You’re Wrong, Mr. Sedaris. But Who Cares!

Until a few years ago, I paid an exterminator to do my killing.  A gentleman of about sixty, came every few months and moved quickly through the house, squirting liquid death in corners and along baseboards.  And during these visits his voice was constant.  It began innocently enough.

“What kind of bugs you been having?”

“Roaches.  Ants.  And spiders. Lots of spiders,” I told him.

I expected him to pause while compiling my response then go back to his truck to blend a cocktail of insecticides just for me, but he went on about his business, speed-walking around the kitchen with the metal can he came in with, noting how carefully he serviced homes with children.

“And I can’t do anything about ants. Not really spiders even.  They’re harmless anyway.”

I know they’re harmless, I thought.  But I want them dead!

“Do you like having a boy and a girl?” he asked, lunging to the top of the stairs.

I had a boy and a girl, it was true.  But I never thought of it as a choice, either in regards to their sex or in my liking them.  “I guess so!” I shouted back.

I mean, what would I do, what could I do, if I stopped liking them?  Could I trade them in for newer models?  Did they have reset buttons?  I’d always assumed that liking my children was required.  Suddenly, I didn’t like thinking about my kids anymore.  And it would go on like this.  He’d ask me what I thought about an upcoming football game, while I made a list of orphanages and adoption services in the metro area.

After a few more visits he began adding personal, and sometimes sordid, bits of intelligence gathered from other customers in the area.  One family had an ongoing dispute with a neighbor about the toxicity of the mosquito service he provided.  And another woman had part of her bottom removed.  For a few weeks after this, I couldn’t stop staring at neighborhood fannies, consumed by a curiosity to know who this poor woman was.  And even though I wasn’t inviting him to share any of this, I still felt guilty, as if I should have crammed toilet paper into my ears when I saw him pull in the driveway.

And presumably by mistaking my usual silence for agreement, he soon began vomiting out his political views.   This candidate or party would save us from the moral and economic decay we faced.  The other candidate or party was the antichrist.

So here was a man, who, although a little odd, was otherwise pleasant, and appeared to be able to hold down a job.  He also knew how to drive a truck and was good at lacquering cabinetry and toys with poison.  But at the same time, he had assembled a collection of political opinions with the care that a three year-old takes in wiping his ass after a shit.  Honestly, if there is process that turns a human into a pile of feces on a bathroom floor more quickly or completely than politics, I don’t know of it.

I get that there is competition for this honor, so let me address a few of them.  Atheists might argue that religion is such a process, but, although not a true believer myself, I can see how some religious writings are rather practical.  Take, for instance, if you were seeking a wife, the Bible tells you to find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes.  Voila, you have a wife (Deuteronomy 21:11-13).  And also guidance in labor relations - it is okay to beat a slave to a temporary crippling as long as you don’t damage his teeth, in which case you must set him free (Exodus 21:26-27).

Or perhaps some women feel that sexual urges have this impact on men.  But from my 40+ years with a penis, it seems perfectly logical that closing a box of cereal (slipping tab A into slot B) can divert blood from one head to the other.  And anyway, according to Ephesians 5:21-25, it is my right to do so with my good lady wife.

No.  When I see Ann Coulter and Keith Olberman at the front of their respective lines for the shit buffet, I’m sticking with politics.

So what does this have to do with David Sedaris?  Well, this past weekend my wife and I went to hear him speak.  Sitting behind us was a “girls night out” gaggle who, to express their free-spiritedness, removed their shoes, put them on the backs of our seats, and began moaning about politics before the reading began.  How awful things would be, they said, if Romney became President.  And they made a pact, then and there, with their toes on my collar, to move overseas if Romney won.  Unlike the same pact they made before Bush’s re-election, this time they were serious.  They were really going to leave!

After his readings, Sedaris took some questions, one of which was about his essay “Undecided” published in The New Yorker before the 2008 presidential election.  He briefly said how odd such political indecision was, likening it to confusion over two choices of entree – chicken, or a “platter of shit with bits of broken glass.”

I understand that Sedaris is a humorist, and one of the best at that, who probably couldn’t resist the temptation to comment on politics and poke fun at the same time.  And I must admit that I am decidedly decided in the upcoming election.  I have an opinion, so I, too, am subject to the following criticism.

Who cares what your political opinion is!  And why is it so important to have a political opinion anyway?  Isn’t it possible for a person to listen to crapstorms over betrothing, buggery, and bullets and say “Okay, I’m not sure how these effect me.  I’m already married.  My wife doesn’t allow deliveries through the back door, if you know what I mean.  And I don’t enjoy shooting people in the face.”

So, for the politcally-minded who believed Obama would close Guantanamo and substantially pull us out of wars and economic sludge, and for the people who believed this country would go to hell within months because of “socialism,” maybe you made the right, obvious, and noble choice - chicken.  Too bad you’ve been eating shit with broken glass all along.

15 thoughts on “You’re Wrong, Mr. Sedaris. But Who Cares!

  1. Sensible centrist “above politics” posts like this are the blogging equivalent of going to a party, listening around for someone discussing a television show, and then proudly declaring “I don’t own a TV!”

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  3. This is good stuff! I have seen Sedaris read and he is good, happily it wasn’t an election year. I don’t know which is worse stupid people saying they are going to move or putting their shoes and bare feet near strangers. It’s the shoes, I hope they move :)

  4. Oh man, I love David Sedaris! I would love to hear him speak. I recently read his book Me Talk Pretty One Day. There was a certain chapter about how he moves to Paris for awhile and starts taking French classes with a bunch of other foreigners. I speak French fluently thanks to my dad who is from there. The way he describes his French lessons was just so uproariously funny, I had to show it to my mom who could easily identify with learning French (she studied abroad there). We were both in tears at the end!

  5. Pingback: You’re Wrong, Mr. Sedaris. But Who Cares! | birdmanps

  6. So much of politics is focused on the loudmouthed freaks like Coulter, and less on what’s happening on the ground to everyone else.
    I find it astounding that in a country that always proclaims itself to be the greatest on earth in so many ways can’t fund its own future. I have a friend in Los Angeles who’s been teaching there for 23 years and they’ve fired her because they don’t have the money to pay her. They’re getting rid of their most experienced, talented people. I wish you all luck in getting out of the mess you’re in, but the 2 billion bucks you’re blowing on this borefest would be better spent elsewhere.

  7. I prefer political discourse (however annoying and exhausting) over apathy.
    Any day. Perhaps the more we communicate, share information, LISTEN and educate, the more we might give a shit about the things that do not directly affect us, but mean the world to our neighbours.

  8. Political issues don’t have to affect you personally to be worth an opinion. I don’t “enjoy shooting people in the face,” as you say, but I think it’s important to prevent those might from doing so. I’m straight, but I’m capable of that tiniest fraction of empathy necessary to imagine how I might feel about issues if I were gay. I don’t happen to be currently pregnant or destitute or ill, but I can feel for those who are. Taking the time to consider how your actions – including your vote – affects *others* is a key responsibility of being a human being in a community.

  9. This is great stuff. Really great material in here. Right, why the kids and spiders matter and checking out the neighbors for missing parts and toes in you neck and this time we really mean it, etc. I visualized all of it. And you did the link: Insecticide Guy to Sedaris. I wish I had seen this before. I need to get out more. I am still clumsy on the WP interface.

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