Jun 2, 2020

Stan Talks Pretty, Larry Edits, and We Listen In, all Virtually of Course

[Editor's Acknowledgment:  Larry took it upon himself to prime the blog with this guest post.  I am deeply grateful.  Enjoy and be gentle in your comments.]

Tuesday May 19th saw, or more accurately Zoomed, the second MBC virtual meeting.  It still feels a bit strange that neighbors literally next door to each other have to see each other on a computer screen in a recreation of the old Hollywood Squares game show.  And you know how exciting our lives are when the highlight of the evening was Terry’s new toilet!

In truth, these virtual meetings provide all of us a means to see friends and catch up on our lives.  And it was good to hear about lives moving along outside of our own cloistered homes.   For the most part those updates are mundane – children (really young adults now) moving in and out of our lives, the bottling of the 2019 vintage at the Tom/Dean/Dan home winery, Terry moving back into his newly refurbished home, Paul preparing for his first Airbnb guests, Glen starting a new program at Madrone (San Rafael) High, Stan’s embarking on his itinerant life on the road with an MB Sprinter licensed in Hood River OR, and Andrew (along with COVID-19) bringing back the drive-in movie.   There were also a few sad updates – finding out that a couple of friends are battling cancer and how it is not advisable to have a shipping container drop on your foot (with live video of the recovering shoe and foot).

Oh, yes, there was a book/audio book to be reviewed.  In the only instance in memory in which the host, Stan, did not only fail to finish reading his recommended book but also attempted to distance himself altogether from said book.  Stan explained how, had “we” voted for The Story of a Goat, its rating would have been Trump “incredible” as opposed to the “6” rating received by the chosen book – Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.  We quickly reminded Stan, that it was HIS vote that broke the tie between the two books, leaving us to rate MTPOD not The Story of a Goat.

Other than Andrew’s effusive “I laughed so hard, I almost totaled the Land Rover”, the rest of MBC thought the book was like reading/listening to a self-effacing stand-up comedian – great in small doses but harder to appreciate during a longer reading/listen.  Not a Pulitzer contender, but certainly an enjoyable diversion during the sequestration.  The book brought to the fore how a “book” can be perceived differently in its audio versus paper formats.  The members that both read and listened to MTPOD agreed that Sedaris has a particular audio cadence that is hard to recreate on the written page – like trying to read a Seinfeld script and having to imagine how Jerry, Elaine, George & Kramer would deliver their lines.  Each member, like watchers of Seinfeld, had their favorite story from the Sedaris book – the speech teacher, David’s father, the visit from neighbors back home, learning French, and living in France.

We had additional discussion about how this compared to Sedaris’ other books.  The general agreement here was that MTPOD was not one of his stronger books and felt somewhat dated.  Certainly, none of the stories in this book matched the author’s reading of his Santaland Diaries story – now an annual NPR holiday staple.   So, while scoring only a mediocre “6” on the MBC rating scale, MBC agreed that Me Talk Pretty One Day, in whichever format, was a wonderful diversion during these Shelter-In-Place times.