Pages 736-755

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Joelle Cleans Her Room

Page 736

Brookline Young People's (a previously mentioned AA group)

YYY tapes
apparently recordings of radio-station WYYY broadcasts

Page 737

apparently a childhood nickname for Joelle

fifth wall
The "fourth wall" is a term used in theater to describe the imaginary wall that separates the stage from the audience. The "fifth wall" could be an extrapolation of this concept, meaning a wall separating an actor from a critic, or separating two people sharing the same experience notably when viewing projected or broadcasted media. Or possibly simply a reference to the fact that rooms tend not to have fifth walls, meaning that his face was never there.

Page 738

a Japanese-style pallet or mattress that can be folded into a sofa or open like a bed; many futons have adjustable frames, but some simply fold up along a wall for seating until unfolded when needed for sleeping

taking place in utero

Here, Joelle means little wads of paper resulting from worrying the wet tissue. There is another use of greeble, but she is not referring here to background treatments for films. The "little bits of sleepy goo you got in your eyes' corners" (two paragraphs following) are the thin mucous discharges ('eye boogers') known as rheum.

having a very low voice

Page 739

a brand of sanitary pads

Chore-type supplies
e.g., stainless-steel or copper scouring pads now branded as Chore Boy, after some years as Chore Girl; ironically, the pads are often used in homemade crack-cocaine pipes (see note for page 222)

talking batons and low-pH chemistry
batons presumably in encouragement of Joelle's amateur career as a twirler and low-pH chemistry (the chemistry of acids) because of his work for the Dyne-Riney Proton Donor Reagent Corporation

dislike or hatred

Page 740

Adult female brown marmorated stink bug

rancid-cinnamon smell
possibly the odor of the stink bug (see right); ironically, cinnamon itself can be used to dispel rancid odors; or, more likely, at least a way of covering up the odor of drugs, see, e.g., footnote 324, page 1067, where Permulis uses cayenne pepper to a similar purpose.

body of work

Job-like protagonist
referring to the title character in the Old Testament book

Sitting Duck.jpg

a carnival attraction (see right) in which the participant pays to hurl one or more balls at a target that, if hit, will trigger a mechanism that unseats a victim into a receptacle of water

directed inward

Page 741



a brand of pure grain alcohol

young pigs

members of a booster club

high school

a brand name of insect repellent

Page 742

Vittorio's Bernini Room
possibly a meeting room in the NH Vittorio Veneto hotel in Rome; or it may refer to the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria [note the different spelling] in Rome, where Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa resides. Given the book's repeated allusions to the Bernini sculpture, probably the latter.

i.e., a red herring—a distraction

Page 743

Legal Seafood up in Brookline
Legal Sea Foods, a chain that got its start in Inman Square, has a restaurant at 43 Boylston St., at the border of Brookline and within five miles of ETA.

Endnote 309

an innkeeper

Page 743 (cont'd)

a family of fish including sea basses

Page 744

pushing something forward without invitation


A sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves toward another

Albertan champagne
an oxymoron — champagne comes only from the Champagne region of France

Page 745

Edward Montgomery Clift (1920-1966) was an American actor.

two meters
about 6.6 feet

Heliotrope Plant

flowering plants of the genus heliotropium (sample at right), so-named because their blossoms turn toward the sun

From the International System of Units (SI): The candela is the luminous intensity, in a given direction, of a source that emits monochromatic radiation of frequency 540×1012 hertz and that has a radiant intensity in that direction of 1/683 watt per steradian (whatever that means).

freezing point of platinum
If the melting point of platinum is 3214.9 ° F, then at any temperature below this, it will be solid, i.e., frozen.

André Bazin (1918– 1958) was an influential French film critic and film theorist.

ascribing to the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the main currents of the non-conformist movement in France in the 1930s, the personalistes school's main organ was Emmanuel Mounier's jouranl Esprit, in which Bazin published film criticism. The aesthetic theory of the personalistes was formulated by Jacques Maritain. For a discussion of Bazin's relation to Mounier see this article.

Carl Edward Sagan (1934-1996) was an American astronomer and host of a television show called Cosmos.

in speech, the elision of one of two consecutive, identical syllables, e.g., "probly" for "probably" (see the Wikipedia entry for further examples, including "haplogy," the kind of in-joke that philologists enjoy)

Page 746

'the vapors'
a euphemism for hysteria

Spielberg's old computer-enhanced celluloid dinosaur things
Steven Spielberg directed "Jurassic Park" (1993) and its sequel "The Lost World" (1997); it's unclear, of course, whether Wallace could have anticipated "Jurassic Park III" (2001), for which Spielberg was executive producer. (He is taking the same role on "Jurassic Park IV," announced for 2014.)

Page 747

a coffee-flavored liqueur

a thick milk pudding

usually spelled chicory, is used as a coffee substitute or additive in some places

a bodily organ that plays a role in immune function

Marathe at Ennet House, cont.

Page 747

a subordinate

"He had the great fatigue..."
A less literal translation would be: "He was very tired..."

Page 748

" smack, to scag, and to H..."
all the same thing, being street names for heroin

Page 749

bolt of death
i.e., a deadbolt lock

Chit Chat Farms
This is a real detox in Wernersville, Pa., about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Page 750

a French preposition meaning "at the home of"

Page 751

French: How do you say?

45 kph
almost 28 miles per hour

Caisse de Dépôt et Placement
French: Fund for Registration and Placement

Joelle Continues to Clean

Page 751

Just like when Joelle referred to CA newcomers as "catexic" on pg 707, there's no word "katexia" in any American dictionary, although Freud used "katexis" to refer to the process by means of which libido energy is tied or placed into the mental representation of a personality, idea, or thing." What would make more sense in context is cachexia, the weight loss and muscle atrophy caused by some chronic diseases.

Page 752

Feeling Good
One of the key books on cognitive therapy for depression by David D. Burns, M.D., an American psychiatrist.

Marathe's Intake, cont.

Page 752

to speak readily

French: Monsieur/Mademoiselle, i.e., Mr./Ms., used because of Steeply's disguise

refers to restenosis, or the re-narrowing of blood vessels after initial stenosis

Page 753


manche à balai
French: broom handle

French: crazy singer

here meaning simply "calculation"

The name is perhaps taken from Philip Lopate (born 1943), an American film critic.

pierced through

Page 754

Endnote 315


Page 755

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