should i be having this much fun during lent?

It almost seems cruel to release Season 3 of House of Cards during Lent.  And . . . to have not only tickets to see David Sedaris in Conversation, but David Sedaris himself . . . in my car!  I feel a little ashamed, but then again, I promised you a Lent Party.

:: Just as Netflix dropped all 13 episodes of House of Cards, my grading inbox piled up.  You’d think this would be a perfect opportunity to practice my Lenten fast.

From grading!

Papers?  Students?  Who cares!!  Are you watching House of Cards?!  How long has your binge lasted?  Team Claire or Team Francis?  And is it even fair to root for either of them during this sacred season of Lent?

7 down, 6 more to go.

One more episode!  One more episode! 

:: Part of my Lenten journey involves making room for joy and laughter, and I thought I’d spend my monthly Audible credit on a sure thing.  A classic collection of guaranteed laughs.  If I’m headed into the desert, I’m taking David Sedaris with me.

DressYourFamilySedarisIf you aren’t familiar with Sedaris, he’s known for his dark humor and his sarcastic almost blistering autobiographical tell-all-tales based on his upbringing in North Carolina and New York, a great combination that gives him a sardonic drawl.  Southern Gothic with a side of city sophistication.  A good introduction to his work is Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, which I binged on while driving to work last week.  The Audible version features Sedaris himself reading his essays from the seat next to you, and I will warn you, if you don’t snort your Starbuck’s out your nose you’ll pee your pants right there at the stoplight.  Choose your fun . . . Every single story — and there are 22 of them — is hysterical.

In “Let It Snow,” Sedaris turns his pen on his mother after a series of snow days has her at her wit’s end.  She locks her 5 children out of the house in the morning, and they spend the rest of the day trying to figure out how to get back inside.  They knock on the kitchen window and warn their mother she’s going to be in big trouble when dad gets home.  She pours herself another glass of wine and wanders into another room.  They run to the other side of the house; she shuts the drapes.

One of us should get hit by a car, I said. That would teach both of them. I pictured Gretchen, her life hanging by a thread as my parents paced the halls of Rex Hospital, wishing they had been more attentive. It was really the perfect solution. With her out of the way, the rest of us would be more valuable and have a bit more room to spread out. Gretchen, go lie in the street.

Make Amy do it, she said.

Amy, in turn, pushed it off onto Tiffany, who was the youngest and had no concept of death. It’s like sleeping, we told her, only you get a canopy bed.

Poor Tiffany. She’d do just about anything in return for a little affection. All you had to do was call her Tiff and whatever you wanted was yours: her allowance money, her dinner, the contents of her Easter basket. Her eagerness to please was absolute and naked. When we asked her to lie in the middle of the street, her only question was, Where?

Many of my favorites have been published in The New Yorker, and you can read them online for free.  But I can’t heap enough praise on this audiobook for the simple JOY of having Sedaris cradle you into fits of laughter with his voice and deadpan delivery.  Even if you’re already familiar with these stories, if you have a faded and dog-eared copy of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim on your bookshelf, to have him in your car along for the ride is pure silly magic!

I especially loved one essay entitled “Six to Eight Black Men,” which explores the various (and hilarious) cultural representations of Santa Claus.  And any story where he talks in the voice of his brother, Paul, who he characterizes as a shrill-voiced hillbilly frat boy.  Heaven!  He gives Paul some of the best lines in the book, followed in close second by his mother, who I especially loved in “The Girl Next Door.”

I have a monthly subscription to Audible, which is the audiobook demon-spawn of Amazon, but I’m sold on it.  What can I say?  Pray for me.  But for a few dollars handed over to the devil each month, I get access to audio books that make my hour’s commute not only productive but fun.  If you aren’t an Audible subscriber, sample this YouTube video and enjoy what Sedaris you can get your ears on.

Do you have a favorite Sedaris story?

What’s been the best (or most shocking) moment so far on this season of House of Cards?  The graveyard scene?  The duct tape?  The Women’s Restroom?  ????

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