infinite comedy’s finitude

There’s a passage in Infinite Jest where one of the characters imagines everything he’ll ever eat in the future, and the incalculability of this projection (or perhaps the frightening calculability of it) fills him with existential dread. Now, I might be screwing up the details here – in fact, I’m not even sure it happens in this story – and even though the book is only a few paces away from where I’m typing this, blogs grant me a pleasant laziness that doesn’t require me to get anything right.

Regardless of where this character I’m relating to comes from, this morning produced a moment which reanimated that empathetic bridge. I used to experience the anxiety with food too, where I would imagine every meal I would ever have and then I would just feel…sad (which was probably a pretty serious body image problem or food disorder, but fortunately that doesn’t happen anymore). This time it was exercise. As I was holding weights and performing a squat/deadlift combo, I suddenly paused and experienced myself performing this Sisyphean routine forever (which…how does my mind even do that? or how do I feel so viscerally that which isn’t possible?). I wondered, will I be doing this same exercise when I’m 40? 50? 60? You get the picture. Somehow, I persisted, and I didn’t give it further thought.

I’m not sure what settled me down and allowed me to finish the workout, but I’m reaching this conclusion for now: everything we do is infinitely comical, and we are silly to mistake any of it for tragedy.

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