26 Days of Jest: Day 4

Hey-ho, shit in your wig! It’s day 4 of the 26 Days of Jest reading challenge. Let’s start with a quick roundup of what I remember from days 1-3. Hal, Mario and Orin are brothers, their tennis-playing, math-loving; film-making dad is dead and their “Moms” is floating around vaguely idk. Their uncle CT is a Tobias Fünke in my head and everyone is obsessed with sports and TV (called TP?? in the book). Also there’s loads of cross-dressing, smoking weed, and extra large body parts. A mysterious video “The Entertainment” has killed a bunch of people just from the sheer power of BEING WATCHED and it may or may not have been made by Hal’s Dad, James. There’s apparently an antidote: The Anti Entertainment. Canada and America are in a weird political stand-off and their leaders Rod “The God” (America) and Luria (Canada) are also boning. Ok now I’m finished being the narrator from Jane the Virgin. Let’s go! 

– Page 137. It should be noted that Hal and his brother have very weird telephone conversations. (Couldn’t resist, I’ll stop)

– Page 138. We’re at Ennet House, a drug and alcohol recovery centre founded by A Nonymous, very briefly, and then half of a letter about an insurance claim from a guy working on a building site. 

– Page 142. Whilst we are still wondering what the previous scenes were all about, we are thrust into an essay by Hal which compares the heros of Hawaii 5-0 and Hill Street Blues. A hero versus a post modern hero. Action versus reaction. And then an article from Steeply (yes, from Steeply and Marathe) in which we learn that she will, after this article, write a sports feature on Orin. In this article however, she writes about a woman having her purse snatched, seemingly by Poor Tony before he ate cheese. “Stop her! She stole my heart!”

– Page 151. A too-long sequence about video communication and its drawbacks, but it does have amazingly prescient ideas about self perception in a digital world. The masks/tableaux = filters and FaceTune. Maybe even animated avatars. Cool. 

– Page 153. A brisk trade is going on at the Tennis academy, a trade in pure piss. We also learn that Mario is a film maker, influenced by his father James. 

– Page 155. Nothing worth noting except the word “erumpent”, which charmed me, and which I have since discovered has been appropriated by JK Rowling. Boo. 

– Page 157. A profile of Michael Pemulis, drug dealer and piss-seller extraordinaire. Seems to have befriended Mario.

– Page 159. Some creepy Dad (first person) waxing lyrical to his son Jim about (in order) garage doors, Marlon Brando, tennis and cars. There’s a lot of physical sensuality to his speech which is not entirely appropriate for a father-son chat. 

– Page 162. Is he trying to get the kid drunk? And inducing him to drive a car? He’s ten, btw. 

– Page 164. Jesus this dude is bitter. Doesn’t like his wife or son much. His Dad didn’t give him much attention. Who is he meant to be anyway? The kid is called Jim, so could it be James Incandenza?

– Page 165. Ah yes! The name Incandenza is mentioned. 

– Page 168. “I’m so scared of dying without ever being really seen.” This is quite a monologue. So James’ Dad was a disappointed, maimed drunkard, unable to play tennis after an injury, an injury sustained whilst discovering just how disappointed his own father was in his tennis playing. So he seems to be pushing his own son (James) to play in his stead. 

Interesting! That’s all for today, stay tuned for another exciting episode etc ciao 

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