Infinite Summer-y Week 4, pp. 181-258

And back to the Infinite Jest summer readalong, covering pages 181-258, chapters 16-18, with the chapters marked by those moon thingies. This summary based on those from the first Infinite Summer back in 2009, but tidied up for accuracy.

circle3Page 181 — LATE OCTOBER YEAR OF THE DEPEND ADULT UNDERGARMENT: The radio show right before Madame Psychosis begins her show at 109-WYYY FM; Hal and Mario listen at the Headmaster’s House.

Page 193: A description of the Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House and the other six buildings on the Enfield Marine Public Heath Hospital complex (down the hill from ETA).

Page 198 — 6 NOVEMBER YEAR OF THE DEPEND ADULT UNDERGARMENT: ETA weight room; more of Lyle, the sweat-licking guru from p 127.

Page 200: A second person narration of things you would learn after spending time in a halfway house, finishing with a long discursion on Tiny Ewell and his fascination with tattoos.

Page 211: Pemulis talking with Hal and Axford about DMZ, the incredibly potent hallucinogen he acquired on pages 169-171 and they discuss how and when they’ll test it before offering it for sale.

circle3Page 219: Joelle Van Dyne attends a film-student party at Molly Notkins and plans to kill herself in the bathroom. Joelle is veiled for some reason we don’t know yet. She is from Western Kentucky. The section mentions connections to Orin and Jim, then backtracks to earlier in the day, when she gave money to a man in a wheelchair.


Year of the Whopper
Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar
Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster
Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office, Or Mobile (sic)
Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland
Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
Year of Glad

We return to Joelle’s memories, of Orin, “dodger of flung acid extraordinaire”, an ad she sees in the street of a man in a wheelchair holding a blank disk case in his palm, lineless like the earlier man she gave money to. Details of Joelle’s work with Jim, including an apology movie, see also p. 993’s note. Joelle got cocaine to freebase from Lady Delphina (whose stuff was described by yrstruly on p. 131 as “from bunk..all Monitol and kwai9 you might as well fucking cop XLax or Schweppes”) and talks to a man who asks about her veil of the U.H.I.D., the Union of the Hideously and Improbably Deformed.


Back to Joelle on the way to the party at Molly’s where she used to live with Orin and act in Jim’s films. She wonders about the logistics of Jim’s suicide, watches people dance and listens to fragments of film conversation, some about a mythic “cartridge-as-ecstatic-death” rumor. We learn Joelle is Madame Psychosis, she goes into the bathroom to commit suicide and ends up vomiting instead, perhaps due to the low-grade Lady Delphina stuff.

circle3Page 240: A description of Enfield.

Page 242: 5 NOVEMBER–YEAR OF THE DEPEND ADULT UNDERGARMENT Hal and Orin speak on the phone. Hal describes the bizarre mechanics by which their father committed suicide, his horror upon discovering the body. Hal details how he was sent to a grief counselor and then finally deemed fit to play again. Hal is upset with Orin for not calling for 2 years, and skipping the memorial. He dodges many of Orin’s questions.


New Characters: Madame Psychosis, the host of “Sixty Minutes More or Less with…” on M.I.T.’s student-run radio station 109-WYYY FM, a program to which Mario listens religiously.

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