The Life of Sadie, 13

Lisa Carver and Sadie.
Lisa Carver and Sadie. Photo: coutesy of Lisa Carver

Lisa Crystal Carver first burst onto the scene in the mid-’90s with her subversive, bubbly, sometimes terrifying zine Rollerderby. Since then she’s written several books, including Drugs Are Nice, Rollerderby: The Bookand Reaching Out With No Hands: Reconsidering Yoko Ono, and become a mother to two children: Wolf, 21, and Sadie, 13. Like all mothers, she finds her children hilarious and insightful. We agree. Her newest book, Sadie, Wolf, and Friends, compiles some of their conversations. Here’s what Lisa says:

I used to transcribe my kids’ conversations on Facebook, and they’d always get the most likes of any of my posts. Now, after 20 years of my books being published, New York magazine finally wants to excerpt one, and I didn’t even write it. My kids did. Thanks, life.

Since Wolf already has a book of his own, we decided to focus on Sadie for these excerpts. Sadie is 13, and surprisingly it’s not awful at all to share a bathroom with, and be a taxi to, a teenage girl. It’s pretty funny.

In many ways, Sadie and I are opposites. She is exact, scientific, into money; she is popular, and a sharp dresser. I’m in sweatpants and a trance. But we are both extremely sarcastic and competitive; in fact, we often sarcastically compete for who is more competitively sarcastic. I enjoy our debates greatly, and I would say I probably end up more student than teacher. Tolstoy said that no idea is strong unless it can be explained satisfactorily to an intelligent 10-year-old boy. At least I think he said that … I’ve never been able to find the quote since the day I thought I read it. I would add to that no idea is really strong until it’s been explained to an intelligent 10-year-old girl and has been fixed by her.

Here, Sadie thrashes out the real story behind catfishing, gun rights, football players and their ways, isolation tanks, how to tell when men are drunk, and what she’ll do when she’s rich. 

Sadie: [on the phone to her friend] No, she won’t give in. My mom’s not like your mom. She sat on the stairs for four hours once and broke my will.


Sadie: You know what annoys me? When people have one end of their scarf in front and one in back. You do that.

Me: Eh. Add it to the list. Live with it.

Sadie: I do. I have to. Because “it” is you! Why do you do that?

Me: I got an inch in the front giving me the idea of warmth and an inch in the back giving me the idea of warmth. The idea spreads.

Sadie: The idea of warmth is not warmth.

Me: The idea of warmth is most certainly warmth.

Sadie: [goes upstairs]


Me: What are you wearing to the dance?

Sadie: Skinny jeans.

Me: You’re wearing jeans to a dance?

Sadie: All my friends are. We’re not going to dance.

Me: Do you guys plan this? You all get together and plan to wear jeans and just stand there not dancing at the dance for hours?

Sadie: Yes, Mother.


Sadie: Ashlee and I are wearing black on the first day of school because it is the funeral of our happiness.


Sadie: You want to know why you can’t tell when guys are drunk in bars? Because that’s just how guys always act.


Sadie: Are you a killer?

Me: Why do you always ask me that?

Sadie: How many people did you kill? One? You look like someone who killed someone. Did you kill two people? I love how you never will answer me.


Sadie: McDonald’s keeps their chickens in unhealthily cramped living quarters and they have overly large breasts.


Sadie: All men lie. The football player was singing in class, and I said stop, and he said okay, and two days later, he was singing again.

Wolf: Not me. I’m a man and I don’t lie.

Sadie: All relationship guys.

Me: Did you just admit you’re in a relationship with the football player?

Sadie: [red] No.


Sadie: Did you really not get me any Christmas presents? Not even one?

Me: I’ll write you a card that says I love you and put eleven dollars in it.

Sadie: You couldn’t even buy me a five-dollar present?

Me: You can pick out your own five-dollar crap. I pay hundreds of dollars all the time for you. You get any lessons you want, I take you to the opera, the ballet, Chinatown, I’m about to take you to an isolation tank.

Sadie: We’re probably going to have to wait forever for the isolation tank. People will be lined up around the block waiting for their turn.

Me: Hardly anyone wants to go in an isolation tank. It’s considered torture. You’re all alone with your thoughts. No stimulation, no interruption, no entertainment. Just your mind, floating.

Sadie: I’m going to send out all my hate, and then when the next person climbs in the tank, all my hate is going to wrap around them in waves.

Me: You’re a scary person.


Me: That guy was just voted the sexiest man alive.

Sadie: Did only one other guy enter the contest and he was super ugly?

Me: You don’t see his appeal whatsoever?

Sadie: I’ve seen better looking drawings. Of a vegetable.


Sadie: The football player asked me to hold his Gatorade for four dollars. I said, “Are you serious?” He said no, so I said give me your Gatorade. He gave it to me and I threw it at him.

Me: Sadie! You could have hurt him!

Sadie: It was a small Gatorade. And I threw it soft, like this. He shouldn’t have promised me four dollars if he didn’t mean it. He broke his word to the wrong person. Now he had to pay.

Me: Do you think you’d ever, you know, go to a movie with the football player?


Me: Well, sometimes annoying can turn into like in just one second.


Me: Okay, I’ll stop.


Me: I stopped! I’m stopping!



Sadie: Will you teach me how to shoot?

Me: When you’re old enough.

Sadie: So that means you’ve shot.

Me: Of course I have.

Sadie: How many people have you killed?

Me: You wouldn’t want to kill someone. It’s better to just get out of the situation.

Sadie: Not if they kidnapped me for two months, I’d want to shoot them and kill them, and then I’d step over the body and spit on it.


Sadie: I know why they call it getting catfished. Because when the woman finds out what the man messaging her really looks like, he looks like a catfish. All mustache and puffy. Straggly mustache.


Sadie: If I were rich, I’d pay people to brush my teeth.

Me: Would you have them come to the house?

Sadie: Really I should have a mansion and let a dentist live in her section for free in exchange for brushing my teeth twice a day.


Sadie: I hate Wednesday.

Me: Why do you hate Wednesday?

Sadie: Because I hate every day.


Sadie: [into her phone] I’m Sadie. I’m Sadie. I’m Sadie. I’m not Sadie.

Me: What are you doing? You’re creeping me out.

Sadie: I’m trying to buy a lie-detector test, but none of them work.


Sadie: If I ever got to be a famous person and someone did a documentary on me, I would find them and kill them.

Me: Would you make your own movie?

Sadie: Yes. It would be all action, no facts.

Reprinted with permission from Sadie, Wolf, and Friends, compiled by Lisa Carver. Copyright © 2015 Lisa Carver. To purchase, visit