David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest has become less a book and more of a baton used to whack lesser intellectuals with. “Oh,” smart people say, “you haven’t read Infinite Jest?” No, I have not and, frankly, I don’t want to. I have other books I want to read, including ones about cowboys, and ones that contain jokes.
I have neither the time nor interest to take on Wallace’s behemoth magnum opus, and that is a knock against it. I’m sure it’s a wonderful book deserving of its renown. Still, not going to read it. What I have read, however, are these quotes from it. They’re must more manageable, and very enjoyable.
1. You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.
2. Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you.
3. …logical validity is not a guarantee of truth.
4. I do things like get in a taxi and say, “The library, and step on it.
5. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That it is possible to fall asleep during an anxiety attack. That concentrating on anything is very hard work.
6. …almost nothing important that ever happens to you happens because you engineer it. Destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an alley with some sort of ‘psst’ that you usually can’t even hear because you’re in such a rush to or from something important you’ve tried to engineer.
7. Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.
8. Sarcasm and jokes were often the bottle in which clinical depressives sent out their most plangent screams for someone to care and help them.
9. God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about.
10. The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.
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