A Tentative Anthology on the Pretentious Intellectual Male™ Experience

March 15, 2017

He brings me to a secluded café on the edge of campus. Inside, everything is made of wood. Everything here seems to be on the precipice of something amazing… It’s the possibility of it all that really catches my breath.

I inhale the smell of coffee and sigh. “You’ve really found yourself a gem here,” I say.

He nods, not saying anything. He doesn’t have to. With a faraway look in his eyes that dream of better days, he flips his hair.

I begin, “So, can we—“

He cuts me off with a swipe of his hand. “Not yet,” he says, still not looking me in the eyes. He sips his cappuccino. “I’m in the middle of a thought about the influence of Kantian aesthetics in Infinite Jest. It cannot be disturbed.”

I nod. Of course, he’s so right. What a fool I am. A silly fool.

He bends down and unzips his backpack and pulls out a big blue book. “What is that?” I ask. I am completely befuddled. What could such a big, such a blue, book be? It sure is big. And it sure is blue.

He scoffs. “This?” he asks.

I nod. I’m very excited for him to explain this big blue book to me. I wish he would explain everything to me.

“This is Infinite Jest.” He shows me the cover. It says, Infinite Jest. 

“Well,” I say, “It sure is big. And blue.”

He nods contemplatively. “Yes, it is quite big I suppose. It’s taken me two months just to get halfway through it. But it’s worth it.”

“Oh. Maybe I should read it if it’s that good.” I throw the idea out there on a whim.

He shakes his head. “Most people can’t get through it. It’s too big. Too complicated. Too… blue.”

I nod. Once again, he is right.

He makes some note in the margin and then turns to me. “Why are we here again?”

I shake my head and get my thoughts back on track. “Would it be all right if I asked you a few questions?”

He shrugs. “I suppose.”

“Great!” I smile. “So, how did you,” I gesture to him, “create this?”

“My aesthetic?” He asks. I don’t respond, but he continues anyway. “It’s not something I did consciously and it’s not something I can think about. It just happens.”

“Could you—” Oh goodness I’m so nervous. “Could you teach me?”

He laughs. “Oh, it’s not something that can be taught.”

I nod. Of course.

He looks at his watch. “Oh, I have to go.”

“What? But you said the interview would be at 3 o’clock. You got here at 4. It’s only been fifteen minutes.” I am in shock. I don’t understand.

“Well that’s the key, isn’t it?” He shoulders his backpack, stands, and leaves.

To be continued…

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