David Sedaris

First, an introduction. I want to do a series about the twenty-first birthdays of some of the people I admire. I am doing this because I want to steal party tips, I want an excuse to read biographies and email celebrities, and, most of all, I want some perspective. I want to learn if the goods and the greats were on paths that they would look back and be proud of, or if they did most of their steering post-twenty-one. I want something I can read to recognize the kernels of potential in my life and something that will comfort me when I review my shortcomings at three o’clock in the morning.


David Sedaris turned twenty-one on this day in 1977. This drawing was made from a yearbook photo that was taken in 1976.

According to his Reddit AMA, Sedaris remembers nothing about his twenty-first except that he was high:

“My birthday’s the day after Christmas.

I know for a fact that I was stoned.

But that’s all I can tell you.”

We can piece together some more information about the day. According to his Wikipedia page, Sedaris dropped out of Kent State University in 1977 and did not go back to school until 1983.  Since Sedaris’ birthday was at the end of December, we can assume that he had dropped out of school by his birthday.

Sedaris started keeping his famous diary on September 4, 1977, about four months before his birthday. In an NPR interview, he says that, “I started drinking and writing at the same time…”

Sedaris’ progression from his twenty-first birthday to “America’s Most Beloved Author” is outlined here. He has an alternative persona that presumably spent his twenty-first birthday in a very different way.


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