Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris

"She laughed and swatted him with a towel, and we witnessed what we would later come to recognize as the rejuvenating power of real estate. It's what fortunate couples turn to when their sex life has faded and they're too pious for affairs. A second car might bring people together for a week or two, but a second home can revitalize a marriage for up to nine months after the closing." (p. 23)

"I myself was not a member of my school's popular crowd, but I recall thinking that, whoever they were, Janet's popular crowd couldn't begin to compete with ours. But what if I was wrong? What if I'd wasted my entire life comparing myself with people who didn't really matter? Try as I might, I still can't wrap my mind around it." (p. 43)

"Looking back, I should have known better than to accompany Hugh to a love story. Such movies are always a danger as, unlike battling aliens or going undercover to track down a serial killer, falling in love is something most adults have actually experienced at some point in their lives. The theme is universal and encourages the viewer to make a number of unhealthy comparisons, ultimately raising the question "Why can't our lives be like that?" It's a box best left unopened, and it's avoidance explains the continued popularity of vampire epics and martial arts extravaganzas." (p. 138)

"Call me unimaginative, but I still can't think of anyone else I'd rather be with. On our worst days, I figure things will work themselves out. Otherwise, I really don't give our problems much thought." (p. 139)

"What more could he want? It was an incredibly stupid question and when he failed to answer, I was reminded of just how lucky I truly am. ... Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the opportunity to hurt someone's feelings." (p. 140)

"Photography interested her, so she taught herself to use a camera, ultimately landing a job in the photo department of a large international drug company, where she took pictures of germs, viruses, and people reacting to germs and viruses. On weekends, for extra money, she photographed weddings, which really wasn't that much of a stretch." (p. 145)

"I ask about guns not because I want one of my own but because the answers vary so widely from state to state. In a country that's become increasingly homogeneous, I'm reassured by these last charming touches of regionalism." (p. 158)

re: Christmas stories
"A Dutch parent has a decidedly hairier story to relate, telling his children, 'Listen, you might want to pack a few of your things together before going to bed. The former bishop of Turkey will be coming tonight along with six to eight black men. They might put some candy in your shoes, they might stuff you into a sack and take you to Spain, or they might just pretend to kick you. We don't know for sure, but we want you to be prepared.'" (p. 163)

"I can't seem to fathom that the things important to me are not important to other people as well, and so I come off sounding like a missionary, someone whose job is to convert rather than listen. ... It's not that I don't like her - far from it - I just worry that, without a regular job and the proper linoleum, she'll fall through a crack and disappear to a place where we can't find her." (p. 203)

"That's the problem with wishes, they ensnare you." (p. 209)

"I could have asked for one at the front desk, but I didn't want a lightbulb. I just wanted to feel put-upon." (p. 211)

"'So it was inflatable?' The guests laughed at Hugh's little joke, and I took a moment to think the worse of them. An inflatable hand is preposterous and not worth imagining. Couldn't they see that?" (p. 226)

"People who are competing for the titles of best-loved aunts and uncles ... send satin pants and delicate hand-crafted sweaters accompanied by notes reading 'P.S. The fur collar is detachable.' The baby is photographed in each new outfit, and I receive pictures almost daily. In them my brother and his wife look not like parents but like backwoods kidnappers, secretly guarding the heiress to a substantial cashmere fortune." (p. 242)

"'Hyaa!' I yell. 'Hyaa. Hyaa!" It's the sound my father makes when entering his toolshed, the cry of cowboys as they round up dogies, and it suggests a certain degree of authority." (p. 251)

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