Sunday, July 27, 2008

Professional jealousy

I'm reading the newest book by David Sedaris and have been greatly entertained by it. I'm a little more than halfway through it, and, as is usually the case, I'm feeling less and less amused. Instead, I find myself being more and more critical, deconstructing paragraphs and muttering little asides under my breath. "Oh, really?" "Come on!" "No way."

Professional jealousy is an ugly thing.

How does he do it? How can so many quirky and unusual things happen to a person?

I know he's prone to embellishment. All writers are prone to embellishment. Just ask my co-workers and they'll tell you not a day goes by that I don't try to add a little color to (sometimes) factual accounts of both the news and my life. I take every opportunity to jazz up a story.

Whatever happened to Shannon Miller, the famed Edmond gymnast?
She's currently recovering from a broken back. But she's going to be just fine.

How did X and Y ever get together?
They just don't match. I know, it's weird, but even weirder is the fact that Y is a mail-order bride.

Why is Z wearing that arm brace? He had some minor surgery. No big deal, they just removed some hair and teeth that belonged to his subcutaneous twin.

Okay, so it's small potatoes next to the David's mastery of embellishment and exaggeration. He says that he keeps a little notebook in his pocket, jotting down up to 10 things a day that might give him inspiration later: things like giving an adult skeleton as a present, the bizarre character sketch of his neighbor Helen, and the creepy babysitter who made him and his siblings scratch her back with a plastic wand "no bigger than a monkey's paw".

I think I might be able to wring some amusement out of a descriptive posting on SO's favorite pair of pseudo-shorts -- a bit of pale green cloth that once proudly served its host as an article of clothing but is now shapelessly held together by a thin elastic band and a prayer. But no, I just can't do it. I've got to get back to the book.

Maybe tomorrow, if I'm not paralyzed by envy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Sport's best friend has moved back to California. Luis was a great kid and his family practically adopted Sport, teaching him to love homemade flour tortillas, professional wrestling, and a desire to learn Spanish.

"Why can't I roll my r's like Luis?" he asked me.

"It takes practice," I told him. "You've got to start when you're really little and develop a technique."

My San Antonio childhood gave me a chance to roll my r's every now and then, but I've not used the ability in a very long time. I can give a nice twist to "carne asada" but it takes a while to get back in the swing of things. I showed Sport how to do it and he's been practicing. A lot.

The weird thing is, those r's get rolled about two octaves higher than his normal voice. It sounds oddly like a crow cawing.

"If Sport does that one more time, I'm going to kill him," growled Lego. We were taking a 5-mile bike ride and his brother continued to caw those r's for most of the trip.

I think he's hoping that Luis will come back and he'll stun him with his amazing new technique.

UPDATE: It worked! Luis has been gone for a couple of months now, but he showed up on our doorstep Sunday night. Sport was beside himself with joy. Rrrrrrrrrr!