Thursday, March 17, 2011


From Rolling Stone:

"His life was a map that ends at the wrong destination. Wallace was an A student through high school, he played football, he played tennis, he wrote a philosophy thesis and a novel before he graduated from Amherst, he went to writing school, published the novel, made a city of squalling, bruising, kneecapping editors and writers fall moony-eyed in love with him. He published a thousand-page novel, received the only award you get in the nation for being a genius, wrote essays providing the best feel anywhere of what it means to be alive in the contemporary world, accepted a special chair at California's Pomona College to teach writing, married, published another book and last month hanged himself at age 46."

I attempted to read this 1,000 page monster about 10 years ago, but only made it 150 pages deep. After David Foster Wallace's death in 2008, I decided again to try to read Infinite Jest, but never did. I think I'm now ready to give it another try! It has always bothered me that I never finished the book and it's definitely something I want to do before I die. But it goes much deeper than that...I want to be able to hold this accomplishment over the heads of my less well-read friends. If I'm ever in danger of losing an argument, I can always whip out, "Well, obviously you wouldn't think that way if you had ever read Infinite Jest." Boom! Go re-read Life of Pi and play some checkers, you illiterate motherfucker.

During one of my recent pre-Infinite Jest workouts, I came across the commencement speech DFW gave to the graduating class of Kenyon College in 2005...complete with ill-timed laughter and inapproprate applause.

As I get older, I realize that there is never any "thing" that is going to provide me with lasting, sustainable happiness...I simply "am" happy or "am not" happy. And what determines a large part of whether I am or am not happy, is how I view the millions of pieces of information that I am bombarded with on a daily basis. I think this is the real work of being an adult...managing the constant and permanent Grind...and to somehow still have a smile on your face and passion and excitement in your heart.

Listen to this several times...

So what does all of this have to do with chess t-shirts? Well, if I have to explain that to you, then you obviously haven't read Infinite Jest.