“I want to be just like you”
Growing up, Sedaris had a good life. He had a loving family that supported him and made sure he was well taking care of. Sedaris’ friend, Hugh had a very difficult lifestyle. When Hugh was growing up as a child, he saw things that children should not be forced to witness. Hugh’s class took a field trip to a slaughterhouse one day, where they were treated to a pig’s execution. “…One of the brothers drew a pistol from his back pocket, held it against the animal’s temple, and shot the piglet, execution-style.” (Paragraph 6, page 109) At another occasion, Hugh witnesses a dead man on a telephone pole. “Unlike me, he left the theater two hours later, to find a dead man hanging from a telephone pole at the far end of the unpaved parking lot.” (Paragraph 10, page 110) Hugh was often neglected by this family and spent majority of his adolescence with surrogate parents. Hugh’s life wasn’t the not good at all but Sedaris wanted Hugh’s life.
Sedaris describes why he believed his childhood was so bland in comparison to his friend Hugh’s childhood. Sedaris compared his childhood to Hugh’s childhood so much until he started to envy Hugh. Sedaris stated, “We had a collie and a house cat… They had a monkey and two horses named Charlie Brown and Satan… I threw stones at stop sighs… Hugh threw stones at crocodiles.” (Paragraph 8, page 109) Sedaris thought throwing stones at crocodiles was really fun. He did not realize what kind of danger Hugh was really in. “No fifteen-foot python ever wandered onto my school’s basketball court… I begged, I prayed nightly, but it just never happened… A military coup in which forces sympathetic to colonel arrived late at night to assassinate my next-door neighbor.” (Paragraph 13, page 111) Sedaris wanted to everything Hugh had. He wanted to travel the around the Continent of Africa too. Sedaris loved Hugh’s childhood but Hugh did not find his life to be so great.
Hugh’s family had moved to Mogadishu, Somalia. Since there was not any English-speaking schools there, Hugh had to stay with a family he did not know. “Hugh was sent back to Ethiopia to live with a beer enthusiast his father had met at a cocktail party.” (Paragraph 16, page 112) While Hugh lived with the Hoyts family, he did not feel welcomed at all. “They invited him to join them at the table, but that was as far as they extended themselves.” (Paragraph 16, page 112) Hugh was not able to celebrate his birthday nor was he able to talk to his family. “No one ever asked him when his birthday was, so when the day came, he kept it to himself… There was no telephone service between Ethiopia and Somalia.” (Paragraph 16, page 112) The Hoyts had children and they missed treated Hugh every chance they could get. They would say things to Hugh for instead, “Hey that’s our sofa you’re sitting on” and “Hands off that ornamental stein… It doesn’t belong to you.” (Paragraph 16, page 112) Hugh had a hard life growing up. His life was not what Sedaris make it to be.
Although Sedaris had a better life than Hugh, he still envied Hugh’s childhood. He started to take Hugh’s childhood stories and make them his own. “Rather than surrender to my bitterness, I have learned to take satisfaction in the life that Hugh has led… His stories have, over time, become my own… When my own experiences fall short of the mark, I just go out and spend some of his… It is with pleasure that I sometimes recall the dead man’s purpled face or the report of the handgun ringing in my ears as I studied the blood pooling beneath the dead white piglet.” (Paragraph 21, page 113) There once was a time in all of our lives where we wanted something someone else had and their lifestyle. Do we really see their struggles or are we just looking at what our eyes could see? We should not envy other people and the things they have. Some people work really hard to get the things they have today. We never know what another person had to do or go through in order to get what they have. We should be grateful to God for the things we do have.