Infinite Summer: This is my fourth (?) day of Infinite Jest, and I still have little good to say about it. I feel slightly less in the dark than before because some of the characters have been given names instead of obscure nicknames which makes them significantly more identifiable. My greatest compliment for it is that it is is more articulate and sophisticated in verbal style than the stories to which I have been comparing it (Oy, The Dogfish Series), but, on the other hand, "The Dogfish who Swallowed the Universe" was written by a twelve-year-old.
Speaking of primordial, I reread "The Dogfish who Swallowed the Universe" today, after my Infinite Jest allotment. I realized that I glamorized the story significantly because I spent so many hours of my formative youth arguing over it  with it's author (who, for convenience, I will refer to as Sockhead ). I was even inspired to write a similar work of my own around the same age that was a historical and religious parody instead of a social commentary. However, there is still a life and a humor in it that is not only precocious, but still holds up to this day.
"So it was that a cluster of naive lunatics met in a pub" (DSU. 1) and the story is off describing each of the characters. I wanted to quote one of the funniest sections, but most of them require references from earlier in the work to make sense or included a set up that was simply more than I wanted to type out. One vignette-like struck me as amusing. It lacks the subtlety and humor of other scenes (in fact it isn't particularly funny) and the writing lacks a degree of verbal artistry built up in the sequels "
"We decided to walk to a place we had sighted on the way to the inn, two or three blocks away. It was a Liberian fast-good pub called Ye Olde Liberian Fast-Food Pub. All of the rooms had themes. Our table was in the "fluffy fire-hose room." Our waiter looked like a cross between a stereotypical caffeine-addict and a stereotypical boy scout. He introduced himself as John and promptly died. I guess Abilio Manuel Guerra Junqueiro was correct. The manager said our waiter was under some stress because there had been a lot of complaints directed toward him. When I asked why, he said that John was more than a waiter; he was also a curator. He curated the rooms. He was criticized for putting stratified rocks in the ocean room. He thought that all stratified rocks came from the ocean. I guess he trusted Abraham Gottlob Werner's theories too much." (DSU 6).Maybe my problem is that as much as I appreciate parts of Infinite Jest, I find it rather joyless and have not laughed or even cracked a smile at those things which I believe are supposed to be funny. While silly and unrefined, I found myself smiling and laughing at "The Dogfish who Swallowed the Universe." I am certainly a proponent of dark humor, but joyless humor seems like an oxymoron.
- The story at once a bizarre fantasy, an exercise in humor, and a social parody of our social group. Any understanding of social dynamics I possess came from discussing, nitpicking, and expanding the social commentary from this book. My interests in social dynamics became so focused that in "
HellHeck" (the second story) my character was described thus: "Gruiforms had sort of become a "watcher." She merely watched (and watched and watched)" (HH 2). Obviously, my opinions are skewed.
- At the time when this story was written, the author of the story constantly wore an eccentric gray beanie (for lack of a better term) which, when not being worn, looked a bit like a sock. This vague resemblance caused the author to refer to himself as "Sockhead" when some pseudonym was required.