Monday, October 27, 2008

Just a sample of a heart-stopping passage by David Foster Wallace. Jeez, is it me or does this passage feel surreally allegorical? (I still can't accept that he's gone).

An excerpt from the title essay A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (DFW after attempting skeet shooting for the very first time [and this during his very first cruise]).

OK, let's not spend a lot of time drawing this whole indcident out. Let me simply say that, yes, my own skeetshooting score was noticeably lower than the other entrants' scores, then simply make a few disinterested observations for the benefit of any novice contemplating shooting skeet from the rolling stern of a 7NC (7-Night-Caribbean) Megaship, and then we'll move on: (1) A certain level of displayed ineptitude with a firearm will cause everyone in the vicinity who knows anything about firearms to converge on you all at the same time with cautions and advice and handy tips pass down from Papa. (2) A lot of the advice in (1) boils down to exhortations to "lead" the launched skeet, but nobody explains whether this means that the gun's barrel should move across the sky with the skeet or should instead lie in a sort of static ambush along some point in the skeet's projected path. (3) TV skeetshooting is not totally unrealistic in that you really are supposed to say "Pull" and the weird little catapultish thing really does produce a kertwanging thud. (4) Whatever a "hair trigger" is, a shotgun does not have one. (5) If you've never fired a gun before, the urge to close your eyes at the precise moment of concussion is, for all practical purposes, irresistible. (6) The well-known "kick" of a fired shotgun is no misnomer: it does indeed feel like being kicked, and huts, and sends you back several steps with your arms pinwheeling wildly for balance, which, when you're holding a gun, results in mass screaming and ducking and then on the next shot a conspicuous thinning of the crowd in the 9-Aft gallery above.

Finally, (7), know that an unshot skeet's movement against the vast lapis lazuli dome of the open ocean's sky (this is a satirical jab at a similar cruise essay by Frank Conroy) is sun-like--i.e. orange and parabolic and right-to-left--and that is disappearance into the sea is edge-first and splashless and sad.


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