April 11, 2013

David Sedaris

"I've been keeping a diary for thirty-three years and write in it every morning. Most of it's just whining, but every so often there'll be something I can use later: a joke, a description, a quote. It's an invaluable aid when it comes to winning arguments. 'That's not what you said on February 3, 1996,' I'll say to someone."
-David Sedaris

I awoke a couple of days ago and felt an insufferable case of the Mondays; that malaise one feels at the end of March. Deep inside you know it's technically spring, and it's supposed to be infused with the feeling of rebirth and renewal and other marketing buzzwords from places like Bath & Body Works.

To be honest, I wasn't sure why I was blue. Perhaps I was merely run-down. I had, after all, just returned from an amazing Spring Break trip, and trying to get back into the routine of a working life after a prolonged absence is always difficult to readjust to. It's like when you're on a people mover at an airport, and you step off of the conveyer belt back onto stationary ground. Your momentum shifts to a halt, and no matter how hard you try to maintain a graceful stride you always step off and land with the grace of a newborn fawn. So this lingering sense of jet lag from international travel combined with fluctuating Texas weather had finally culminated into a generally foggy state of mind.

I was playing ridiculously bad pop music in my head in the shower that morning, when a thought flashed through like a bolt of lightning amidst my brain's cumulonimbus clouds. Is it...? Is it April already? I blinked and placed the bottle of aromatherapy shampoo in the shower caddy. It... it is April!

And like that, it was as if a sunbeam bore through the clouds. My focus shifted and, like a allergy medicine commercial, the veil lifted and life's viewfinder was suddenly crystalline clear. What does April historically mean to me? Well, among other things, the month brings April showers, schizophrenic weather patterns, clearance Easter candy at the local market, a run on allergy meds, and most importantly... Big laughs here in Austin. In what has become a bit of a annual rite, The Paramount welcomes David Sedaris back to the Long Center for what is sure to be another evening of anecdotes, diary entries, book recommendations, tears and exhausted facial muscles.

In what has become itself a rite of spring, the arrival of David Sedaris to town is more welcome than any weather-forecasting groundhog, velvet-clad leprechaun or chocolate-peddling bunny. When David is in Austin, it's always a treat. Sure, it's a peek into the mind of the single funniest man you will ever listen to, but it's also just so damn hilarious. He may not put the "fun" into "funny," but he certainly highlights it with his sardonic wit and clever cultural observations.

For those that don't already know, Sedaris is an author, playwright and a regular commentator on National Public Radio. I love how his descriptions are incredibly vivid. He uses words to paint scenarios and characters in your head as effortlessly as Bob Ross made happy little trees with a sponge and a dab of chartrueuse paint. In fact, this years visit has a greater significance because the day before he speaks, his latest book will be released in stores, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls.

Yes, you read that right. David himself briefly explains the book's title below:

Needless to say, many of us are eagerly waiting this new collection. Maybe not like those Muggles- er, I mean crazies that camped out for Harry Potter, but certainly with great enthusiasm. And yet, no matter how many times you've read his works, there is nothing quite like hearing telling you a story orally.

There's a whole new level of vibrancy when you hear David tell a story or read a journal entry. His soothing yet nasally voice make the contrast between the nondescript details of his observations and the shocking aspects elevate a simple tale into high art. Imagine your high school Geometry teacher stopped his normal drone about acute angled. Then, without changing the inflection of his voice, continue into a calm rant about the obtuse behavior of a boorish and crass society. David's dry wit and delivery go down smoothly like a glass of red wine with top notes of sarcasm.

Not merely an advocate for his own observations, a bonus treat at his shows is when he personally recommends something he is currently reading. Last year, he raved about the darkly funny Deadly Kingdom: The Book of Dangerous Animals by Gordon Grice, a collection of anecdotes and facts about  some of nature's thugs, capable of wrecking havoc on humans. A quick read through this and you may proclaim, "The heck with the gun control debate, keep that marsupial away from me!"

In years past, David also takes questions from the audience and will stay afterwards to sign books for all who attend. It would be an ideal time to ask followup questions about his new book, although he may not be willing to explore the glucose levels of Hedwig. You're better off asking a Harry Potter fan about that one.

So with the fog lifted and my scalp smelling minty fresh, I stepped out of the shower and circled the date on the calendar to mark the annual visit of David Sedaris. Until then, I'll continue to wash my hair every morning with some of that Eucalyptus Spearmint shampoo. That aromatherapy always makes me feel better, according to Bath & Body Works. And while I'm not inclined to believe the marketing, I will heed last year's warnings about deadly animals. I now pray that a wild koala won't attack me because I lathered, rinsed and then repeated.

David Sedaris visits The Long Center as part of the season series on Wednesday, April 24 at 8:00 p.m.