David Sedaris has an uncanny ability to use humor in almost any situation.
humor in many different ways throughout his collection of personal essays entitled
particular, Sedaris uses humor in similar, yet different ways in his two essays entitled “A Plague
of Tics,” focused around Sedaris’s OCD, and “I Like Guys,” focused around Sedaris admitting
that he is gay.
In both essays, many instances of humor can be found, often in what seem to be
Within the two stories, Sedaris uses humor as a defense mechanism and
to explain the depth of a situation/condition to the reader, while also getting across his feelings of
In the beginning of “A Plague of Tics, when Sedaris’s teacher was talking to him about
how he licks the light switches in the classroom she says, “Would you like me to come over to
your house and put my tongue on your light switches?” (Sedaris 7).
In his head, Sedaris thinks
to himself, “Why come here and lick my switches when she never used the one she had? Maybe
she was drunk” (10).
Here, Sedaris is using his humor both to poke fun at the person that is
making fun of him, and to show the reader the depth of his condition.
Sedaris’s teacher was
making fun of him even though obviously something must be wrong with him mentally to
compel him to go around licking light switches.
Since she is making fun of his character, he
wants to make sure that he, as a writer, is poking fun right back at her.
And, on the lines of
showing the depth of condition, his humor shows that he is truly alone with his condition.
himself doesn’t understand what it is that would make someone want to lick a light switch, so all
he can do is make fun of it, showing that he is truly alone with his OCD.
He can’t even make
sense of it, and his only option is to use humor, showing how he feels isolated because using