Thursday, September 05, 2002

It's not that I am *always* haunted by the imaginary characters that I read about or follow on the silver screen but it does happen from time to time.

For example, when I had read David Foster Wallace's 1078 page novel, Infinite Jest I was distraught to learn that the book ended before the fate of my favourite character Donald (a sad ex-alcoholic who works in a half-way home) was revealed. In fact, I seem to recall that in the last scene he was in, he was in mortal danger being threatened by a man with a gun. Rats. It was just like Broom of the System in which the ending is a complete letdown...

And then I read the first chapter again. I did so, because the first chapter was especially strange and I wanted to re-read it now that I just spent several hundred pages with the characters that it featured.

And then I noticed the chapter's heading:
Most of the book takes place during the YEAR OF THE DEPEND UNDERGARMENT.

From: p. 223, first paperback edition:
(1) Year of the Whopper
(2) Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
(3) Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar
(4) Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
(5) Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishwasher
(6) Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernation/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office, or Mobile (sic)
(7) Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland
(8) Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
(9) Year of Glad

I re-read the first chapter and it was largely as incomprehensable as it was when I first had read it but there was one brief line (on page 17, first paperback edition):

I think of John N. R. Wayne, who would have won this year's WhataBurger, standing watch in a mask as Donald Gately and I dig up my father's head. There's very little doubt that Wayne would have won.

Donald lives.
I had to dig this up for my friend Jacques. I thought I would share it with you.

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