In a world full of so-called self-help experts, NPR’s Rob Sachs is an odd one. Sure, he’s never told a concerned parent that her son’s latex glove fetish will lead to him dying alone (Slate’s Dear Prudence) and he’s never described homosexuality as a sickness (Ann Landers). Hell, Sachs doesn’t even write about sex, or marriage, or even the traditional qualms that come with child-rearing. He’s more about the “daily indignities,” which he believes in inflicting as much as bearing. In a podcast about pranks, Sachs explained how he used a bottle of “liquid ass” and garlic mints to prank a friend. In a podcast about difficult names, Sachs advised listeners to call a stranger’s voicemail (and pray he doesn’t pick up) or “enlist a co-conspirator” to correctly say the person’s name on the first try. When he finds it necessary to alert others to the correct pronunciation of his own, Sachs talked about himself in the third person. That habit may explain his newest book: What Would Rob Do? All of it’s funny, and some of it’s helpful, but you should think twice before using liquid ass on a close friend: It’s apparently made from the real thing.
SACHS SPEAKS AT 7 P.M. AT BARNES & NOBLE, 4801 BETHESDA AVE., BETHESDA. FREE. (301) 986-1761.