When I heard about the apparent suicide of David Foster Wallace this weekend I had an interesting reaction. Actually, I had several interesting reactions which were a bit surprising since I did not know the man personally; I had just read his books. I was sad because suicide is sad, regardless of who commits the act. I cannot fathom the depths of despair and internal torture that would drive someone to end their life and I won’t try. But I will be sad for his wife and the students he taught and for the people that enjoyed reading his words because there will be no more forthcoming. I enjoyed DFW’s work but I admit they were a chore to get through. You had to commit to his stories and I'll admit my admiration probably was more for his giant brain and gift with words than for any great pleasure from spending time with his stories. I never finished “Infinite Jest” (and I have a feeling I am not alone) but one of the funniest things I ever read was the chronicle of his cruise in “A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments.” He was obviously very smart and had an incredible vocabulary and a lot of times that got in his way. Basically, he was Michael Chabon without any restraint. It’s sad that the brightest stars burn out sooner rather than later. (There is that word again—sad.)

I also had a flash of pain for an indirectly related reason. The person that introduced me to the work of David Foster Wallace was my friend Blaine. The chapter of my life that starred Blaine could be a novel all its own, a story that included genuine love and friendship that ended in a bizarre, “can’t-explain-it-so-I-just-have-to-accept-it” fashion. That story could be told, but not today. Maybe some other time; maybe not. Odd how sad drags up sad…

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