David Sedaris, Calypso, and Fitbit

#DavidSedaris @DavidSedaris #Calypso #HalfPriceBooks @HalfPriceBooks #Fitbit @Fitbit

I scroll through my email and see An Evening with David Sedaris. It’s at the Half Price Books flagship store in Dallas, or as I lovingly refer to it, the mothership. Calypso. He’s got a new book? No. It came out a year ago. Thank God for that email, because we hadn’t heard of it. I ordered a copy and could barely stand the 24 hour wait.

If you’re unfamiliar with Sedaris, he’s a brilliant satirist. If you love clever, unfiltered, yet impeccably edited humor, and aren’t easily offended, you’ll love him. I think he’s one of the top 3 storytellers, along with Gaiman and Bryson. The first pick I made in our book club was my personal favorite book ever, Me Talk Pretty One Day. No one’s reaction was lukewarm. People loved him or got nothing.

The first time we saw him was on Letterman, reading his short story, Stadium Pal, and we were his. Here it is so you can join in the fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejEcOMqBvpY

Jazz fan? Here he is singing Billie Holiday, and it is spot on. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2r8gyi

Calypso arrived and I couldn’t wait for the day to be over. I climbed into bed with my husband, our shiny new book, a bottle of wine, two glasses, and three dogs. There’s nothing better than a taking-turns-reading-to-each-other date.

The book didn’t disappoint! It’s truly laugh out loud funny, heartwarming, cynical, sad, and honest. A few stories in, we were reading a story that we’d heard him read back in 2013 at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. He’d been talking about his hatred of the extreme overuse of the word “awesome”. I suffer from terrible enthusiasm, and knew I was so guilty of the crime. That was six years ago. That’s how long he works to perfect his stories. I *want* to call that awesome. Anyway, we thought it was his best book since Me Talk Pretty One Day. If you love him, you need to go grab this now.

We got to the reading last night and he had everyone’s gripped attention, entertaining us with tales for an hour and a half. He read from the book, entries from his diaries, and told other stories and jokes. One thing that surprised me was discovering that David has a Fitbit obsession. I jog/walk between 5-10 miles every other day, and ride 7 miles on my bike or do kettlebells on the in between days. One day I put 18 miles on my sneakers because I just felt like it. That’s nothing! David averages 20 miles a day when he’s home. He walked 26 miles one day last week. On tour, he’d been busy and only put 7000 steps one day on his Fitbit. He said, “I couldn’t wreck my streak like that. <quietly> It’s all I’ve got. So, at the end of my signing, I asked the woman in front of me what she was doing afterwards. I think she thought I was going to ask her to dinner. I handed her $20 and my Fitbit and told her to get 3000 steps on it for me.” I was so inspired and told my husband I wanted a Fitbit. He laughed, “They’ve been around forever and you’ve been completely disinterested. His obsessive/compulsive story piqued your interest?!” “Yes.” I mean, duh. I looked them up when we got home, and the Fitbit Versa model even counts swimming laps. When I turned 40, we had a pool put in and my husband wanted a deep end. The kids were little and could swim well, but what if one of their buddies couldn’t or someone hit their head? After a few nights of lost sleep, I decided to get a lifeguard certificate. I went to the local pool, and could swim, but was intimidated by the deep end, so I went and asked the lifeguard for permission to do laps in the shallow end. I mean, it was empty, right? I was exhausted after two laps. So I did a ton of kick board laps afterwards. Every day, I added a few more regular laps with the kick board after to increase my endurance. About two months later, I was swimming 2 miles straight without needing any breaks. I had to count the laps in my head. Dang. That Fitbit would have been awesome! <Yeah, I got certified.>

Afterwards, was the book signing. Half Price Books had a very civilized, numbered system. We shopped for a few hours, waiting for our number. We already had all of his work in print, and many in audio form, too. <Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls and Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk grew legs….. sniff.> Bernard found 4 Napoleon books he didn’t have and I found David’s sister Amy’s book. Amy’s book has her recipes for Spanakopita and Avgolemono and Hugh’s recipe for Garlic Chicken and Wine. Nice.

Then it was our turn at the desk!
Bernard sets the open book in front of David.
D: Jen and Bernard. In France, we say Bernard. <Read that in an outrageous French accent.>
B: Actually, it’s Bernardo. <Read that in a Cuban accent.>
Clearly, he lost David’s interest who then turned to me.
D: So Jen, will you be having an abortion this summer?
Me: <Laughs in surprise.> No, that’s not on the calendar!
What I should have said <I know. That sounds like Mike Birbiglia!>: No, but I had a cyst removed! How did you know?! OR OMG, you think I look pregnant?! OR Just Yellowstone this summer. But there’s always another summer. OR No, but I’m actively hoping for menopause to show up!
D: <He’s clearly amused himself and can’t keep that smile at bay.> Well, it’s not really summer til someone has an abortion! Are you holding a Christmas ornament?
Me: <Vanna White’s the ornament in my hands.> Yes. I was hoping you’d sign Carol the fox. <She’s in the book.>
D: I’m not signing that, but I’ll admire her from here. Do they sell those here or did you bring it from home?
Me: I ordered her on Amazon.
D: Well, then I’m definitely not signing that! I hate Amazon! Jeff Bezos got in a fight with my publisher and Amazon wouldn’t put my book up then, and it really hurt sales.
Me: Which book?
D: When You Are Engulfed in Flames.
I remember thinking, “Hey! That’s a Van Gogh piece!” when I saw the cover.
D: I haven’t forgiven them. I can really hold a grudge, Jen. <Slides book across the table to us.> That’s you, from the back, naked in the bushes. <smiles>
Just like Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life! That’s too perfect. I happen to firmly believe that that almost kiss in IAWL is the most romantic bit of filmography in the history of time. And when I put on a nice dress and heels, my husband does that Jimmy Stewart thing, and says, “Hey Mary.” TMI?! No way! JEI! Yeah, totally worth the three hour wait.