- Editors: Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel. And please pay attention to formatting and grammar. Preview your changes before saving them. Thanks!
- 1 ☽ - Orin and Joelle
- 2 November 14th, YDAU - Poor Tony Goes Cold Turkey
☽ - Orin and Joelle
Stands for Clean United States Party, i.e. Johnny Gentle's pro-hygiene political platform. In reality, though it was created after Infinite Jest was published, there is an organization called CUSP.
the name of a real musician from the U.K.
Onanism is another word for masturbation in the English language
cholera and amoebic-dysentery
Cholera is extreme diarrhea brought on by unsanitary conditions. Amoebic dysentery is also extreme diarrhea, this time brought on by the acquisition of a parasitic infection.
scattered; dispersed (from one's homeland)
German: female romantic companion (rather, "significant other" or "longtime companion")
There is a Palmer Academy in Florida, but it's in Haines City, sixty miles east of Tampa.
uninspired. afflatus is inspiration, divine communication of knowledge, literally to blow upon. (Wikipedia)
Reserve Officer Training Corps, which recruits future officers in the U.S. Armed Forces from universities
French for "Croat" (Croatian) but probably just a misspelling, OR indicative that the magazine is a French-Québecois publication
A DOS is a Disk Operating System, the programming by which a computer runs other programs. Microsoft has not issued a new DOS after Windows as of late 2007.
Some programs needed to be "compiled" before they run, depending on the computer language in which they're written. Recompiling would be compiling over again.
A reference to Dodge City, Kansas, to "get out of Dodge" is to disappear because of some kind of perceived or real threat.
Fredericton is the capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick (N.B.) about 175 miles as the crow flies (much longer if you drive it) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, the nearest "big city" in that part of Canada.
Page 285 (cont'd)
in one's seventies
vault the net
It used to be a tradition in tennis for one player to jump ("vault") over the net to congratulate or console his/her opponent after a match.
This is a type of tournament in which each player plays every other player once, the winner being the person/team/etc. with the most wins. Compare this to a single-elimination tournament like the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
You can see examples here.
a French apparel company, known for producing Izod
from the Near East, particularly Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, or Israel, i.e., the Levant
a powder used to darken the eyelids
Rhett the Boston Terrier is the mascot of Boston University.
an excellent or desirable thing
the plural of "hiatus"
an health insurance company
felo de se
Latin for "felony against one's self," this is a term for suicide.
diligent or attentive
the largest vein in the neck
'Tenebrae Factae Sunt,' sotto v.
Latin for "There Was Darkness," Tenebrae Factae Sunt is a hymn traditionally sung on Good Friday, the day on which Jesus was crucified. "Sotto v." is shorthand for the Italian sotto voce, which means "in a low voice."
Given the noise they're making, Wallace is probably referring to cicadas.
Used here, it means an impulse that causes something to move.
The Salic Law was a legal code of medieval Central Europe. The phrase is sometimes used simply to refer to its best-known tenet: agnatic succession, or the inheritance of the throne only by male heirs.
another name for the plant disease known as canker
Political Action Committee
flowery in style
as pronounced in a Spanish word such as perro ("dog")
The French trilled r can be uvular (on the back of the tongue) or aveolar (front of the tongue, like the Spanish perro example).
'Politics and the English Language'
You can read Orwell's essay here.
Normally a military term, this would be a phalanx (from the Latin word for "fingers") or row of soldiers deployed for tactical purposes.
