I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

An Excerpt:

David Sedaris' new book, "When You Are Engulfed in Flames," is available, autographed at no extra charge! at Books & Books on Lincoln Road.

Here's the passage that just made me snort with laughter:

"I don't know why it was, exactly, but nothing irritated my father quite like the sound of his children's happiness. Group crying he could stand, but group laughter was asking for it, especially at the dinner table.

The problem was that there was so much to laugh at, particularly during the years that our Greek grandmother lived with us. Had we been older, it might have been different. "The poor thing has gas," we might have said. For children, though, nothing beats a flatulent old lady. What made it all the crazier was that she wasn't embarrassed by it -- no more than our collie, Duchess, was. It sounded as if she were testing a chain saw, yet her face remained inexpressive and unchanging.

"Something funny?" our father would ask us, as if he hadn't heard, as if his chair, too, had not vibrated in the aftershock. "You think something's funny, do you?"

If keeping a straight face was difficult, saying no was so exacting that it caused pain.

"So you were laughing at nothing?"

"Yes," we would say. "At nothing."

Then would come another mighty rip, and what was once difficult would now be impossible. My father kept a heavy serving spoon next to his plate, and I can't remember how many times he brought it down on my head.

"You still think there's something to laugh about?"

Strange that being walloped with a heavy spoon made everything seem funnier, but there you have it. My sisters and I would be helpless, doubled over, milk spraying out of our mouths and noses, the force all the stronger for having been bottled up. There were nights when the spoon got blood on it, nights when hairs would stick to the blood, but still our grandmother farted, and still we laughed until the walls shook."