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Get Naked

David Sedaris’ Naked is yet another hysterical collection of his autobiographical essays. Whether being told through his firsthand experiences or direct observations, what makes Sedaris’ personal stories addictive is the dark sense of humor in his writing. Here is an excerpt from “I Like Guys” to illustrate his whimsicality:

There was a boy at camp I felt I might get along with, a Detroit native named Jason who slept on the bunk beneath mine. Jason tended to look away when talking to the other boys, shifting his eyes as though he were studying the weather conditions. Like me, he used his free time to curl into a fetal position, staring at the bedside calendar upon which he’s x-ed out all the days he had endured so far. We were finishing our 7:15 to 7:45 wash-and-rinse segment one morning when our dormitory counselor arrived for inspection shouting, “What are you, a bunch of goddamned faggots who can’t make your bed?”

I giggled out loud at his stupidity. If anyone knew how to make a bed, it was a faggot. It was the others he needed to worry about. I saw Jason laughing, too, and soon we took to mocking this counselor, referring to each other first as “faggots” and then as “stinking faggots.” We were “lazy faggots” and “sunburned faggots” before we eventually become “faggoty faggots.” We couldn’t protest the word, as that would have meant acknowledging the truth of it. The most we could do was to embrace it as a joke. Embodying the term in all its clichéd glory, we minced and pranced about the room for each other’s entertainment when the others weren’t looking. I found myself easily outperforming my teachers, who had failed to capture the proper spirit of loopy bravado inherent to the role. Faggot, as a word, was always delivered in a harsh, unforgiving tone befitting those weak or stupid enough to act upon impulses. We used it as a joke, an accusation, and finally as a dare. Late at night I’d feel my bunk buck and sway, knowing that Jason was either masturbating or beating eggs for an omelette. Is it me he’s thinking about? I’d follow his lead and wake the next morning to find our entire iron-frame unit had wandered a good eighteen inches away from the wall. Our love had the power to move bunks.

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