Militant Grammarians of Massachusetts
a nautical term for the device attached to a boat's rudder to assist in steering
a job requiring little or no work but that confers status/prestige
"...had a poster of Bill Tilden in his office..."
which implies that the coach was either gay (as was Tilden) or very old-fashioned, since Tilden's career was far in the past
This is more likely a comment on the coach being terribly out of date - Tilden was considered the world's best tennis player from 1920 - 1934. His sexuality likely does not matter, but he seems to be very attracted to Avril Incandenza (p. 286). (Also of interest is that Bill Tilden was inspiration for a character in Nabokov's Lolita, who was hired to coach the girl without worry that he would seduce her, since he was gay.)
here meaning "erratic"
here referring to the splitting of white light into a spectrum of color
having improperly aligned eyes
the bending or stretching of waves, assuming light is a wave and not a particle
drawn idle little sideways 8's
with his fingers or another body part or fluid??? was there a similar line in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men? a sideways eight is a symbol for infinity
Postcoital denotes after sexual intercourse. The flank would be the side of the body between the ribs and hip.
a word or phrase applied to a person, often derisively
This is not a real psychiatric disorder. Actaeon was a figure from Greek mythology who fell in love with the goddess of the hunt, Artemis, only to anger her and then be changed into a deer, which was then hunted unto death — all of which perhaps suggests an underlying reluctance in the men to pursue Joelle because she might pursue them in return.
regarding the evolution of an organism
A word coined by Wallace, it means gigantic, as Ascapart was a giant depicted in the fiction of, among other people, J.R.R. Tolkien.
elisions and apical lapses
Elisions are the droppings of phonemes from words. Apical refers to sounds made using the tip of the tongue; lapses would be absences of such sounds.
a little over thirteen feet.
arches on the outer borders of the eyes
high-definition, like a television
in a way that sharply affects the organs of sense
a perfume extracted from flowers
to extract the flavor of by boiling
characteristic of an uncle
squinty or improperly aligned eyes
probably a misspelling of "facsimile"
almost ten feet
the exiled Oklahoman football coach appears to combine "lolly-gag" and "molly-coddle"
the exiled Oklahoman coach here appears to mean "bona fide"
a smack to the back of the head, designed to get attention rather than inflict pain; distinct from more familiar "bitch-slap"
entrance or passage
denoting an anomaly in the bones
almost 400 pounds
These are the squads responsible in football for tactics that are neither offensive or defensive, e.g., returning kick-offs, kicking field goals or extra points, and, of course, punting.
femur to tarsus
The femur is the bone running from the hip to the knee — the largest bone in the body. The tarsi (plural of tarsus) are the bones of the foot. In between are the tibia and fibula — the bones of the lower leg — and the patella, or kneecap. All of these were apparently broken.
To carom is to strike and rebound; caromed is the past tense.
Central Nervous System
a French brand of cigarettes
Derived from Draco, the 7th century BC first lawgiver of Athens, the word means unusually harsh or severe.
State University of New York
a serve in tennis with so much spin that the ball bounces high and to the left (if right-handed) or right (if left-handed) of the receiver
Named for the Rockefeller family and nearby Rockefeller Center, the Rockettes are the Radio City Music Hall-based dancers famous for high kicks.
out of the ordinary course or nature
a curve; more precisely a conic section formed by cutting a cone with a plane, where the plane is parallel to a line running along the cone's side from the vertex (point) to the circular base; see right
plural for factotum, which is a word for a servant or assistant
something that kills plants
Technically speaking, this wouldn't rhyme with "puberty," because an umlaut over a "u" in German produces a high front rounded vowel (as in French tu "you") rather than the long /u/ phoneme.
kill it just by touching
When a player on the punter's team touches the ball while it is still in the field of play, the play is whistled "dead" and the opposing team takes possession at that point
Usually refers to a punt inside the opponent's 20 yard line that goes out of bounds and thus cannot be returned, as opposed to inside the 20-yard-line punts that remain in the field of play but are touched (killed) by a downfield runner
sponsorship or auspices; from the Greek for "shield"
having two sides
wide receiver's number
Punters are typically assigned a uniform with a number between 1 and 19, while wide receivers typically get a number in the 80s, though the NCAA has no hard and fast rules in this regard.
"...it was in its last season of representing an American university..."
Presumably under the constitution of O.N.A.N., Syracuse, N.Y., became part of Canada.
