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Sunday morning and no time.

We were up between 3 and 5 taking a little boy to the emergency room after he woke gasping with a closing, clanking windpipe. All's well, but in those situations you have to imagine what would happen if it got 50% worse in the next hour (rather than 50% better, as was the outcome).

He's fine, if a little cranky. Me too. Made the more so by waking up to read the New York Times and seeing that David Foster Wallace hanged himself yesterday. I don't know why we're more sad/irritated when a good writer or singer or whatever tops themselves, when hundreds (thousands?) of anonymous others do the same every day, but there it is.

In a little piece of post-modern shtick that he might have approved of, every article in the online Times has a 'this article sponsored by' box and the page with his death notice, the notice of his hanging, was brought to you this morning by a new movie coming out about now: Choke.

There are never that many good ones around, but we just lost one of our very best.


David Foster Wallace hanged himself on Friday, September 12th.

  1. Wallace once posited in a piece in The Atlantic Monthly that there should be a ceiling on the level of things worth dying for.
  2. Wallace also believed that Irony1 "hinders and complicates authentic communication in fiction and culture as a whole."2


1Wallace would no doubt argue the pants off of this definition of irony. Sue mei.
iFootnotes in memoriam.

though Adam was a friend of mine I did not know him well
he was alone into his distance, he was deep into his well
Jackson Browne

No, I never met David Foster Wallace, but I do think it would have been interesting. His death, likely self inflicted, is a loss for anyone who loves words, because DFW certainly loved words.

I would encourage anyone to read his book of short stories: Girl with Curious hair simply for the sheer joy of watching how he constructs worlds from language.

I have no desire to know how or why he chose to end his life so prematurely. I do think the best tribute any of us who have read his work can provide is to recommend him to others. I do so without hesitation. I do so with more than a little sadness.

Ike decided to visit Ohio. I didn't really expect it, but my checking the weather slides on weekends, particularly when I'm visiting my girl. But one could hardly avoid noticing 70 MPH winds, and trees flopping around like balloons in the jet stream. Particularly when a foot thick branch decided to leap Nancy's neighbor's lawn to land squarely in hers. Actually calling it a 'branch' considerably understates matters. It was big enough to rank as a tree. Fortunately, a section of chain link fence was the only significant casualty.

But Ike was a big storm down in Texas and he stayed big all the way across Lake Erie. I headed home on Sunday fully aware that the power was down all across Ohio. In fact, I-71 seemed like a blackout zone. Only one exit had a lit gas station in 100 miles. Cincinnati was dark except for one or two spots. Downtown Columbus was brilliant, but I expect that as downtown power lines are run underground. But my neighborhood was dark as a porter stout. Strangely enough though, I noticed rays of light from my over-crowded corner gas station. My lights were on. My stereo fired up! My computer was fine.

Considering how my friends were doing, no internet seemed an insignificant penalty. Particularly when you consider Galveston. Expecting a very long workday, I headed for bed.

About two in the morning something woke me up. Flashing yellow lights outside. Men talking, close. The clinking noise of metal tools. A glance outside the window told me it was the power company.

Then I heard Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!. It was loud too, the sound of bacon frying. Only frying bacon smells a lot better. And bacon doesn't glow green. Day-glo green light flooded in my windows. My cat bolted for under the bed. Then the noise stopped and with it the light.

Slowly, Zathras poked his head out from beneath the bed. I heard the men discussing something, and thought about getting up for a look.


More green light, bright. I could almost read by it. It stops. Twice more i hear the sound and see the light. Then it stops and I hear the sound of diesel engines firing up, the linemen moving on.

The next morning I noticed caution tape on the sidewalk next to my house. I went over to look. Two of three power lines down. And a meter wide patch of blackened grass on my lawn.

Now I know why the light was green.

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