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Wednesday, June 9, 2004

David Foster Wallace and Gromit

Michael Ward

D.F.W. & Gromit

Gromit sits in an old armchair knitting a scarf with a bone pattern on it.

David Foster Wallace sits in a second old armchair reading the Evening Post, ironically. His facial expression can best be described as ‘withering neutrality.’ Quaint-sounding music is tinkling out of a quaint-looking radio in a not un-quaint sort of way.

D.F.W.: And but so I think I’ll go get some cheese, Gromit.


Gromit raises eyebrows as if to say, “Oh, will you?”

D.F.W.: Yes, indeed, Gromit. It’s time for cheese. And not cheese in, like, the capital-C Cheese kind—the kind that you’d expect to find in some farcically smelling fromagerie on the left bank of the Seine about two clicks east of the Sorbonne on a rainy Sunday that seems to encapsulate the entire history of French intellectualism [sic] —but more of like some good old-fashioned American über-processed cheddar that is almost less cheese than just plain representation of the entire super-structure of American culture.


Gromit lowers one eyebrow as if to say, “I understand your unnecessarily esoteric point, and I hope you’ll bring me some of this cheese.”

D. F. Wallace clumsily exits the room and enters the kitchen, walking almost how one would expect a loose glob of protoplasm, or even simple clay, to walk, if one were inclined to think about such things.


Gromit blinks several times while continuing to knit.

D. F. Wallace returns to the living room, stopping in the doorframe.

D.F.W.: Gromit, we have no cheese! Is this really a state of affairs, i.e., that is, cheeselessness, that we want to continue in our refrigerator, and but when there’s a pantry full of crackers of varying sorts (e.g., for example, Ritz, Melba Toast, Wheat Thins, Saltines, Oyster Crackers, Stoned Wheat Thins, as well as, maybe, circa a half dozen-ish other assorted generic brands of crackers)?


Gromit raises other eyebrow as if to say, “I am impressed by your ability to use redundant forms of speech in an attempt to sound hiply colloquial, as well as your ability to enumerate unnecessarily long lists of items, and I agree that we should go get some cheese.”

D. F. Wallace puts on a British-looking cap in a manner that might or might not be construed as deeply ironic, grabs his wallet, and heads for the door.

Gromit puts down needles and follows D.F. Wallace to door.

D.F.W.: Gromit, it’s raining. Raining, and with the rain coming down hard enough such that the arcs of the droplets of good old double-H, single-O are derivable from a parabolic function that, if someone had actually computed it out properly, and if that someone also happened to be one of the world’s few experts in the entirely-too-undeveloped field of Mathematical Athletic Analysis, would prove mind-bendingly close to the same function used to map out an above-average topspin lob down the baseline. And but perhaps we should wait until this rain’s poured itself out.


Gromit furrows both eyebrows as if to say, “I was beginning to get worried you would not make your obligatory references to math and tennis, and I agree that it is not worth facing this merely for cheese.”

D.F.W.: Yes, Gromit. The cheese will wait. Cheese, after all, is an extraordinarily patient comestible.

D.F. Wallace closes door, takes off possibly-ironic cap, returns to reading in old armchair.

Gromit returns to knitting.



D.F.W.: And but so I guess it’s about time for bed for me, Gromit. Think I’ll just go and fire up the old toothbrush and gant de toilette and then call it a night. Strangely, this whole day has had an odd ‘Yo no se que’ feel to it. Yet despite my pangs of saudade for the un-procured cheese, it’s been an overall-good-ish, tempus fugit-y kind of day. Anyway, goodnight.

Gromit furrows both eyebrows deeply as if to say, “I am totally unimpressed by your extraneous use of foreign words and phrases that you never bother translating, and goodnight.”

The End.

Michael Ward is a product of deepest, darkest suburban Boston and a smallish liberal arts college. Among other things, he has accidentally walked into a Backstreet Boys concert in Brazil, won an umbrella by besting the citizens of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in a battle of wits, and learned the hard way that ATA and AirTran Airways are not, in fact, the same airline. His garlic guacamole is divine. He is, above all else, a pragmatist.