The "book" length of a punt is not the same as its physical distance. Hal kicked the "baptismal competitive punt" 90 yards in the air, but was only credited with a 40-yard punt. Because the line of scrimmage was Syracuse's 40, and Hal kicked the ball through the end zone, the punt is recorded as 40 yards (the distance from the line of scrimmage to the end zone). The ball would be placed at Syracuse's 20, so the "net" on the punt would only have been 20 yards.
The record for a punt in both college and professional football is 99 yards. Presumably in each instance the punting team had the ball at its own 1 yard line and the punt, through the air and then with fortuitous bounces, came to rest in the opponent's end zone. Orins's punt is said to have traveled 90 yards in the air, which is a bit beyond the outer limits of what even a top pro can do on his best kicks.
the Syracuse football team's name
having to do with the foot
United States Marine Corps
Rolling Thunder's big-bellied Berthas
Rolling Thunder was the bombing campaign on North Vietnam carried out by South Vietnam and the U.S. military between 1965 and 1968. A Bertha is probably just a really big gun, like the famous Big Bertha used by Germany during WWI. More likely Bertha is referring here to large bombs dropped during the Rolling Thunder campaign, though B52s capable of dropping really large bombs were used much more extensively later - in the escalation into Cambodia for example
a tuba developed by John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), American composer, for easier carrying with a marching band
freedom from entanglement
From the French for "head to head," this term denotes a private conversation between two people.
This must refer to the attendance for the game at Boston College's Alumni Stadium, which has a capacity of 44,500 (see page 293 for schedule). Nickerson Field at BU has a capacity of less than 10,000 people. BU also played at Rhode Island in Hal's first four weeks, but its field has a capacity of only 5,180.
pertaining to the fluid that surrounds a fetus in utero
Presumably Wallace means "like a cathedral," but this is not a real word. The proper word would be cathedrarian.
Ironically, in 1997 (a year after Infinite Jest was published), Boston University dropped its football program.
This is not a real bowl game, but the letters stand for Ken-L-Ration-Magnavox-Kemper-Insurance Forsythia Bowl.
three subway stops distant
East Cambridge is about ten green-line stops from BU.
faithfulness, here to a sports team
a type of climbing vine now prevalent in the U.S. South. It was introduced in the 30s and 40s and is now viewed as an invasive nuisance.
a breed of hunting dog
a brand name of heat-resistant glass
turn blue litmus paper red
presumably something highly acidic
as opposed to star-crossed, i.e., predestined for disaster, as Romeo and Juliet
Also called "rushes," these are the pieces of raw film recorded during a single day, including cuts, takes, prints, etc.
implying that Orin's neck is covered entirely but visible, as with a turtleneck sweater
carrying a person over one's shoulder
Dixie Baton-Twirling Institute in Oxford MS
Wallace has taken this idea from a short story "Twirling at Ole Miss" by Terry Southern. Oxford, Miss., is the home of "Ole Miss," i.e., the University of Mississippi and is about 60 miles southeast of Memphis, Tenn.
one of the muscles in front of the thigh
having to do with acting
the initials of several telecommunications and television companies
a company that produces high-technology optics devices
an indication of the amount of digital memory used
This is Orin's jersey number — why he didn't get a changed number is uncertain, as is why it said he had gotten a receiver's number. A number in the 70s would be an offensive or defensive lineman — someone unlikely to have contact with the ball.
This is shorthand for a matte shot, which is "a shot in which parts of the background and sometimes the foreground are masked so that a different background, foreground, image, etc., can be substituted during printing" (Random House Unabridged Dictionary).
