Saturday, July 18, 2009

"You Cannot Imagine Our Absence"

As a break from all my twenty dollar words and pretensions to being a gifted literary critic, here's a little "slice of life" post. Years ago, my devoted husband and I went through this phase where we named everything after things in Infinite Jest. The very computer I'm typing on currently is called ANNKITTENPLAN, my internet handle is Madame Psychosis, if we ever find ourselves in position to have a dog, I want to name it Pemulis. We plan to name our hypothetical son Hal (for IJ, as well as my grandfather and Henry IV).

But the issue with cutesy names like that is that the intervening years have obscured our reasons for repurposing those monikers, like how my friends and I all cast ourselves in Wet Hot American Summer only to find ourselves conforming more and more to the characters the older we got.

This can be good and bad.

For example, having not read Infinite Jest in a long time, my affection for Hal Incandenza waned. I thought maybe Hal wouldn't be such a good name, but rereading the book now, in spite of everything that happens to Hal, it's clearly the only acceptable boy child name.

And then there's the delicious/disturbing irony of the fact that our computer is named Ann Kittenplan since a computer monitor is later her weapon of choice. Plus, I've been incorrectly remembering Madame Psychosis as a code name for marijuana when, in fact, it's the street name for DMZ. I'm more dangerous than I thought.

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