Sunday, April 13, 2008

Laughing until It Hurts

Last night I read K a section of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (turns out that one of the teachers I eat lunch with every day already had a copy and just loaned it to me). This is not that abnormal. I've read her a couple of excerpts from other points already, but this is the first time that she seemed to get as much of a kick out of it as I did.

There was much laughing, rolling in uncontrollable fits of levity, and the words "I can't breathe" were even uttered on my part at one point. Needless to say, it took us a bit longer than expected to plow through the three pages of that particular essay. What was the subject of writing so powerful that it could leave us in tears, heaving for breath, and unable to read more than a sentence at a time before breaking into hysterical fits?

Poop.

Don't get me wrong, defecation and its products are innately funny. In fact, I'm betting those first proto-linguistic humans had their first giggles over the act of eliminating solid wastes. It's just that we're so unwilling as a species to discuss, or even acknowledge, solid waste that our fear of our own hind ends produces the funniest jokes.

This story really took the whole genre of copro-comedy to new heights. The basic facts are that Sedaris attended a dinner party in which he announced that he needed to run to the restroom only to find a rather large turd that refused to be flushed. The rest of the essay deals with his attempts to dispose of the lump and not have it identified as his (which is wasn't). Let's just say that the idea of throwing it out the window is toyed with until he realizes that he's only ten feet from the picnic table where everyone else is sitting. He also considers washing his hair at one point, but seriously, you just need to find the book and read "Big Boy". The only way that I could do this story justice is to reprint it in its entirety, and that would be illegal.

Now, most of you know that despite my tendency for high-brow indulgences, my sense of humor isn't afraid of intensely low-brow stimulation. I'm just not sure I've ever read, heard, or seen comedy involving the poopy to reach quite this level of hilarity, and I'm perfectly comfortable in admitting this to the world.

6 comments:

sid said...

You got me giggling. I'll try to see if our local bookstore has this book. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Julie said...

I have to agree that poop is funny but I was totally grossed out by the Dana poop at BC where a certain future minister rescued a rather large poop out of the toilet and kept it in a fish bowl for viewing. Lesson: talking about poop is funny. Handling poo is not.

Mickey said...

Julie: The same Dana legend came to mind.

Jacob: Poop.

Chris said...

I was just thinking about that same incident, Julie. Even then, it was funny for me to hear about it. I did not get a personal viewing, however, and I suspect it might have lost its humor value at that point.

The essay does sound worth a read. I'd like to see how he came around to considering washing his hair in this situation.

smtwngrl said...

Anything I've ever read by Sedaris has had me laughing out loud at at least one point. Love his sense of humor.

Courtney said...

I just picked up two Sedaris books at the library today. I want to read Me Talk Pretty One Day, but it's always checked out.