I quit you.
Hey, David Foster Wallace. I quit you. I have quit you before, several times. I fell in like with your essays back when I was young and impressionable. And while I do not discredit the impressions of youth, I have since found you to be pretentious, wordy (an understatement) and, frankly, overrated. But this is it, this time it is for real. Move on, you and I WILL NEVER BE.
Recently, I gave you a second chance at the recommendation of friends who thought the world of you. I thought, surely, I must have seen something in you all those years ago. And I did, you are funny, witty even, you still prove to be far too wordy for my taste, but ultimately, even this I find sort of endearing. I dove hesitantly into your Infinite Jest, I tried to let you swallow me, envelope me in some mesmerizing prosaic world of genius and wonder. I was skeptical.
I struggled. I laughed sometimes, despite my cynicism. I was, like so many who have come before me, wooed by the vocabulary, the sentence structures, the paragraphs that became heady, verbose pages. I was, despite myself, swept away on occasion.
And yet, I struggled.
My friends told me, just wait. Just hang in there, get over the hump, the magic will happen.
So I waited. I read. I plodded. I worked at it like it was my job.
And then I found my eyes straying to the end table, stacked with books waiting for me to crack their spines. I drove by the library, doing my best to avert my eyes. While taking long baths, I read…others.
Here’s the thing, DFW. I respect what you tried to do, really I do. Your talent is unmistakeable, you have something, for someone out there. But that someone, truly, is not me. And I am tired of pretending to be into you, when really, I am fondling the cover of Nicholson Baker or, heaven forbid, John Irving, longingly.
And so, it is time, it’s time after months of pussyfooting around the issue.
You’re a nice guy. You wrote some essays that I love, and will quote until the end of my days. And I am sure that someone else will make you a lot happier than me.
No, really. This is it. I quit. You will grace many bookshelves, you will be dragged around many a college campus in tattered backpacks of self-important liberal arts majors. And you will love it.
And I’ll settle in to the rest of my winter reading, and I will live knowing I did not finish the 990 pages that is your Infinite Jest. Life is too short to fake it.