Selections from ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls’ by David Sedaris

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“There are things you forget naturally-computer passwords, your father’s continuing relationship with life-and then there are things you can’t forget that you wish you could.”

 

 

 

“All these young mothers chauffeuring their volcanic three-year-olds through the grocery store. The child’s name always sounds vaguely presidential, and he or she tends to act accordingly. “Mommy hears what you’re saying about treats,” the woman will say, “But right now she needs you to let go of her hair and put the chocolate-covered Life Savers back where they came from.”

 

 

 

“If there’d been anything decent in the house, anything approaching real ice cream, it would have been eaten long ago. I knew this, so I bypassed the freezer in the kitchen and the secondary freezer in the toolshed and went to the neglected, tundra-like one in the basement. Behind the chickens bought years earlier on sale, and the roasts encased like chestnuts in blood-tinted frost, I found a tub of ice milk, vanilla-flavored, and the color of pus. It had been frozen for so long that even I, a child, was made to feel old by the price tag. “Thirty-five cents! You can’t get naught for that nowadays!” 

 

 

 

“Of course, the diary helps me as well. ‘That wasn’t your position on July 7, 1991,’ I’ll remind Hugh an hour after we’ve had a fight. I’d have loved to rebut him sooner, but it takes awhile to look these things up.” 

 

 

 

“One afternoon while driving back from the beach, Hugh pointed out a McDonald’s bag vomiting its contents onto the pavement. “I say that any company whose products are found on the ground automatically has to go out of business,” he said. This is how we talk nowadays, as if our pronouncements hold actual weight and can be implemented at our discretion, like we’re kings or warlocks. “That means no more McDonald’s, no more Coke – none of it.”

“That wouldn’t affect you any,”I told him. Hugh doesn’t drink soda or eat Big Macs. “But what if it was something you needed, like paint? I find buckets of it in the woods all the time.”

“Fine,” he said. “Get rid of it. I’ll make my own.”

If anyone could make his own paint, it would be Hugh.

“What about brushes?”

“Please,” he said, and he shifted into a higher gear. “I could make those in my sleep.” 

 

 

 

“For the first sixteen years we were together, I’d give Hugh chocolates for Valentine’s Day, and he’d give me a carton of cigarettes. Both of us got exactly what we wanted, and it couldn’t have been easier.”

 

 

 

 

“I’ve become like one of those people I hate, the sort who go to the museum and, instead of looking at the magnificent Brueghel, take a picture of it, reducing it from art to proof. It’s not “Look what Brueghel did, painted this masterpiece” but “Look what I did, went to Rotterdam and stood in front of a Brueghel painting!” 

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