Sunday, March 4, 2012

A head full

I am sneezing and sniffling this morning with a head cold.  It rained all day yesterday and into the early hours this morning.  I took advantage of the bad weather to stay indoors and rest.  I don't like being sick, but this will pass.

I think that today I'm going to stay inside today and continue to recuperate.  I have reading to do for my class.  And I've been absorbed with David Lipsky's transcript of time spent with David Foster Wallace, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself.  It's hard to imagine that DFW would want this fellow following him around, asking questions over and over for weeks.  It surely would have gotten on my last nerve. When Lipsky tells Wallace: “I think you still feel you’re smarter than other people. You make a point of holding back,”.  Wallace says, “Boy, that would make me a real asshole, wouldn’t it? The parts of me that used to think I was different or smarter or whatever, almost made me die.” Amen.

I found that Wallace's hope to get laid during book signings of Infinite Jest was sad.  He thought that someone would come up and ask him to go back to their hotel, but it didn't happen:
“I didn’t get laid on this tour. The thing about fame is interesting, although I would have liked to get laid on the tour and I did not….People come up, they kind of slither up during readings or whatever. But it seems like, what I want is not to have to take any action. I don’t want to have to say, ‘Would you like to come back to the hotel?’ I want them to say, ‘I am coming back to the hotel. Where is your hotel?’ None of ‘em do that….I just can’t stand to look like I’m actively trading on this sexually. Even though of course that’s—I would be happy to do that.”

And his remark about hard drugs was good: “If I’d ever been a heroin addict, I don’t think I’d have a problem saying it. It’s weird -- I, like -- I mean, I’m somebody who spent most of his life in libraries. I just, um, never lived that kind of dangerous life. I wouldn’t even stick a needle in my arm.” I get that completely.

And about drinking: “I was sort of a joyless drinker. I mean, I think I just used it for anesthesia…. And I saw that there’s this whole image of the writer as somebody who lives hard and drinks hard. You know, is found in amusing postures in gutters and stuff…. And I think when you are a kid, you know, and you don’t have any kind of idea of how to be what you want to be, you fall for these sort of cultural models. And the big thing about it is, I don’t have the stomach or nervous system for it.” Me either.

And then finally I'll add this quote on being alone: “When you’re meeting a whole lot of new people and having to do things you’re in—I’m in a constant low-level state of anxiety. Which produces adrenaline, and kind of shuts down—there’s a difference between short-term, people-based anxiety. And sort of deep, existential, you know, fear, that you feel all the way down to your butthole. And that, I, that’s…that’s what I’ll have when I’m alone.”  I can understand but am glad that I haven't had the "butthole" fear in a long while.

For right now, I'm going to take some cold medicine and drift off into la-la land.  I've let DFW's words be the profound ones today.  Getting laid, being smart, drugs, drinking, being alone--lots to contemplate with a head that hurts.  See you on the well side.


  1. Man, there's a whole lot here to contemplate as I go through my day. I surely do know what DFW meant about the butthole fear. Wish I didn't. Glad I don't know one damn thing about heroin addiction.
    Anyway, I'll ponder these thoughts and I sure hope you enjoy your day of rest and recuperation, Syd. Feel free to pass on any more wisdom you may accrue as the day continues.
    Get well quickly.

  2. Be well, friend. My experience is that the head cold sucks, but is relatively short lived. However, I started hitting the Zicam hard when I got it...

  3. get some rest man...i hope the cold blows on through and you are feeling better soon...

    had a kid ODing in my car this week as i rushed him to the hospital

  4. Rest is the best medicine! Get well soon my friend!

  5. David Foster Wallace is a modern tragedy.

  6. I'm listening to the same book (acted out for in my car right now. I find it tragic, sad, compelling...
    Your first question about how he could stand being interviewed for weeks might go directly to how he experienced loneliness. He keeps initiating comparisons to, and trying to connect to Lipski.
    For DFW being a world class intellect wasn't enough i guess. Personally, I would hate to go to a meeting and feel that I knew more than anyone else there.
    Thanks for all you do for me with this me a connection.

  7. Syd-

    There's a lot going on with this post! First of all, I hope the cold is winding down quickly for you...

    This struck me: "The parts of me that used to think I was different or smarter or whatever, almost made me die.” Wow, right between the eyes!


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