Thursday, August 16, 2012
Soft Shell Crab
I wish that I could have saved David Foster Wallace. I wish I could have stopped him before he killed himself, said, no, David, and have him walk away. I wish I could have had him over for dinner, taken him to lunch, done a culinary tour with him, have him consider the soft shell crab. The crustacean in between stages, shell-less and vulnerable to the world’s ravaging. We could have fried peeler sandwiches and he would go off on a tangent about you’ve never seen something so incestuous as a college level science fiction writing workshop. It’s like walking into a sci-fi convention and being graded, he would say, and you’re the only one not in costume and are thus sitting on the outside, the outsider ripe for devouring. I would nod, agreeing from my own life experiences, ripping off a bite of bread and crunchy legs. Sometimes, though, you must be willing to lose your shell and just be naked, I might add, and just be there, exposed. I could see him nodding his head, understanding but not fully absorbing, already knowing but not comfortable. Soon, our sandwiches would be done and we’d go our separate ways. Back to our homes. Climb back into your shell, David. Maybe just maybe.