Me: I understand you’re interested in writing my biography. First, let me say I’m flattered.
David: It’s something I’ve wanted to—
Me: Wait. I’m not finished. Again, I’m flattered. But I’m also concerned. Your last book—what was it, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk ?—wasn’t my favorite. Actually it probably wasn’t anyone’s favorite.
David: Let me explain. Things—
Me: I’m not done. It wasn’t my favorite, but I still want you. As long as you get back to your Me Talk Pretty One Day mindset, I’d be happy. I’d even take the Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim years. I just think it’d be best to leave animals out of it.
David: But you love animals! How can I write your life story without animals?!
Me: You’re right, but it’s pets. I love pets. Not the odd parings in that book. And that was fiction, anyway. There’s no mouse with a pet snake in my life, so we’re good.
David: Got it. Which essays in particular did you enjoy? Just so I get an idea of your tastes.
Me: What did I enjoy? What didn’t I enjoy? Besides anything in Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, that is. The one that still makes me laugh is your speech therapist story from elementary school, where she kept baiting you to pronounce s sounds and you kept answering her questions with obscure words that had no s’s—or sh’s. Sorry—it’s been a while. The way you avoided saying “Christmas”? Genius! Ohhh—and the time you visited a nudist colony! That’s great! Your not wanting to sit on the furniture? Contemplating the intelligence of serving chili? Commenting on the bravery—or stupidity, I don’t remember which—of the naked fry cook? If you could do anything close to that in the biography, I’d be thrilled.
David: Do you mind if I open the window a crack? (Throwing it open without waiting for an answer.) Here’s the thing: nothing funny has happened in your life. I don’t have much to work with.
Me: What do you mean?
David: Think about it: you read, you write, you run. Rinse and repeat, and you’ve got tomorrow. And the day after that. And—
Me: Wait! There’s funny stuff! Why, just the other day—
David: Hold on. If you want serious, I can do it. But funny? I’ve got a reputation. I’m pretty sure my agent wouldn’t approve, anyway.
Me: How about if I let you do animals?
David: But you said no to animals, yes to pets.
Me: I was wrong! C’mon, David! We have to work something out! Now that I think about it, that story about the mouse with the pet snake was great! Maybe I just didn’t get the irony at first. But saying it out loud, I realize it’s some of your best work!
David: Honestly, Linda, I—
Me: No, David! Please reconsider! Creative license! That’s what I’ll give you! Write whatever you want!
David: Even pattern it after that nonsensical “motherless bear” story?
Me: Nonsensical? Are we both thinking of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk? Because the motherless bear story was priceless! Hey—I’ve got it! How about I pay you? Would that work?
David: I don’t know…
Me: No, really. Name your price. (Taking out checkbook.) I’m sorry. I’m being crass, aren’t I?
David: No. It’s just that I don’t know how long this’ll take me, how much to bill you for. Because I’ve read your outline—it’s going to take me a while to make something out of nothing.
Me: Then just take a blank check. Fill it in for a fair amount whenever you’re done. I trust you.
And that is how David Sedaris came to write my biography. Or will come to write my biography, just as soon as (1.) something worth writing about happens and (2.) David Sedaris becomes destitute and needs the work.
(Image courtesy of CC:en.wikipedia.org)