David Sedaris is coming to Toronto. I thought it was a good time to pick up Naked and read his wry take on humanity. Particularly entertaining was his story Chipped Beef:
“We give unspeakable amounts to charity, but you’ll never hear us talk about it. We give anonymously because the sackfuls of thank-you letters break our hearts with their clumsy handwriting and hopeless phonetic spelling. Word gets out that we’re generous and good-looking, and before you know it our front gate will become a campsite for fashion editors and crippled children, who tend to ruin the grass with the pointy shanks of their crutches…They’re hungry for something they know nothing about, but we, we know all too well that the price of fame is the loss of privacy. Public displays of happiness only encourage the may kidnappers who prowl the leafy estates of our better neighbourhoods.”
Now I should have put that quote into my essay The Economy of Pity I wrote a few years ago on the nature of philanthropy and it’s arms-length safety of giving in autism – the “if we give to it we don’t really have to face it,” type of giving.