Yesterday I began reading Infinite Jest for the third time. Infinite Jest was the first book I read after graduating college in 2002. I recall being so impressed by Wallace’s description of ravenous post-workout hunger that I started a daily biking regimen solely to experience that feeling for myself.
After Wallace committed suicide in the fall of 2008 I turned IJ again. By this time I was several years into a dalliance with tramadol, a relatively mild synthetic opiate. This second reading inspired me to quit tramadol cold turkey the day after Christmas. After going through a sort of withdrawal-lite I stayed drug free for precisely two weeks, taking the drug up again when I returned to work after the holidays. Of course, I hadn’t intended to stay straight-edge forever.
Right now I’m on page 27 of my third read-through of IJ, enjoying the warm glow of 3 pills — 150 mgs. — of tramadol. By the end of the evening I will likely have taken 100 mgs. more. My last day of work is June 30. As a job and a dependency end, a new reading and a new phase of life begin.
That came out silly. What I’m saying is, stay tuned.