Watch CBS News

Beware, restaurants: David Sedaris espouses "heganism"

David Sedaris and his latest joke on restaurants
David Sedaris and his latest joke on restaurants 02:19

Food for thought from humorist David Sedaris:

I was in the breakfast room of a nice hotel in San Francisco, and as the maître d' showed me to my table, I told him that I followed a strict hegan diet.

"Vegan?" he asked.

"No," I said. "Hegan. I only eat things that were male. I'm hoping that's all clearly marked on your menu."

His face fell.

Humorist David Sedaris. CBS News

"I'll need to know what sex my eggs are, for instance, if I decide to get eggs. Sausage, being such a hodgepodge, is impossible for me, but I do enjoy bacon from time to time. It just has to come from a boar rather than a sow. I'm hoping you can verify that for me?"

At a diner you'd be laughed out of the room – and for good reason – but in a fancy restaurant it's, "Let me, um, talk to the chef."

I tried the same line at dinner that night, and, again, I let it sit for a moment before admitting that it was a joke, something I'd just made up.

"Well, thank goodness!" my waiter said. "I mean, this is California! We get it all here, so I naturally assumed this was a new thing."

What, I wonder, would be the point of heganism, other than making yourself seem unique or righteous in some way? Though that often seems reason enough.

There are hard-core fruitarians who only eat things that fell to the ground naturally, thus sparing the apple or orange or fig tree any unnecessary trauma. Then there are freegans, who don't believe in waste and only eat food that they find and don't have to pay for, including roadkill. I met a guy on a plane once whose daughter had just gotten sick from eating an over-ripe raccoon carcass.

In the movie "Transamerica," one of the characters identified as a level-4 vegan, explaining that he only ate things that didn't cast a shadow. Is that real? I wondered. It wasn't, but I was fooled until I looked it up.

When it comes to food (or, face it, food in wealthy, industrialized countries), nothing's too crazy now. That's why, when I saw the words, "Eat The Rich" spray-painted on a building not far from my hotel in San Francisco, I thought, as had my waiter at dinner the previous evening: Really? Is that a thing now?

For more info:

Story produced by Amy Wall. Editor: Emanuele Secci.

More from David Sedaris: 

See also: 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.