- Not telling anyone, and then congratulating myself on my self-restraint.
- Writing a post on Facebook saying that I would love to discuss it with someone else who has finished it, while secretly hoping that no one takes me up on this.
- Keeping my copy of it at eye level on my bookshelf, so people will ask me if I’ve read it.
- Keeping my copy of it somewhat hidden, so if someone sees it and asks me if I’ve read it, when I say yes, they’ll consider my placement of it on said bookshelf to be evidence of my modesty and hidden depth.
- Hurling the book against the wall, like my college friend Bob Ryan said he did when he finished reading it, which sounded cool and masculine.
- Rereading it, so I can fully get it.
- Reading A Readers Companion to Infinite Jest, so I can really fully get it.
- Reading everything else David Foster Wallace wrote, even that book about infinity, so I can place it in the context of his other works and therefore really fully totally get it.
- Reflecting on the inherent futility of ever trying to really fully totally get anything, but especially a work of art.
- Deciding whether or not I consider Infinite Jest to be a work of art.
- Thinking, what is art? Is there such a thing as ethical consumption under capitalism? What is Bob Ryan up to these days? 1
- Smugly saying, “oh, but this guy did” and then pointing to myself when someone brings it up as an example of a book that no one ever finishes.
- Reflecting on how relatively painless and enjoyable (not to mention rewarding, and I mean truly rewarding!) the process of reading it was compared to the difficulty it is usually ascribed.
- Thinking the above reflection but adding the words “by idiots” at the end.
- Regretting having wasted such an enormous amount of time and mental energy on something that was pretty much what you would expect a 1,079-page novel written by a white guy in 1996 to be.
- Feeling guilty for reading a 1,079-page novel written by a white guy in 1996 in 2018.
- Just generally reflecting on whatever happens in the book past page 64, which is the page I’m on right now.
- Thinking, “The jest’s on you, Jordan. While you were reading, life, which, unlike the titular jest, is far from infinite, has passed you by, and now your bones will turn to dust.”
- Thinking, “Hmmm, jest rhymes with chest and I just finished Infinite Jest and sometimes people call cumming ‘finishing’ and sometimes people cum on each other’s chests, so is there something there? Like, did DFW ever cum on his own Jest?” And then shaking my head and thinking, “I can’t believe you thought reading this book would make you smarter.”
- Immediately updating my Goodreads page.2
- Thinking, well, I guess if I can get through Infinite Jest then I can get through The Power Broker and Gravity’s Rainbow, too, and then being haunted until my death by their presence on my bookshelf.
- Trying to cram the words “plangent” and “fulvous” into regular conversation.
- Reading the last line of the book and getting chills down my spine, and then realizing my window is open.
1 Bob Ryan does not have a Facebook therefore he is not one of the people who might hypothetically respond by “reacting” to (e.g., by liking, loving, wowing, etc.) or interacting with the post in fantasy #2. However, it stands to reason that some of our mutual friends might still be in touch with him and would bring up the post to either a) praise me for my patience and perseverance in finishing such a long book or b) make fun of me for trying to shore up my self-esteem in such a transparent and ineffectual way.
2 Bob Ryan is not a member of the Goodreads community, but a similar situation could occur as the one explored in the footnote to the third part of fantasy #12, though the chances of my being ridiculed are much reduced because a) I would be simply updating my page w/o any attention-seeking commentary and b) the hypothetical mutual friend would also be on Goodreads so any jokes at my expense would just be the pot calling the kettle black, no?
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