Calypso
David Sedaris
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Im Still Standing
Summary

The author is well aware of his advancing age and the experiences that accompany old age. He sympathizes with an old man on his flight who appears to be around eighty years old and who accidentally defecates himself on his seat. He feels sorry for the old man who shamefully shuffles to the airplane toilet amidst an ocean of eyes and laughs from teenagers on the flight. The author relates the old man’s situation with his own issues dealing with a gastrointestinal virus. The illness made his stomach uneasy and his bowel movements unpredictable. However, the worst part was that he still had to work. To cope with the problem, for the first time in his career, he delivered his speeches while seated.

Sedaris describes how much the stomach illness was a menace in his life since it kept reminding him that it would likely return with old age. He remains determined to continue working since he did not want to disappoint his audience by stating that he was sick. The author is able to continue about his career due to his strong will.

The author also reveals in this chapter further details on his relationship and experiences with his partner, Hugh. When the author is unwell, Hugh is seen to be very caring. For instance, throughout the period during which he has the gastrointestinal virus, Hugh gives him a bell that is used as a communication tool between the two since he can barely get out of the bed. The chapter also showcases the perseverance the author has to endure to achieve his desired Fitbit target steps despite being sick. The author is seen to be a persistent person who does not give up despite having circumstances that might force him to stop. He ends the story by stating that even in his worst state, he would still exclaim that he is still standing.

Analysis

The key message the author conveys in this chapter is to never give up despite what circumstance one might be going through. The author uses his experience with illness as proof that it is possible for people to persevere through challenging times and reach their goals. The author still tries to meet his daily target steps for his Fitbit despite having an irregular bowel. Sedaris is also acutely aware of his fast-approaching old age and seeks to prepare for the pros and cons that come with it. He uses the experiences of other aged members in society to help him embrace the journey of aging.

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