Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Amy Sedaris Living

We have often spoken of the universal truths that are at the heart of humor. Tyler Perry addressed issues of race, gender, responsibility, and fractured ideals that can permeate society. David Sedaris presented writing about his family as a form of poking fun at dysfunction as well as deeper issues including coming to terms with his sexuality. His humor presented an emotional catharsis and a healing of the built-up pain in his past.

Amy Sedaris, who may not seem to have any structure, form, or definitive moral is actually reaching a vital universal truth in I Like You: that the greatest beauty and joy in life can be found in the people we surround ourselves with and the everyday things we encounter. There is joy in the foods we cook, the parties we throw and the friends (and rabbits) we share time with. Life, like a party is less about the aesthetics and more about the substance. What are we celebrating? Perfectly tiered and decorated cakes or someone’s birthday?

When writing about gift giving Sedaris places emphasis on the message over the price tag, “The best presents come from the heart and say something simple: ‘I like you.’ No matter how hard you try, you cannot purchase affection with presents unless you drop some serious coinage, but you can show thoughtfulness and creativity.” (Sedaris, 186). It truly isn’t about having the best gift or the hot new Christmas toy that turns normal parents into frantic shoppers on Black Friday. In all actuality, the presents that I remember most where the simple sentimental gifts, like the Dr. Seuss book, Oh the Places You’ll Go. My sister gave me the book at my high school graduation with a handwritten note inside. It still sits on my bookshelf whereas the trendy gifts ended up in a donation box after they outgrew their luster. Perhaps the next time one of us throws a party or is searching for the right gift we can take a step back and reflect on the deeper significance of the event or the gift: the people with whom we choose to spend our time.

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