Difference between revisions of "Pages 283-306"

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'''90-yard punt'''<br />
'''90-yard punt'''<br />
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.  Hal'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 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.
'''Orangemen'''<br />
'''Orangemen'''<br />

Revision as of 05:25, 30 September 2013

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!

☽ - Orin and Joelle

Page 283

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.

Johnny Gentle
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)

Endnote 94

German: female romantic companion (rather, "significant other" or "longtime companion")

Page 284

Palmer Academy
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

Advanced Placement

French for "Croat" (Croatian) but probably just a misspelling, OR indicative that the magazine is a French-Québecois publication

Endnote 95

post-Windows DOS
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.

Page 285

an incentive

A reference to Dodge City, Kansas, to "get out of Dodge" is to disappear because of some kind of perceived or real threat.

Endnote 96

Fredericton, N.B.
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.

Page 286

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"

Blue Cross
an health insurance company

felo de se
Latin for "felony against one's self," this is a term for suicide.


diligent or attentive

Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar

Page 287

Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland

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."

Page 288

Given the noise they're making, Wallace is probably referring to cicadas.

Used here, it means an impulse that causes something to move.

Salic law
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

trilled r's
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.

Tactical Phalanx
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

Page 289

"...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

Obsessive-Compulsive Disoder

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 flanks
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

Page 290

Actaeon Complex
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.

four meters
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

Page 291

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"

bona fried
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

Special Teams
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.

Page 292

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.

Page 293

State University of New York

kick serve
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

Page 294

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

coffin-corner kicks
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

Special Teams

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.

90-yard punt
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

Page 295

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.

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

Page 296

Presumably Wallace means "like a cathedral," but this is not a real word. The proper word would be cathedrarian.

Yankee Conference
Ironically, in 1997 (a year after Infinite Jest was published), Boston University dropped its football program.

K-L-RMKI/Forsythia Bowl
This is not a real bowl game, but the letters stand for Ken-L-Ration-Magnavox-Kemper-Insurance Forsythia Bowl.

faithfulness, here to a sports team

four-wheel-drive vehicle

a type of climbing vine indigenous to the U.S. South

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

Page 297

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.

overgrown anatomically

one of the muscles in front of the thigh

Physical Therapists

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).

aspect or appearance

Page 298

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).

Jiffy Pop
a brand name of home popping corn


revolutions per minute

Storrow 500
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 blooper
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.

four-point stances
with both hands and both feet on the ground

to blow hard and loudly

to break or crush

the scrimmage line, i.e., where the offense currently has the ball

Page 299

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

Page 299

Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment

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.

Page 300

Equus Reese
Equus is Latin for "horse."

Donegal cap
You can see one here.

to obtain by begging

French for "against you"


non grata
Latin: not welcome

Aigner accessory
Etienne Aigner is a designer of women's handbags & leather goods.

obtain drugs

homosexual prostitution - trading sexual activity for money or drugs, frequently associated with violence FreeDictionary

a city in Massachusetts about 25 miles south of Boston


Fort Point
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

fifty kilos
a little over 110 pounds

Page 301

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.

Year of the Whopper

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?]

Page 302

Codinex Plus
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

Page 303

Merry Widow
a woman's undergarment consisting of a strapless bra and short corset

apparently a misspelling of Amalfi, a brand of shoes

45 kg
a little over 99 pounds

German: convulsion, jerk or twitch

pebbled glass
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."

Page 304

deceptive in speech

without luck

moving like ants

the compound that makes urine yellow

a large beast

pertaining to the spaces between brain cells

dried out

40 percent alcohol

to serve as an omen

Page 305

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

gaffed fish
caught with a very large hook

strips of decorative material

Page 306

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