Funny man David Sedaris has a new book of essays, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, and in an interview with Lambda Literary, the camp and irreverence that made him a bestseller show no signs of mellowing.
On shitting in your mother's mouth/pussy: Hugh, my boyfriend, has been mad at me because he says that this trip I’ve been writing in people’s books the kinds of things you’d find on a bathroom wall. I learned this Romanian curse and it’s one of the things I’ve been writing in people’s books. It translates to “I shit in your mother’s mouth.” It’s a good curse, isn’t it? I explained to someone the other day, “Look, I’m not actually going to do this. I’m just writing it down so you can remember it. My Spanish version is “me cago en la fiche de tu madre,” which is “I shit in your mother’s pussy.” Somebody taught me that. But, again, I tell people, “Look, I’m not really going to do this.” The week before last I wrote, “I shit in your mother’s mouth,” in this guy’s book, and the guy said, “My mother’s dead.” I said, “Well, I’m gonna dig her up. I’m gonna dig your mother up, and I’m going to open her casket, and I’m going to kneel over her face and I’m going to shit in your dead mother’s mouth. How would you like that?”
On getting straight men to feed him: I was at lunch a couple of weeks ago with my friend Ted. He’s my oldest friend. I’ve known him since junior high school. The waiter brought the dessert menu, and I said, “Do you wanna split a dessert?” So anyway, Ted and I split this coconut cream pie. I looked around the room and there were two other men also sharing a piece of pie. And I thought, Straight men don’t do that. So I started polling straight men while signing books. This one guy said, “You know a plate of Buffalo wings is one thing, but dessert, that’s just crossing a line.” I talked to this other guy, and he said, “You know it’s so funny you should ask. I just had dinner with a buddy and we shared a dessert, and we made a point of telling the waitress that we weren’t gay.” I’ve gotten in the habit of eating dinner while I’m signing books. So now, last night I had steak. I was sitting at my signing table and when an obviously straight man would come up I’d say, “Can you cut me a piece of steak while I sign your book? Now, I need you to fork it into my mouth.” I worry that it’s too aggressive, but I just think it’s funny to make straight men feed me. If it gave me an erection, then I would feel bad about it, but it doesn’t. It just makes me laugh.
On reaching a new understanding about his father: I’m 56, and for most my lifetime it was understood that even a horrible straight person was better than a gay person. Not too many people believe that anymore. That can allow for a kind of forgiveness or a deeper understanding. Part of it can just be getting older. This 18 year-old kid, a relative of Hugh’s, came to visit us in England last summer. And he was such a nerd, this kid. You just wanted to correct him on every possible level. I found myself getting so frustrated with him and I thought, Oh, that’s what my dad must’ve felt in regards to me. I think my dad felt that there was just no place in the world for me, that I was just such an unpopular [kid], such a nerdy mess, that if he could mold me into a different kind of person maybe I would stand a chance. I can see that now. When I was having those feelings toward that young man that was visiting, I thought, Well, maybe that’s what my dad was feeling all those years. He was trying in the only way he knew how to mold me into his idea of a likeable person. I much prefer that view of my dad. And I wrote him about it after this relative of Hugh’s left. I wrote him about it and I said I think I understand now.