David Foster Wallace was a prophet

man attempts to scale Trump tower in nyc, august 10, 2016:
Photo courtesy of ABC News

Photo courtesy of ABC News

Excerpts from the David Foster Wallace short story “Mister Squishy,” published in 2000:

"The figure that began its free climb up the building's steadily increscent north facet just before 11:00AM was outfitted in tight windproof Lycra leggings and a snug hooded GoreTex sweatshirt w/ fiber-lined hood up and tied tight in what appeared to be mountaineering or rock-climbing boots except that instead of crampons or spikes there were suction cups lining the instep of each boot. Attached to both palms and wrists' insides were single suction cups the size of a plumber's helper; the cups' color was the same shrill orange as hunting jackets and road crews' hardhats...

The figure presented as lithe and expert. His manner of climbing appeared almost more reptilian than mammalian, you'd have to say. He was halfway up the window of a management consulting firm on the fifth floor when a small crowd of passerby began to gather on the sidewalk below. 

A man who had at one time driven an airport shuttle bus opined that the figure on the ledge looked to be purposely idling, timing out his ascent to conform to some schedule; the child attached to the hand of the woman he said this to looked briefly over at him with his face still upturned. Anyone looking down would have seen a shifting collection of several dozen watching faces with bodies so foreshortened as to be mere suggestions only." 

Matt GrantComment