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Monday, November 17, 2008

In defense

When I began writing these pieces, I thought that I might be able to pen the same kind of 'the world from a weird angle' stories that seem to flow effortlessly from the mind of David Sedaris. For anyone unfamiliar with his writing, Mr. Sedaris takes his readers on a journey through a strange and wonderful life (his). His tales are filled with images that make one laugh uncontrollably and, at the same time, shake one's head in disbelief that a human being could actually be thinking these thoughts and doing these things.

I quickly learned that my writing, given the limits of my mental capacities and the middle ground my life has taken, made thoughts of my becoming 'Sedaris the second' fade into oblivion. Harvey Leeds on the other hand, is as close to David Sedaris as you and I will be able to find in our worlds.

If anyone of you watch Entourage, picture Ari Gold in the music business.

I was once in a car with Harvey when his phone rang. He put the caller on the speaker phone. It turned out that it was a wrong number. Unfortunately for the caller, he did not realize this, and Harvey did not bother to tell him. Rather, Harvey pretended that the call had gone through to its intended recipient (a business associate of the caller). Harvey proceeded to speak for 5 minutes, discussing in depth problems with a business meeting that he had attended on behalf of the company. The call concluded, and Harvey then moved on with me to the next topic, as if nothing unusual had just transpired.

For the piece 100, people submitted their thoughts while I remained mute. Almost everyone spoke about me, and gave me compliments which I much appreciate. Harvey talked of the sign in restaurant bathrooms that require only that employees wash their hands upon exiting. I called Harvey to tell him that I had often had the same problem with these signs. David Sedaris the second would have been writing about this issue. Harvey writes about these issues because those are the things that catch his attention and stick in his mind. Harvey is the lunatic edge of the universe.

Are some people taken aback by him? Of course. I am drawn to his insanity. It is often uncomfortable and difficult to be in the swirling vortex around him. If you don't understand what is happening, or if you are looking for normalcy, I suggest you head elsewhere.

This piece is written in defense of my friend Harvey Leeds. While many would ask him to grow up, I like him fine the way he is.





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4 comments:

Nancy said...

I'm so glad you appreciate Harvey's angle on life--clearly I'm not alone. He's given me perspective, laughter and joy in some of my darkest moments and that's why I put up with the baggage (literally) that he brings to our marriage.

Alex said...

upon first read, i did not think that this piece really gave justice to what is harvey. i just read it again, and something still seems to be missing. although, i think the comparison about the hand-washing piece to sedaris's writing is pretty spot on. yet, it is hard to criticize your piece, cause i cannot find the words myself to adequately describe harvey. i'll mull it over for a while. and, if i come up with something, then maybe i'll be the next guest post.

Robert said...

Maybe the answer is that Harvey is impossible to describe accurately. You may just have to be part of his world to get a true sense of what being Harvey Leeds means.

Elizabeth said...

Love Harvey and know in spite of his persona, he is a true gentleman at heart.
Librarian Liz