Long ago, my husband and I learned that a good way to survive a long road trip is to consume large portions of the time with audio books, and some of our favorites are by David Sedaris. If you haven’t read him, you should.
He’s a writer, playwright, brother of Amy Sedaris, “This American Life” commentator, and frequent guest on Letterman. Up until now, all his books have been memoirs about the oddities of his life and familial nuances.
And right before one of his last books was published, we got the opportunity to see him. I did my research beforehand and read an article saying that he was looking for filthy jokes on this particular book tour—“the filthier the better,” he was quoted as saying.
I pride myself on being an excellent researcher/master Googler. So playing the good journalist, I scoured the Internet for some jokes worthy of David Sedaris. I found two—one incredibly raunchy, the other one just kind of. I scrawled them on slips of paper and folded them up. My husband made it clear that I was not to give them to David Sedaris, but then, I hadn’t even told him what was on the paper.
We got to the book signing and were seventh in line. When the first person went up to meet him, David informed the guy he was collecting jokes and asked the guy for some. The guy fumbled for words, clearly thrown off by the request.
“See?” I turned, triumphantly, to my husband. “I told you! I’m giving him these jokes. Do you want one of mine?” I offered.
“No,” he said flatly.
When we got to the front of the line, David Sedaris, in his high-pitched, lispy voice asked if we had any jokes.
“I heard you were looking for jokes,” I said, “and so I brought you a few.” I handed him the slips of paper, and was rewarded with his signature gap-toothed smile.
“How’d you hear that?”
“I did my research,” I said.
And then, David Sedaris, one of my most favorite authors, unfolded my slips of paper and roared with laughter.
“This is one of the filthiest jokes I’ve seen,” he said.
I blushed furiously. “I know.”
And then he read it out loud. I’m glad he did because I don’t think I could have. And my husband, who had not seen the jokes, looked at me incredulously. At this point, I think my face was as red as the sweater I was wearing.
So I did what any self-respecting woman would do: I put my hands on my protruding stomach and said, “I’m going to be someone’s mother soon!”
Here’s the dirty joke (thanks, Internet! Sorry, Mom!):
Question: Why are women like Kentucky Fried Chicken?
Answer: After you’ve finished with the thigh and breasts, all you have left is a greasy box to put your bone in.
The inscription in my copy of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk reads: “Thanks for that filthy joke. David Sedaris.”
“And years from now, when our child reads that, he’s going to ask what the filthy joke is,” my husband remarked.
David Sedaris laughed again and then proceeded to pull out a little green notebook—his personal joke book—and read us five or six jokes. He was every bit as droll as I’d hoped.
And then he, the great David Sedaris, inscribed a book to my husband, the proud—if not, at this point, a bit scandalized—father of the baby (now-3-year-old child) I was carrying at the time. The baby who, one day, will perhaps flip open a David Sedaris book and ask his mother what this unspeakable joke was…though if he is anything like his father, he will probably prefer not to know….