David Foster Wallace speaks tonight at the Swedish-American Hall, and I am so there. So is Kristen. In the past, I have attended these readings with the same mindset as attending a rock concert. Because Neal Pollack actually is a rock star, this attitude has served me well. But for David Foster Wallace, is the classic white t-shirt, replete with hand-scrawled slogan, the best way to go?
On a side note, I think that authors really should try to make their appearances more like rock shows. As a former amateur stand-up comic, I know from experience that these kind of performances go a lot better when the crowd is drinking. If nothing else, the writers should sell t-shirts, keychains, posters, thongs, anything that will move. People coming to these sort of events probably already have the author's most recent work - book sales aren't the way to clean up. Besides, book sales are just going to feed some fat corporation's profits. As any indie rocker could tell you, the merch is where the real money comes in.
For Mr. Foster Wallace, I considered a few different slogans:
"The T-Shirt of the Trial-Sized Dove Bar"
"Curious Boy With Ordinary Hair"
"Wheelchair Assassins, West Coast Chapter"
And, of course:
"David Foster Wallace Is A Son Of A Bitch"
None of these seemed that great. I didn't have too many spare shirts. And, more importantly, I realized that I'm probably not going to meet him at this event, which is for the best, because I figure he's a little high-strung, what with the obsession with word usage and refusal to fly on airplanes.
I thought, "What would David Foster Wallace himself do, faced with this dilemma?" Then it came to me. Just like he did when he neared the thousand-page mark of Infinite Jest, I would simply stop. So, if you see me tonight, strolling towards Cafe Du Nord, remember that I'm wearing normal clothing, not because I was too lazy to actually make a t-shirt, but because life itself is incomplete.