Tuesday, May 10, 2016

An evening of high culture

As the tagline, which I haven't changed in more than two years, of this blog indicates, I never sugarcoat. Telling the brutal honest truth may not be the most brilliant strategy. But it's the only one I've got. And it's a little late in the game to change the filter. Or buy a new one.

Part of the "all truth, all the time" philosophy means coming clean with myself. And so I am here to confess I am the world's worst reader.

My wife, who at times is a voracious reader, will often point that out. Sometimes to perfect strangers.

We could be at a party.

"Hi, I'm Debbie, a sales rep for Harvard Business Review. This is my husband Rich. He's a writer. But he doesn't read any books."

She takes great pleasure with my incongruous illiteracy.

It's painful. And I'm trying to remedy the situation. Scattered among my files, mostly TV commercial scripts and screen grabs of Kim Jung Un, I have lists --100 Books You Must Read Before You Die.
Suggestions by Ernest Hemingway, top English professors, even BuzzFeed.

I'll buy the books, but never get around to reading them. It's hard to commit time to reading when LeBron James is running up and down the hardwood or when the Internet is teasing me with can't miss videos. Did you see the one of the bear eating a handful of habanero peppers?

But I have made more of an effort, and succeeded, with a few books written by David Sedaris. He's dark. He's twisted. And he writes in a style that is conducive to reading, in that I can pick up one of his books and find myself thoroughly entertained for 3 hours at a clip.

And so a few months ago, I suggested my wife and I attend a book reading he was doing at Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA. The same building where my synagogue, overflowing with congregants, holds it High Holy Day services.

In fact, the seats we had to listen to Sedaris were just a few rows in back of the seats we normally sit in to listen to God. I'll tell you right now. Sedaris is funnier and more compelling than the Host of Hosts, Our Almighty Father.

I, for one, would much rather hear about Sedaris buying culottes, an interesting sartorial choice that enables optimal scrotal ventilation, than King Solomon slaughtering lambs and taking on the Babylonians.

Prior to this evening, I hadn't been to too many book readings and did not know what to expect. I'm here to tell you I may be going to many more. I can't remember when I laughed so hard.

In between the hilarious stories, David would litter the evening with tiny anecdotes, how he goes about writing, and a tiny glimpse into the life of a celebrated author. He tells of one fan who purchased two books, one for himself and for his estranged mother.

"Mr. Sedaris, this book is for my hateful mother. Can you inscribe it with something incredibly disturbing?"

Dear Miriam,

Your son left terrible teeth marks on my cock.


David Sedaris

Like the title says, An evening of high culture.

No comments: