Don Gately is my Soulmate, but I’m Going to Write about Randy Lenz Again

As I continue to crawl through the pages of Infinite Jest, I feel an ever-deepening connection with Mr. Don Gately. I wouldn’t call it a man-crush or anything like that, but I admire his discipline and his brutal honesty. I think that if I lived in the world of Harry Potter, my patronus would be an enormous square-headed man with prison tattoos.

Image 82 Don Gately Prays
Don Gately prays to “some kind of Higher Power he didn’t even believe in”

There is much I’d like to write about Don G., but I will have to save that for another post. It would take more time than I currently have and probably get far more personal than I am comfortable getting. So, perhaps another time.

Image 79 Randy LenzI jumped on the Randy Lenz bandwagon a few weeks ago, but only just today read those pages. While I did once again cringe everytime I read the word “There,” there was something else that caught my attention. As I’ve been reading and annotating my copy of IJ, I tend to circle words that I either find fascinating or that I have not heard/read before. I noticed, as I read about Randy Lenz, that I was circling a lot more words than normal. For some reason, these pages had a higher density of fascinating/unknown words.

So, I enumerate those words here:

Mongo (n): literal – a monetary unit of Mongolia; in context – really big

Panoply (n): a complete or impressive collection of things

Eurotrochaic (adj): no literal definition; in context – describing the alternating two-note sound of a European emergency siren

Diverticulitis (n): inflammation of a diverticulum, especially in the colon, causing pain and disturbance of bowel function

Bonerfied (adj): no literal definition, but is the name of an AC/DC cover band; in context – to arouse or experience great excitement

Melony (adj): resembling a melon, melon-like

Gasper (n): no literal definition; in context – a cigarette

Scopophobic (adj): a morbid fear of being seen or stared at by others

Windbagathon (adj): no literal definition; in context – long-winded and marathon in duration

Schizoid (adj): characterized by emotional aloofness and solitary habits

Tattlemount (n): no literal definition; in context – appears to be a blending of “tattle” and “tantamount”

Hemispasm (n): a spasm that affects only one side of the body

Insousistent (adj): showing a casual lack of concern

Blatting (v): making a bleating sound

Crepuscular (adj): resembling or relating to twilight

Threnody (n): a lament

Purposive (adj): having,serving, or done with a purpose

Sangfroid (n): sometimes excessive composure or coolness, especially in difficult circumstances

Phosphenes (n): a ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball

Confabulating (v): having a memory disturbance produced by a fabricated or distorted memory

Microspic (adj): visible only with a microscope; a misuse or misspelling of “microscopic”

Cableyarrow (n): no literal definition; a misspelling of “caballero,” which is Spanish for “gentleman”

Kamasupra (n): no literal definition, but is the title of a song by Radiohead; a misuse or misspelling of “karma sutra”

Stelliform (adj): star-shaped

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6 thoughts on “Don Gately is my Soulmate, but I’m Going to Write about Randy Lenz Again”

  1. I’d say more but feeling scopophobic about writing anything publicly about the neural explosions I experience plodding through this stelliform space craft of a novel. Thanks for the blog.

  2. Randy Lenz is a coke freak, and likes to think of himself (as do many folk, including, I believe, DFW) as smarter than most anyone else. Therefore uses many “big words,” often words that he conflates or blends with others (like tattlemount) or spells incorrectly (Cableyarrow), as Ellen often points out. So is DFW both making fun of RL types, or himself, or more possibly, both and all who share this trait of wanting to talk smarter than anyone else…? Also, Bonerfied is a corruption of bona fide, with a side of sexual innuendo…
    In some ways I think Randy Lenz is whom DFW fears that he may be, and Don Gately is who he wishes that he is. But there is a much larger, IMHO, meta-issue behind Big Don Gately, as well…

  3. I have noticed that DFW often misspells or misuses words when telling Randy’s story: in vitro when he means en utero. anileated=annihilated, recurving=recurring, purportaged=purported, devroid=devoid. There are many others.

  4. Ryan, this post is grand.
    so fun to see all these words that got your attention! And, looks like we have a lot of super Gately quotes to talk about in two weeks. : )

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