Anne Breaks Her Leg and David Sedaris’s collect of essays HAPPY GO LUCKY

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Ok Anne, set the scene for us. Where were you? What day of the trip? How was the snow? Give us as much as you can before the minutes before the broken leg.

Anne, what did you know about Sedaris before reading this book?

A few details from me related to Sedaris:

  • I was given Sedaris’ book Me Talk Pretty One Day by Matt and Allison Smith in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was around 2000 and I think I was given it pretty shortly after its publication.
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day was the 4th of 14th books
  • story goes Ira Glass (second time he has come up in this podcast) heard him reading from his diary in a club in Chicago

Two other things that come to mind for me about Sedaris:

  • Interesting writing process that appeals to me: He’s changed his writing process to where he works on drafts of the essays as he reads them to audiences. And then after the “tour” is over, then the work is ready to be published. I remember in my doing readings experiences of how much I could see new to change after I’d read a part of one of my books several times.
  • Prodigious walker: At least at times, he is a prodigious walker, something we identify with. Here’s a link to an article in the New York Times about Sedaris’s walking called “Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go.” Sedaris was walking up to 20 miles a day and conducted the interview while pacing (getting steps recorded on his Fitbit) in his NYC apartment.

Observations and Questions for Discussion:

  • Sedaris is even more candid: the essay about the little French boy who keeps grabbing him inappropriately. Writing even though he’ll be judged: take the BLM protest down to 23rd. The way he writes about his father, the pandemic, or elections.
  • He can take anything, and make it a funny story for publication. Far less than we’d think we need for our own story to be published.
  • His mind has obsessively accepted the assignment to look for stories. Nick Hornby saying, “A song for Ben Folds.”
  • Sparked my own idea for a story: Jennifer chases down a woman in Charlotte to tell her to get her dog off the hot pavement.
  • The story of Megan’s mom’s funeral.
  • We all experience our parents getting older, and getting older ourselves. He’s visiting his dad in the nursing home.
  • I liked his advice to the graduates. + his father’s comment, “You should have invited Amy.” (the way that parents talk about their kids) Write Thank You Notes. Our mom, transactional.
  • My story of arriving to LA. What we’re doing here now…

The 18 Essays in Sedaris book Happy Go Lucky:

Active Shooter

  • David and his sister go shoot guns Winston Salem.
  • Pet owners. Lady with a monkey. His sister thinks everyone abuses their pets. (Jennifer story)

Father Time

  • Dad fell and moved into assisted living.


  • Partner Hugh bought a home in France. Sedaris learned the French word for “bruised” first.

A Speech to Graduates

  • He received a bachelor of arts when he was 30.
  • One. When it comes to scented candles, you really need to watch it.

Hurricane Season

  • beach house destroyed by hurricane. Emerald Isle.


  • About his sister Amy and her as a performer.
  • One. When it comes to scented candles, you really need to watch it.


  • His dad is dying. He’s pretty hard on his dad and unloads a lot of his frustrations in this essay.

Themes and Variations

  • Actually seeing people. The themes on his book tours. Taking your bra off. Giving money to strangers.
  • “And there’s no point in me doing anything if I can’t write about it,” I continued. “It would be like…walking ten miles without my Fitbit on—a complete waste. I mean, I do do things I don’t commit to paper: I use the bathroom, I have sex. But I try to be quick about it.”

To Serbia With Love

  • Traveling with the wrong person.

The Vacuum

  • the arrival of the pandemic to everyone’s life. First went the toilet paper.


  • his relationship with Hugh. That they bought the apartment upstairs so Hugh could play the piano with no one watching.

Fresh-Caught Haddock

  • As he did all his walking, he also joined Black Lives Matter protests. I’ll take the BLM down to 23rd Street.


  • Opens with family visiting their dad at assisted living.
  • When Trump was president I started every morning by reading the New York Times, followed by the Washington Post, and would track both papers’ websites regularly throughout the day.

A Better Place

  • Essay on the passing of his father.
  • What if sixty-four years of constant criticism and belittlement were enough, and I’m actually fine with my father and me going our separate ways, him in a cooler at the funeral home and me here at the kids’ table?

Lady Marmalade

  • His dad had some strange tendencies, such as let me see your butthole if David had a stomach ache. David’s sister claimed abuse.

Smile, Beautiful

  • David gets his teeth fixed. He tried to fix someone else’s teeth but they didn’t accept.


  • His dad’s funeral.
  • They could have easily driven to the service from their homes, but instead we all checked into a hotel, a very expensive one, in the town of Cary, and really pushed the boat out, charging everything to the estate: room service, drinks—the works.


