When You Are Engulfed in Flames - "Old Faithful" and "The Smoking Section" Summary & Analysis

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Summary

"Old Faithful" is a recollection by the author of a time when he developed a boil on his backside and it grew progressively worse. He delayed going to the doctor to lance the boil, as costs were astronomically high in London. Also, he was afraid the prognosis by the doctor would be worse than a boil, such as cancer or a related medical emergency.

Sedaris remembers when he and Hugh caught the same stomach virus and competed over who had it worse. This triggers a memory of a former boyfriend before Hugh who competed with David in every situation, no matter how mundane. Sedaris also recalls a time as a teenager when his father blurted out for no reason that he never cheated on David's mother. David concludes his own lack of infidelity may originate in such life commitments...

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This section contains 1,910 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the When You Are Engulfed in Flames Study Guide
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