5 Minute Book Review (Part 5): Infinite Jest
July 11, 2009 in 5 Minute Book Review
Occurring in the future, but based on approximations, not off from our current place on the good old Gregorian, the years have given way to being numbered. Rather they are subsidized and purchased by corporations. Thus naming rights are afforded to these corporations.
This concept cements the reality that corporations can purchase (and name) just about anything; sports arenas, sporting events.
According to most approximations, subsidized time began in ~2004.
In order, they are:
1. Year of the Whopper (YTP)
2. Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad (YTMP)
3. Year of the Trial-Sized Dove Bar (YTSDB)
4. Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
5. Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster
6. Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems for Home, Office, or Mobile
7. Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland
8. Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment (Y.D.A.U)
9. Year of Glad
The Subsidizing and naming company humor is not lost on this reader.
The majority of the story occurs during Y.D.A.U.
Near the end of the story, when Don is in the hospital, because of the injuries, the lack of clock on the wall, he has a very hard time understanding how long he’s been there. It’s a pivotal time for him when he’s being virtually forced pain medicine by the Pakistani MD even though he’s vehemently (as much as possible) refusing. Don draws on his recovery from addiction principles that involve not looking into the future, rather focus on this second; that no one second is intolerable, that living second by second without pain medicines is possible. What’s not possible, however, is imagining the next few years, months, weeks or even days in this level of pain. So Don boils time down to seconds to resist the idea of using pain medicines.
During a visit, Joelle Van Dyne relates her previous failures at rehab as stacking up the days of sobriety much the way Evil Knievel lined up buses to jump over with his motorcycle. By looking backward at how many days in a row she had been sober, she was essentially making the future more and more difficult, much the same way Mr. Knievel did with the buses; there’s only so much distance (time) one can traverse before ultimately failing. And Joelle did just that. But once she changed her thinking about time, sobriety came much easier.