Friday, February 17, 2006

David Sedaris

I just finished reading James McManus' Positively Fifth Street, an account of his amazing run at the World Series of Poker (having entered using his advance for a magazine article on the event). McManus is clearly a smart guy and the book goes off in a hundred directions with literary figures and random facts thrown in. (Here's my review.)

One such fact is that one great poker player is Melissa Hayden, a book designer (and from here on I'm referencing pages 175-7). One of her works is Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. And McManus describes Sedaris as one of his former students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Apparently Sedaris originally enrolled to be a painter.

For a bookmaking class, Sedaris had to put together some text. Here's McManus:

The first book he worked on with me was Do You Know What Time It Is?, a wicked send-up of Raymond Carver... "Two miles outside of Selma, North Carolina," it began, "a ballpoint pen broke in Ted's mouth." Later, Ted dials 411 from his motel room to find out the time; his lover has been gone for a while.
"Sir," the woman said, "this is information. If you want the time I'll be happy to give you the number."
"I'm blind," Ted said.
"I said I'm blind and tired so could you please just tell me the time, I'd like to get this taken care of all in one call." He heard the woman ask someone the time. Ted had no idea what brought him to tell such a boldfaced lie. It was sort of exciting. The woman came back on the line and told him in a sympathetic way that it was 12:30.
"Is that at night or in the day?" Ted asked.
"AM. It's half past midnight, dear. It's dark outside."

Other Sedaris note: how weird is it that people are giving bad Amazon reviews to the French translation of "Me Talk Pretty" (Je Parler Francais) primarily because they didn't know it was in French? I believe this is the situation for which the word "doy" was invented. (Is there a french equivalent of "doy"? Perhaps "d'oy"?)

No comments: