David Letterman (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

David Letterman on life after retirement: I'm avoiding places where "people want to come up and lick me"

In all seriousness, though, he's mostly standing in a river, pretending to trout fish with his son

Scott Eric Kaufman
June 13, 2015 1:10AM (UTC)

In his first post-retirement interview, David Letterman told the Indianapolis Monthly's Ron Pearson that he's adjusting -- albeit awkwardly -- to life out of the perpetual late-night spotlight.

"I wasn’t born helpless," he said, "but when I first started doing the show, my manager said, 'You’re going to need an assistant.' I asked why, and he said, 'Well, you’ll need somebody to make phone calls.' And I thought, I can’t make my own calls? As it turns out, after all these years of having someone make my calls for me, I can no longer operate a telephone."


"I don’t know what to do with my hair, either," Letterman added. "But I’ll never wear makeup again, so that’s no problem."

He discussed the transition back to normal life, saying that it's "stunning what you find out about yourself when everything you’ve done for 33 years changes. It’s like ice melting out from under you. I know that regular, responsible people probably hear me whining like this and think, Oh, brother. But I’m trying to rehabilitate myself, so keep me in your thoughts and prayers."

As for how he's spending his new-found free time, he told Pearson that he's been enjoying watching more sports, but only on the television. "Because the 500 takes place in my hometown," he said, "I almost always go. Were you aware, though, that race fans sometimes have something to drink at the race? They want to come up and lick me. I’m not saying anything negative about Indianapolis or the race fans there, because I am one of them."


However, what he enjoys most is "fishing with my son. Any kind of trout fishing where you can stand in the river is just delightful. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I can stand in the river. I’m pretty good at that. And isn’t that 90 percent of it?"

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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