentle humor lulls me in with witty, observational anecdotes, then wham, he smacks me in the face with something out of left field. He can go from describing how achingly beautiful the countryside in Sussex looks to telling a joke that ends with the punchline, “Did you know that grandma can take my entire fist up her ass.”
Of all the people listening to him, though, all the hipsters and fans, all the wannabe writers and lovers of the written word, I probably laughed the least. Shame on me, really. But as I listened in amazement to the way he told stories, to his turn of phrase, his timing, his impeccable word choice, I was in awe. Like when you see something or hear something so perfect, you just stand there with your mouth open. Gobsmacked. Like you’ve just had electro-shock. Or your nuts crushed by a railing.
I dunno how long he talked. I was lost in the moment. An hour? Two? I laughed when he said things so funny that even I, the detached observer, couldn’t help but laugh, uncontrollably, like a fart sneaking out when you do the downward dog, but for me, the pure joy was being in the presence of a master storyteller. That joy was all encompassing.
In between his readings, he snuck in quick observations or anecdotes, but, as funny as they are, it’s the stories he tells that made me love him. I listened. I tried to learn. I tried to remember what worked.
It was one of the best experiences I had this year, but not just because of him. Beside me, Corinne laughed and laughed and laughed. She has one of those rare, magical laughs that lights up her whole face and makes you want to laugh along.
A man could happily spend a lifetime making her to laugh. Or taking her to people who do.
At least I can do the latter.
But it gave me hope that somewhere out there, there might be a market for a guy who likes to write about shit he thinks is funny.