Poole, Eric. “Excuse Me While I Slip into Someone More Comfortable”, Rosetta Books , 2018.
I firmly believe that we all should be able to laugh at ourselves yet for whatever reason, we do not enjoy doing so. Nonetheless Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris who not only are able to do but to also have a career doing just that. Eric Poole is ready to join them and in “Excuse Me While I Slip into Someone More Comfortable”, he shares both the happiness and pain he endured during his childhood years and yes, and a lot of it is very funny.
We go back to 1997 when Poole was a very talented high school trumpet player with one ear that worked fine. He was the target of the bullies in his world. His mother seemed to always be busy cleaning whatever she could with Lemon Pledge. Poole wants to be a star and he doesn’t care what kind of star— he just knows that is what he wants. He worships Barry Manilow, Halston, Tommy Tune, and Shirley MacLaine. He emulates these celebrities in hopes of becoming anyone but himself. Living in St. Louis does not situation as we can well imagine. As an adolescent he looks around trying to see where would be the best place to bring and use his talents (and we must understand these are the talents that HE thinks he has. He is not sure what he wants to be and his choices are “oh so” gay— A trumpet soloist (not so gay by oral sex lovers), perhaps an actor who can sing and dance or maybe a fashion designer. These are certainly not the kinds of jobs that are always out there. He also would like to be the son that brings his parents’ joy and pride. He ultimately learns that in order to succeed at anything, he must figure out who he really is. Here is his story— it is a
“journey from self-delusion to acceptance is simultaneously hysterical, heartfelt, and inspiring.” And as we read, we laugh and cry along with him. He stays in the closet of his won making until he is finally ready to come out and never return. His stories are real and from the heart and the heartland. We do not get a lot of gay memoirs about the Midwest so this is a special treat and the fact that it is fun read makes it much more special.
There is also great sensitivity here and there are moments that you will tearing up at the same time that you are grinning. There are not many books that can do that. Writer Poole has no problem saying things that we think but will probably never say and just for that, this is a book worth reading… but be prepared, you will find so much more.