Sedaris Explores Our Country’s Social Strata

David Sedaris is great.

By the time I got to my sister’s, it was dark. I poured myself a scotch, and then, like always, Amy brought out a few things she thought I might find interesting. The first was a copy of The Joy of Sex, which she’d found at a flea market and planned to leave on the coffee table the next time our father visited. “What do you think he’ll say?” she asked. It was the last thing a man would want to find in his daughter’s apartment—that was my thought, anyway—but then she handed me a magazine called New Animal Orgy, which was truly the last thing a man would want to find in his daughter’s apartment. This was an old issue, dated 1974, and it smelled as if it had spent the past few decades in the dark, not just hidden but locked in a chest and buried underground.

“Isn’t that the filthiest thing you’ve ever seen in your life?” Amy asked, but I found myself too stunned to answer. The magazine was devoted to two major stories—photo essays, I guess you could call them. The first involved a female cyclist who stops to rest beside an abandoned windmill and seduces what the captions refer to as “a stray collie.”

“He’s not a stray,” Amy said. “Look at that coat—you can practically smell the shampoo.”

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