I get the sense that people are chomping at the bit to get going on this thing, which is well and good. I would just remind everyone that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and to be on guard against irrational exuberance.

It’s not against the rules to get a little head start, just beware of getting too far ahead, because then things get all out of sync and we lose our precious Unit Cohesion. If you’re looking for something to occupy your mind between now and Friday, might I suggest a David Foster Wallace essay about tennis, which I am led to believe will play an important part in Infinite Jest?

If you should happen to have access to a copy of Wallace’s book of essays A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, you will find the piece in question there under the sublimely ponderous title “Tennis Player Michael Joyce’s Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness.” If not, this here is a link to the original version of the essay, which was published in Esquire under the comparatively dull title “The String Theory.”

I believe that the book version is an expanded version of the magazine article, including more about Wallace’s personal connection to the game (“As an adolescent, Wallace was a regionally ranked junior tennis player,” says The Wikipedia). But even the shorter version is plenty long enough to keep us distracted for a few days, I should think.