Friday, January 6, 2012

Steel Cage Grudge Match, Revisited

Oh, David Foster Wallace, how you remind me of college.
Not because of your high-blown prose and dense, deeply meaningful meanderings.
Not because sometimes you literally make me sweat while I read.

But because you are that boyfriend I can't let go. You are bad for me. You warp me. I hang in there with you through your every breath and then realize it was going nowhere; that you didn't love me after all and that you are just going to leave me hanging.

I leave you for a while, swearing that I've had enough. I walk away, in search of healing. I promise myself I will only put that much effort into someone who loves me back, who is kind to me and appreciates my loyalty.

I reluctantly trudge away and I leave you there with your Hideous Men. Then one day, out of nowhere, just when I think I've gotten over you, I Consider the Lobster and my heart melts and I'm overcome with fond nostalgia. The sweating nights gripping you tightly while you ramble in a fevered daze, trying not to throw you across the room in heartbreak and rage - all forgotten. And I tell myself I've grown. I tell myself I'm more self-assured now. I tell myself I'll just check in and see... I can always walk away if it gets too heavy.

You haunt me even when you're not around. Your wit, your way with words, your darkness. Oh, the darkness. My heart teeters on the precipice of your darkness. It's magnetic to me and treacherous. I want to save you over and over and revel in your sadness and cynicism all at once. Even when I turn my back, whispers of you are everywhere. My friends like you, casually mention you in conversation. Your quotes turn up like snapshots - unexpected. They pierce me and I hide my pain behind a laugh that is a little too loud and a dismissive wave. But you're always there somewhere, lurking around the edges of my consciousness.

Our last tryst was short. Two solid weeks in the beginning of Oblivion. You spoke to me directly. We had that connection. It can't have been mere coincidence that I should have just taken part in a focus group only days before running into you and your Mr. Squishy again. I thought we had an understanding. I thought it would be different. I suffered with you to the end only to be burned again. To be unceremoniously left with no explanation, no closure, not so much as a backward glance or even any resolution of why on earth that man was climbing up the building!?!? I swore it was the last time. My heart can't take this abuse anymore.

And then...

As casually as you please, my husband - my husband who knows my every weakness, of all people! - asked me to pick up his holds while I was at the library. And there you were, heavy and looming like Everest. My resolve is weak. Just a few pages while I wait for the monkeys to finish up, that's all. And just like that, I'm head over heels falling, doomed, into a long-term relationship with you.
Aptly:  Infinite Jest


  1. May he rest in peace. This post is a neat tribute I think.

    Just how many pages is Infinite Jest??! I secretly wouldn't mind tackling it soon --- keep us posted on your progress and thoughts.

  2. I think it must have been hard to have been that brilliant and lived very comfortably.

    Infinite Jest is 1067 pages long. It's definitely a marriage-type commitment.

  3. [W-o-w, ] it takes me a good while to read your posts because I have to check all the links and people I had never heard of before. As proof, I am only about a third of the way through, now back to reading ...

  4. I just bought Infinite Jest. I will let you know what I think.

    The wikipedia article said he was a dog person.

    He committed suicide on the birthday of my one uncle who committed suicide. Sad. He died way too soon. Depression is horrible.

  5. Whew! Thanks for beefing up my Goodreads list, girl!! LOL

    I really got into your narrative here, so much fun. What a great way to mark your reads.

    I have a friend who is a book publicist and Roller Derby skater (M Half knows her too, JULIA!) and her Derby name is Infinite Pest, in reference to the above mentioned marriage-heft title.

    I'm off to look these up now. Have a great weekend!

  6. It's so funny that you posted this today. I was sorting through books last night and found my copy of A Supposedly Fun Thing..., which is how my own tortured relationship with DFW began. The cover alone brings up all these competing feelings. Let me know what you think of Infinite Jest. I'm waiting for retirement to try and tackle that one. ;)

  7. Love your take on this- I often anthropomorphize my books:) Sounds like a deep commitment for sure- let us know how it turns out!

  8. I have never heard of this author. Will have to copy Green Goose (as usual) and beef up the Goodreads list.

  9. I have made it about 3 percent of the way through Infinite Jest, it is a wild ride. I think I've read most of the sentences twice, a few of them three times.

  10. @esbboston - I think we are in exactly the same place. I have read books that were that many pages before, but I don't know that I've ever read a book that LONG before. I'll stick with it if you will!

  11. Oh my, I just made it to pg 44&45 and I started laughing, and I just had to go back and see, did I get everything, and I just laughed even harder, my head now hurts a little bit and I don't care, its a grand silly pain, oh my, oh my.

  12. I didn't mention that I bought the Kindle version of the book. There is an iPad app that lets you read Kindle versions.

  13. This is one book that I might actually consider on the Kindle. It's a weighty tome. I started a page - look right - called "Infinite Jesters". A book club of sorts where we can record progress, observations, etc. Happy reading!


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