This is "an adjustable resistor so constructed that its resistance may be changed without opening the circuit in which it is connected, thereby controlling the current in the circuit" (Random House Unabridged Dictionary).
a brand name of home popping corn
revolutions per minute
a local nickname for Storrow Drive in Boston
a heavy padded cover for a camera to reduce the amount of noise from the camera's moving parts getting onto the soundtrack
Pilotone is an old brand of film equipment, and a blooper is, according to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, "a receiving set that generates from its antenna radio-frequency signals that interfere with other nearby receivers."
a Wallace neologism based on "aura" (sound) and "copia" (plenty) and based on cornucopia (horn of plenty)
The Yankee Conference, by the way, ceased to exist in 1997.
U. Vermont and UNH now history
This implies that Vermont and New Hampshire were also annexed to Canada. However, the University of Vermont had not been in the conference since 1974.
with both hands and both feet on the ground
to blow hard and loudly
to break or crush; Wallace might also mean to ward off or keep away, but the more commmon phrase for that is "stave off".
the scrimmage line, i.e., where the offense currently has the ball
a bright noncontact white
Orin's helmet is white because he hasn't been tackled.
pendular 180-arc of Orin's leg
meaning Orin's leg moves the full length of half a circle around the center that is his hip, in a motion similar to that of a pendulum
pertaining to the buttocks
November 14th, YDAU - Poor Tony Goes Cold Turkey
Armenian Foundation Library in horrid central Watertown MA
This is probably the same as the Armenian Library and Museum of America. Watertown is a suburb of Boston nine miles west of the city, and it has a very large Armenian population.
Equus is Latin for "horse."
You can see one here.
to obtain by begging
French for "against you"
Latin: not welcome
Etienne Aigner is a designer of women's handbags & leather goods.
homosexual prostitution - trading sexual activity for money or drugs, frequently associated with violence FreeDictionary
a city in Massachusetts about 25 miles south of Boston
a section of Boston named for a colonial-era fort of the same name
This disease had been identified the same year that Wallace published Infinite Jest. It's unclear whether he was aware of this.
to use enough heroin to stave off withdrawal
Tony is carrying his auburn wig and red leather coat in a shopping bag.
The Old Cold Bird
a variation on cold turkey
a little over 110 pounds
color of summer squash
The colors of summer squashes vary, but Wallace probably is implying that Poor Tony looks yellow.
alternate spelling of stye
hair tied into a knot worn at the back of the head, similar to a bun.
troughs and nodes
deep furrows and swollen areas, respectively
more likely: lows and data points or vertices between changes in symptoms.
misspelling of habiliments, i.e., clothing
pale in color
suffering from nervous exhaustion (with no apparent physical cause)
a person suffering from gender identity disorder
the Jewish ritual of mourning for seven days, tearing one's clothes, sitting on the floor, covering mirrors, etc.
412 Mount Auburn Street
This is a real address in Watertown. You can see the house here. It doesn't look like a residence. [Google street view suggests otherwise?]
a brand name of cough syrup
regular old morphine, which has the chemical composition C17H19NO3
a department store in Boston
pride to a fault
flows of events
a woman's undergarment consisting of a strapless bra and short corset
apparently a misspelling of Amalfi, a brand of shoes
a little over 99 pounds
German: convulsion, jerk or twitch
a drinking glass having a rough surface
pertaining to a son or daughter
Mount Auburn Cemetery
the first landscaped cemetery in the U.S.
Armenian Foundation Library
British colloquialism for toilet
with a methyl group (CH3) removed. Technically, this is incorrect; to go from codeine (C18H21NO3) to morphine (C17H19NO3) requires the removal of a methylene group (CH2). The accurate term would be "demethylenated."
deceptive in speech
moving like ants
the compound that makes urine yellow
a large beast
pertaining to the spaces between brain cells
40 percent alcohol
to serve as an omen
out of place
of or relating to childbirth
blimps or zeppelins (airships)
Red Sox of Rice and Lynn
Jim Rice (1974-1989) and Fred Lynn (1974-1980) both played in the 1975 World Series.
a crisp, smooth, woven fabric, often made from silk, used in gowns
caught with a very large hook
strips of decorative material