You're a David Foster Wallace Fan If These Telltale Signs Describe Your Life
Being a David Foster Wallace fan is a thrilling and exhausting experience. You're constantly flipping back and forth and up and down between footnotes and endnotes (not to mention between the book and a dictionary). Non-fans think you're pretentious. DFW himself described the potential audience of Infinite Jest as a lonely lot: "You can expect that somebody who’s willing to read and read hard a thousand-page book is gonna be somebody with some loneliness issues."
Especially now that DFW is no longer living (RIP), every piece of DFW ephemera that gets excavated sends you into a tizzy. And reading any of his works in print is a painful arm workout in itself, to say nothing of the brain workout.
But it's all worth it to experience the hypercomplicated, unendingly fascinating DFW-verse, from the Great Ohio Desert to those screwed-up Incandenzas. And with new David Foster Wallace material popping up all the time — from his college philosophy thesis, now published as Fate, Time and Language: An Essay on Free Will, to the contested biopic coming out with Jason Segal starring as DFW, the obsession continues. Read on to find out the telltale signs that your DFW fandom knows no bounds.
You know what a SNOOT is
If a modifier dangles, you're the one to point it out, and you worry about apostrophe abuse the way Sarah McLachlan worries about puppy abuse.
You maybe self-identify as a SNOOT yourself
The "10 items or less" sign at the grocery store peeves you to no end. And hey, in And Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, DFW himself corrects a flight attendant who warns the plane that "smoking only is permitted outdoors." "Permitted only outdoors," DFW says, moving the misplaced modifier — "it’s not the only thing that’s permitted outdoors."
You kind of wish you could actually watch the fictional Infinite Jest film even if it means you then would turn into a vegetable
So what if the North American government classified that movie as a terrorist act? What if it's actually the best thing ever? What if you actually get to see Madame Psychosis' face?!
You've googled Jayne Mansfield to see what the town in Broom of the System looks like
Not too shabby.
You've hit on someone by asking if he wants to listen to "This is Water" at your place
Not to mention that you've listed DFW on your OkCupid profile just to find other people who are as into him as you are.
Your biceps are massive from toting around those giant books
Oh, I'm sorry — did you want to bring anything else in your bag? Like a snack? Nope. This book is taking all the room.
You kind of have a little crush on Orin Incandenza
Just a little one. What can you say? He's a multi-sport stud.
You've watched a Roger Federer match to try to see a "Federer Moment"
Popcorn on the couch, down on one knee, eyeballs looking like novelty shop eyeballs? Maybe you're not quite there, but Federer-as-religious-experience is a thing.
You've tried to care about tennis at all, given all the descriptions of games and drills at the Enfield Tennis Academy
If Hal and the boys are going to do drills for hours on end and squeeze tennis balls with their dominant hands until they end up with massive freak show arms, you have to care a little bit.
You have googled words like "anapest" and "picric" and "mucronate"
Goddamn DFW vocabulary.
Your friends know who DFW is because you won't shut up about him
"For the last time, I don't want to spend the next two hours dissecting the meaning of ending The Broom of the System in the middle of the sentence... please?"
You have struggled to figure out which year was actually the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
Some say 2008 (Matty Pemulis was born in '85 and he's 23 in the Y.D.A.U.; then again, it could be 2009 because as Infinite Jest superfans have determined, November 20, Y.D.A.U. is a Friday, making it plausibly 2009.
You wonder who would be cast in James Incandenza's Blood Sister: One Tough Nun
Like, would it be Whoopi Goldberg? She's pretty good at playing nuns.
You're considering a trip out to Texas just to see his archives
According to the archive description, it includes one "oversize folder." Yes, it is not surprising that David Foster Wallace paper storage would be "oversize."
You'd absolutely take this class in a second
If anyone could turn a Jackie Collins novel into high academia, it was DFW.
The Decemberists' video for "Calamity Song" made you audibly freak out
They turned the IJ Eschaton scene into reality!
You've wanted to go on a cruise just to see if it made you as "unbearably sad" as the Zenith made DFW
Of course, he didn't call it the Zenith, he called it the Nadir, which kind of proves the point.
Like Hal Incandenza, you also enjoy doing things like getting in a taxi and saying "To the library — and step on it"
...so you can get more DFW books, of course.
You read The Pale King even though it is at least partially about the concept of boredom
You read a book about boredom. About freaking IRS employees. About the unending tedium of processing tax forms. Because DFW wrote it.
This is you every time a new piece of DFW comes out (like this video):
I feel you.