  • Looking ahead to the 72 city tour.

Thanks for checking out the podcast!

Hawaii Vacation Guide

Erica and Jordan, creators of the website and YouTube channel The Hawaii Vacation Guide, are my guests on this Sunday, January 29, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast. We talk about getting started on planning a vacation to Hawaii with an emphasis on Maui, starting a business such as their travel website, and hearing some of their story as a couple including their experiences changing jobs and moves that included Hawaii, London, and California. It was a lively and informative conversation, and I hope you enjoy it!

Click audio player above to listen to the podcast.

Click here to link to Erica and Jordan’s website, The Hawaii Vacation Guide.

Click here to link to Erica and Jordan’s YouTube channel.

We’d love to hear from you about your Hawaii questions and recommendations. Thanks for checking out the episode!

Profit from Your Podcast

Affiliate marketing, selling products or services, working with a sponsor, crowdfunding, live events, and teaching courses are all topics in Dave Jackson’s book Profit from Your Podcast and are topics up for discussion in this week’s Sunday, January 22, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast. You can listen to the episode by clicking the player below.

Profit Monetize Podcast Affiliate marketing, selling products or services, working with a sponsor, crowdfunding, live events, and teaching courses are all topics in Dave Jackson's book Profit from Your Podcast and are up for discussion in this week's Sunday, January 22, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast.


Click here to purchase Dave Jackson’s book Profit from Your Podcast. Torg Stories is an Amazon Affiliate, and we do profit if you use the link to purchase.

Podcast Notes and Discussion Questions:

  1. Observation: I think we can tap into using a more direct and conversational tone that addresses you the listener. I also want to start learning who is listening. There are over 1k listeners for many episodes. Who are you all? Get in touch and tell us why you listen.
  2. Observation: we don’t do a niche podcast. I think one way to offset that is for each podcast to be about one thing: this book, Maui, Knives Out movie, The Bullet Train, college writing.
  3. We brainstorm niche podcasts for Anne to do. I think the best we came up with one called Melrose.
  4. Quote: You build an audience by creating content that inspires others to tell their friends.
  5. Question: Jackson writes about Glenn Herbert, who hosted Horses in the Morning: His audience started sending in really bad ads from people selling their horses on Craigslist. As he started reading these ads, more people started to send them in. They got so many (hundreds per week) that they made “Really Bad Ads” a segment that they saved for the last half hour of their Friday show. Can you think of ways we can invite our audience to participate?
  6. When it comes to search results, what you name the podcast file matters.
  7. Sponsorships: @GregFitzShow joked about an ad on one of their episodes. We’ll try the same joke. We’ll read any family friendly advertisement or message for $20. Send me a twitter DM @billtorg or an email for more details.

Thank you for taking the time to check out our page and listen to the show. We appreciate you!

David Halberstam book The Breaks of the Game

David Halberstam’s book The Breaks of the Game is the main topic for conversation on this New Year’s Day 2023 edition of the Torg Stories podcast. I also bring some of my writer and teacher self to workshopping this show’s content in the second half of the episode.

Scroll down for the audio podcast and for a list of “Golden Lines” from the book Anne and I used for our discussion.

Click above to listen to the podcast.

Click here to link to the book on Amazon.

Some background notes on Halberstam’s book The Breaks of the Game:

  • Published in 1981 and tells the story of the 79-80 Trailblazers team. 
  • Author David Halberstam won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1964.
  • Halberstam died in 2007 age 73 and was killed in car crash. 
  • I also read Playing for Keeps, Halberstam’s book about Michael Jordan.

Golden Lines from the book:

