David Sedaris

David Sedaris

A weeklong electronic journal.
Dec. 6 1996 3:30 AM

David Sedaris

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Amy came over late last night and we talked about the upcoming play. She'd recently gone to someone's apartment and borrowed three paperbacks from their bizarre personal library. These are books Amy thinks might help us with the play: Llewellyn's Sun Sign Guide, Sexual Astrology, and something called How To Get Your Lover Back, by Blase Harris, M.D. Dr. Harris' book contains chapters titled "Okay, So You Lost Your Lover" and "Loving 100 Percent to Get Your Lover Back." Amy's not sure how this book fits in, but we like the idea of someone using a manual in an effort to reconcile a failed relationship. ("It says here on Page 147 that in order to create a proper romantic trance state, I might want to somehow get Jerry beneath a canopy of leaves.")

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The astrology books will definitely come in handy. Neither one of us knows anything about the zodiac, but we both get a kick out of hearing people say things like, "Whatever you do, never hire a Libra to clean your drapes," or, "That's a Virgo for you."

I never used to evaluate people on the basis of their birthdays. Before she died, my mother used to phone and read my daily horoscope from the Raleigh News and Observer. "Look for a big career breakthrough on the 15th," she'd say, and I would count the days, waiting for my big break. Nothing would happen, but that never dissuaded her from calling the next morning with news about my impending change of residence or surprise vacation. "This is a good day to tie up loose ends and just be yourself in the company of an understanding Leo." She wasn't raised to think this way. It just came upon her suddenly in the mid-80s.

The Sun Sign book begins each zodiac chapter with a list of telltale characteristics and key phrases. As a Capricorn, my phrase is, "I use." My color is black, my flower the carnation, and my opposite sign is Cancer. Characteristics are as follows:

Positive Expression

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Ambitious

Frugal

Conscientious

Cautious

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Disciplined

Sensible

Patient

Prudent

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Misuse of Energy

Controlling

Miserly

Rigid

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Fearful

Repressed

Melancholy

Machiavellian

Inhibited

Whatever. The sensible thing certainly doesn't fit, and I'm not willing to lift the dictionary for "Machiavellian." I think that means I have a bad haircut. We're thinking that it might be nice to write characters for the play according to their zodiac descriptions. No one needs to know that so-and-so is a Cancer, we'll just follow the list and fashion an individual who is tenacious, protective, nurturing, patriotic, sympathetic, maternal, crabby, smothering, defensive, suspicious, anxious, and moody. Then we'll throw him into a room with his opposite sign and see what happens. Because I am a Capricorn, I think this is an excellent idea.

The third book, Sexual Astrology, is way out there. I looked up my sign and read, "Here's another erotic tip that delights a Capricorn male: The woman inserts the nipple of her breast into the opening of his penis. He'll love it and love you for doing it." What? I've never been with a woman, but if Hugh tried doing something like that I'd reach up and slap the shit out of him, hoping the force of my blow might bring him to his senses. Since reading the book, I've asked several straight couples if they've ever done such a thing, and they all thought I was making it up. The book warns men against touching the hair of Leo women during oral sex, and encourages women to pay extra close attention to the calves and ankles of Aquarian men.

Amy said that her friend has a lot of other great books, but I think these are more than enough to get us started.

David Sedaris is a commentator for National Public Radio and the author of Barrel Fever, a book of short stories, and a forthcoming memoir, Naked. He has also co-written several plays with his sister, Amy Sedaris, including Stitches and One Woman Shoe.