Saturday, December 4, 2010

A [Double] Old-Fashioned Christmas


My favorite author, David Sedaris, also get’s a read during December with his book Holidays on Ice, which for some reason I always wanna call Holidays on the Rocks. It’s a collection of all his holiday themed stories and reminiscences.  We meet David the Macy’s elf in “The SantaLand Diaries,” the Dutch version of St. Nicolas (aka the former Bishop of Turkey now residing in Spain with his six to eight black slaves good friends who help him) and my absolute favorite, “Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!”, best summed up in this way by the book’s Wikipedia page:

A Christmas letter from the Dunbar clan detailing matriarch Mrs. Dunbar's slow descent into insanity during the holiday season — belied by her insistently cheerful tone — as she is forced to cope with the discovery of her husband's infidelity, the resultant prostitute stepdaughter left in their care, and her drug-addict daughter's premature pregnancy.



Excerpt from Chapter 1, via The New York Times (follow the link for the full chapter)

I am a thirty-three-year-old man applying for a job as an elf.

I often see people on the streets dressed as objects and handing out leaflets. I tend to avoid leaflets but it breaks my heart to see a grown man dressed as a taco. So, if there is a costume involved, I tend not only to accept the leaflet, but to accept it graciously, saying, "Thank you so much," and thinking, You poor, pathetic son of a bitch. I don't know what you have but I hope I never catch it. This afternoon on Lexington Avenue I accepted a leaflet from a man dressed as a camcorder. Hot dogs, peanuts, tacos, video cameras, these things make me sad because they don't fit in on the streets. In a parade, maybe, but not on the streets. I figure that at least as an elf I will have a place; I'll be in Santa's Village with all the other elves. We will reside in a fluffy wonderland surrounded by candy canes and gingerbread shacks. It won't be quite as sad as standing on some street corner dressed as a french fry.

I am trying to look on the bright side. I arrived in New York three weeks ago with high hopes, hopes that have been challenged. In my imagination I'd go straight from Penn Station to the offices of "One Life to live," where I would drop off my bags and spruce up before heading off for drinks with Cord Roberts and Victoria Buchannon, the show's greatest stars. We'd sit in a plush booth at a tony cocktail lounge where my new celebrity friends would lift their frosty glasses in my direction and say, "A toast to David Sedaris, the best writer this show has ever had!!!"


But instead I am applying for a job as an elf. Even worse than applying is the very real possibility that I will not be hired, that I couldn't even find work as an elf. That's when you know you're a failure.


I actually had the pleasure of getting to meet David Sedaris (why am I using his full name?) when he came to do a reading from his then new book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, at a bookstore in Austin with my friend, Jamie.  Here’s how that conversation went:

David Sedaris: “Hello—oh, you look familiar, have we met?”

Me: “Uh, no… unfortunately not!”

David Sedaris: “Oh, okay. Well, where are you in from?”

Me: “I came in from Waco—I’m a student at Baylor University. In Waco.”

David Sedaris: “Waco, huh? I stayed at a hotel there once I believe.  It was… nice."

Me: “Yeah, it’s interesting.  I mean, Waco IS famous for basically two things: A. Dr. Pepper and B. The Branch Dividian compound massacre.”

David Sedaris cricket:  *chirp* *chirp*

David Sedaris: “Uh huuuuuhh. Well… thanks for makin the trip?”

2010-12-04 13.27.09

The David Sedaris honorary wing of my library. (Chipmunk Seeks Squirrel and Holidays on the Rocks Ice are currently on loan to other lifestyles throughout the apartment)


Artist: The Carpenters/ Album: Christmas Portrait

- So no, this isn’t the real name of the song.  That would be “An Old-Fashioned Christmas,” but just this once I’m changing it up a bit because, quite frankly, I have no idea why someone hasn’t written a song called “A Double Old-Fashioned Christmas”… isn’t there some statistic somewhere that says sales of alcohol goes up 60 percent during the months of November and December? Is it also true that I may or may not have just made that statistic up? WE’LL NEVER KNOW!!

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite Sedaris stories is "A Plague of Tics," in his book, NAKED.


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