  • “When you are discussing a successful coach,” sports psychologist Bruce Ogilvie once said, not of Ramsay but of the entire profession, “you are not necessarily drawing the profile of an entirely healthy person.”
  • Most damaging to the intensity of the game was the arrival of the no-cut contract. Given no-cut contracts, too many games, and a schedule designed to exhaust even the most physically fit young men in America, many players responded by functioning on automatic pilot, coming alive only in the playoff games.
  • In addition to just doing whatever it takes to win, I believe that I ought to coach a version of the game I enjoy watching. This line about Coach Ramsay reminds me of that: “Ramsay, for all his toughness and his obsession with winning, that believed there was poetry in the game, that it was connected to ballet, and that there was beauty and truth in it, the right movement of the right body flashing by another body to score.”
  • Whether you are coaching at a middle school, for a DII college team or in the pros, each level of competition comes with a variety of challenges: “The real question is why anyone would want to be a coach in this league. You’re always on the road, the pressure to win is terrible, the players are not conditioned by salaries to listen, and there’s simply no time to teach the kids in practice.”
  • At Watauga HS in the girls basketball program, we use visualization. Here was a description of Walton’s pregame routine: “He played his own music, from the Grateful Dead, a rock band of which he was virtually a member, and the music helped, it flowed through him and he thought about the tempo he wanted to set and how he could move. He would sit in his home or his hotel room in those hours and actually see the game and feel the movement of it. Sometimes he did it with such accuracy that a few hours later when he was on the court and the same players made the same moves, it was easy for him because he had already seen it all, had made that move or blocked that shot.”
  • “For suddenly the team went into a slump. A few defeats became, as they can in basketball, a psychological state.”
  • In the classes I teach at App State, we talk about the tension that can come with assimilating to a new group. This about Kermit Washington: “When he went home to his old neighborhood during the summer his friends teased him. ‘Kermit, what’s happened to you? You beginning to talk like a white person now, man.’ He knew he was changing, he did not think it was a bad thing to change, to want to be better. It was also important for Pat to like him. He was sure she would not like someone who could not write a sentence or make a paragraph.”
  • I grew up in Indiana rooting for Coach Bob Knight’s Hoosier teams and later trying to run a version of their motion offense. This sentence is about Coach Knight: “He once suggested to the NCAA that schools only be allowed in effect to give out only as many basketball scholarships as the number of seniors who had graduated from its program and received their degrees the previous year.”
  • The following quote is about nicknames, and it got me thinking about nicknames I’ve heard and liked. In this sentence, Earl Monroe shows up at the playground for a game: “He was wearing the most ragged shorts imaginable, terrible ratty sneakers and an absolutely beautiful Panama hat. That, Luke knew immediately, was true style, the hat and the shorts and the Rolls. The crowd had begun to shout Magic, Magic, Magic (his playground nickname, different from his white media nickname which, given the nature of sportswriters who like things to rhyme, was the Pearl). 
  • What nicknames came to mind right away for me: Sweetness, The Splendid Splinter, Chocolate Thunder, Big Smooth. The Snake, Magic, Babe, Dr. J., The Iceman and The Bus. 
  • I didn’t know this word!!!! Obstreperous meaning noisy and difficult to control. 
  • The writer describes UCLA: “For UCLA was a beautiful school, one of the loveliest in the country; its faculty and intellectual climate, as America’s power and affluence steadily moved westward, had been continually on the rise.”
  • THE LEAGUE’S PROBLEMS were not limited to its television ratings. Live attendance was bad too. It had averaged around 11,000 a game the year before and now it was down nearly 10 percent, to about 10,000. Only 6 of 22 teams showed an increase in attendance and 7 of the teams had a decline of more than 2,000 spectators a game.
  • Would have been an incredible time to buy in: “To no one’s particular surprise, he sold the San Diego Clippers to Donald Sterling, a Los Angeles realtor-lawyer, for $13.5 million, a figure far far greater than the amount he had spent to buy in. (IRV LEVIN BOUGHT BEFORE: COMPLICATED STORY BOUGHT CELTICS FOR 3.5 MILLION) 
  • The lines where the book gets its title: “In the end the club waived him but agreed to pay him for roughly a quarter of the season. It also agreed to help him in his claim against the insurance company for his disability pay. Thus did Larry Steele’s active career with the Portland Trail Blazers end. He tried not to be bitter about it. It was, he said, just one of the breaks of the game. Friends in business told him that this sort of thing happened all the time in the corporate world, especially when men reached higher career levels where salaries were greater.”

Some other background or related information I collected:

  • Billy Ray Bates is mentioned as a player who joins the team and gets off to a good start. From Wikipedia: “On January 17, 1998, Bates robbed a New Jersey Texaco station at knifepoint, slashing the ear of attendant Philip Kittel. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. Bates hit bottom when he robbed the gasoline station. At the time, he was living with his wife and stepdaughter while holding two manual-labor jobs in eastern New Jersey.”
  • Click here to read the Suns sale for 4 billion dollars.

Jack Ramsay :

  • Died in 2014 at age 89. 
  • Doc of education from Penn. 
  • 1977 Ramsey won the title with Blazers. 
  • 15 nba finals for nba radio

Bill Walton:

  • He’s 70. 
  • I know him first as an 86 Celtic and then as a broadcaster now. 
  • 88 game winning streak at UCLA 
  • 4 sons with first wife, including Luke who was named after Maurice Lucas. All sons played college basketball.

Thanks for checking out this page and the podcast!