…comes…errrrr…..David Foster Wallace?
This is the first thing I read when I woke up Saturday, retyped in its entirity here:
(I really don’t think he would have minded.)
“A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life”
When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces.
The man who’d introduced them didn’t much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.
This is the first story in Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. I just finished reading The Broom of the System, Wallace’s first novel, which reads very much like a “first book” in that the plot is quasi-wonky and a bit belabored, but is still immensely impressive for its scope and non-linear linearity. One of my favorite things about the book is how Mr. Vigorous (of the publishing house Frequent & Vigorous (hehe)) tells his girlfriend the stories he reads from the slush pile at night while laying in bed. The stories, as you may expect, are heavy with metaphor. My favorite is the one about a guy who has a problem loving too wholly and too immediately and he goes to therapy to try to figure out how to stop doing this and he figures that if he just tries to get involved with someone that he actually doesn’t much care for and isn’t quite attracted to that he can temper his exuberant loving tendency. So he does that. He meets a frumpy girl on the subway and approaches her and because she is this frumpy, shy girl he doesn’t really have to work too hard. But the girl on the subway, as you may imagine, has a whole host of personal issues that she is dealing with, and she also wears this scarf around her neck everyday and as the subway girl and the exuberant loving tendency guy go through the relationship motions more and more (because the exuberant loving tendency guy has found out that he actually does care for the subway girl, like legitimately cares) he gets curious as to why she never takes the scarf off until finally she feels comfortable enough with him to do so and he learns that she has this tiny little tree frog living in a little hollow in the side of her neck. I love this.
I haven’t been so taken by someone in their entirety since Bill Hicks.
Luckily, I still have a lot more Wallace to read.
Also, I’m trying, I’m trying: