David Sedaris was born to do a Reddit AMA. The endlessly droll, observant author joined the ranks of RuPaul and Madonna by answering some reader questions and just murdering us with awesome, surprising answers to pretty normal questions. Here are his seven best responses.
1. On a topic he's always wanted to write about but hasn't put to page:
“I have a tumor on my side, it's completely harmless, it's called a lipoma, I want to have it surgically removed, and I want to feed it to a snapping turtle. This is something I want to write about. But in America, it's against federal law to give you a tumor removed from your body. And snapping turtles only live in North America. What am I to do?”
2. On NPR, which is not as glamorous as it sounds:
“Usually when you record for NPR, you're just…in a room by yourself, and the only person who's listening is the engineer and often, the engineer is answering emails, or texting his girlfriend about what to have for dinner. The exception are the engineers at NPR's bureau in New York, they're the best. And I always look forward to seeing them.”
3. On the meanest thing he's ever said:
“'I hope you die alone.' I said that to my father when I was 13. And I've thought about it ever since. I don't think he remembers it, because as a parent of 6 kids, you're gonna hear a lot of things like that. But my fear is that my father will die alone. And…I'll be forced, for the rest of my life, to think about that terrible thing that I said. Does anyone know a woman who might want to marry my father and stay by his side night and day? He's 92.”
4. On how he copes with writer's block:
Sometimes when I'm stuck, I'll open an English textbook, and do the homework. There are a lot of college writing textbooks that will include essays and short stories, and after reading the story or essay, there will be questions such as “Have YOU Had any experience with a pedophile in YOUR family?” or “When was the last time you saw YOUR mother drunk?” and they're just really good at prompting stories. You answer the question, and sometimes that can spring into a story. You know, this is really good advice: I mean, I don't have advice to offer on many things, but THAT is good advice, and you're NOT gonna hear it from a lot of other places. Sometimes, I listen to… jazz. It can't be… music with words in it. But lately, I'm on a… let's see, I'm on a Bobby Enriquez kick. It doesn't have anything to do with writer's block. Well, where we live in Sussex, sometimes there are gliders over our house, and gliders don't make any noise, but the planes that tow them into the sky do, but I like to cover up the sound of the planes. It's like a flying lawnmower.
5. On pleasing heterosexual barbers:
I had my hair cut at a barbershop in Toronto. And it was one of those experiences that all men have had…where you get into the chair, and the barber says “Where do you live?” And you say “England.” And he says “What's the pussy like in England?” And…you're sitting there, and he's got scissors in his hand, and your arms are covered, and you want to say “I'm a gay man, I have NO idea what the pussy is like in England.” But your arms are under a cloth! So you say: “It's a lot like Canadian pussy.”
6. On his surprising friendship with… Phyllis Diller.
Normally, those aren't the kind of things you can talk about. I think famous people like to choose friends who won't go around repeating their conversations and details about them. That said, I enjoyed a nice friendship with Phyllis Diller. She called, I was going to Los Angeles to do a show, and she called and asked if we could get together, and we had lunch and just really hit it off, so for the next several years every time I went to los Angeles I would go to her house and we would hang out.
7. On whether he'd persevere as a writer without validation
I know I would still be writing. And I would still be reading out loud. I think that if you are any kind of an artist, then validation is just sort of… it can be a result, but you're going to do the work anyway. Because you're just wired that way. It's so engrained, it's such a part of your personality that you don't just stop doing it. Eventually I'll retire on some level, eventually no one will want to buy my books or a ticket to see me read, it's inevitable that's going to happen. Uhuhuhuh fake cries But it won't stop me from writing. I'll just write about how sad I am all the time.