Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Tapeworm Is In

David Sedaris

This morning I did finish reading the reflections of the male writers on Paris in Paris Was Ours. The best of course was David Sedaris's The Tapeworm Is In. Here, after moving to Paris, he wanders the city listening, not to French language tapes on his Walkman, but books on tape in English. He comments:

If a person who constantly reads is labeled a bookworm, then I was quickly becoming what might be called a tapeworm.

His sister, Amy, sends him a tape of Pocket Medical French with phrases spoken in English and then repeated in French.

I was quickly able to learn such sparkling conversational icebreakers as "Remove your dentures and all of your jewelry" and "You now need to deliver the afterbirth."

 Tapeworm indeed!

On another note, one of the best things about reading The Three Musketeers on my Nook is that it is so easy to look up the definition of words...and there are quite a few that are unfamiliar to me, such as:

baldric - an often ornamented belt worn over one shoulder to support a sword or bugle

windgall - a soft tumor of synovial swelling on a horse's leg in the region of the fetlock joint

poltroon - a spiritless coward

See what I mean. This is not contemporary vocabulary and I am well pleased at the ease with which I can find the definition. I just hold my fingertip on the weird word and voila! the definition appears. Modern technology at its finest.


  1. I can't help but giggle over the idea of being a tapeworm.

    I have just finished Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it, remembering your Grand Southern Literary Tour as I read. I know it is a bit off message for your post here, but, I am thinking of listening to it on tape now. Well, really on audio, but, I'm going with this idea of a being a tapeworm.

    1. Sedaris is the best. I had no idea where he was going based on the title of the essay. He is a hoot.

      I still have not read The Optimist's Daughter but it is on my list once I leave Paris in July. I think listening to it is a brilliant idea...especially if the narrator has a lovely Southern accent. I am going to check that out.