Parody Comp WINNERS!

Marshall Boswell and I are proud to annouce the two winners of the book, Understanding David Foster Wallace, and the two honorable mentions for this amazing comp.

The best thing is that we agreed 100% on these entries.


Charlie Lafontaine and George Carr
(The Howling Fantods will be in touch soon regarding delivery of prizes)


Marie M. and Matt Keeley

...and now a word from Marshall Boswell...

These parodies were tremendous fun, and were beastly difficult to judge. Each one had much to recommend it, and I laughed out loud at least five times, reading through these. In picking the two winners, I wanted to honor one that captured Wallace’s third-person narrative voice, and one that paid homage to his extraordinary gift for dramatic monologue. The two winners, then, are George Carr and Charlie Lafontaine. George Carr’s piece had me with the second footnote, which reads “Involving what X later discovered were his father’s decryption and analysis of WW2-era Enigma messages, in search for clues of homoerotic subtexts in U-boat-maneuver commands,” which sentence fragment made me wonder if DFW didn’t actually enter the contest under a pseudonym, while Charlie LaFontaine’s piece won me over with the bit about the passenger seat being littered with “old newspapers and notes, paper napkins still all crisp and folded up and like hermetically sealed with the plastic knives and sporks with which they’ll forever serve a mummified life inside a cellophane packaging what will never through all eternity biodegrade,” which passage really tickled me not only because it’s funny in a DFW sort of way but also because there’s all this stuff in my book about Wallace’s preoccupation with images of enclosure, so it also seemed sort of lit-critically insightful, that image. But then Marie M’s “Brief Interview” parody knocked me out as well, so she gets a hearty honorable mention, as does Matt Keeley’s footnote extravaganza. All of them rocked. Much thanks to everyone on the site for your interest and enthusiasm, and if anyone out there has any questions or complaints, don’t hesitate to zap me an email at
Marshall Boswell

Winners below, finalists here
  • Winner: Charlie Lafontaine
    'And but no but oh so hear me out. There is this pothole in the gutter at the end of my drive that is like well it started as a pothole but now is more like a moat but first things first. I drive a little Geo hatchback that was maybe last deemed neoteric and/or cool back when Bush the pater still held the helm but nowadays is way far below blue book and so in need of body work that a hole just aft of the wheelbase on the passenger side's door panel's corroded in the shape of a longitudinally flip-flopped mirror image of Florida and also because of wherein an ex-girlfriend agitated said hole with an aluminum softball bat* has expanded and recently breached the inside. And because of all that is why I now prefer to call this region of my car's topography the Geo's Bizzaro Bermuda Triangle, or -- to use the familiar -- the GeBBeT. By the way, please bear in mind that solitude over time has given me cause to utilize the car's passenger portion more as a trash receptacle than for its intended purpose, and as a result it's most times cluttered with old newspapers and notes, paper napkins still all crisp and folded up and like hermetically sealed with the plastic knives and sporks with which they'll forever serve a mummified life inside a cellophane packaging what will never throughout all eternity biodegrade, empty Dr. Pepper cans, a couple oil-stained doo-rags I use in the wintertime to wipe the windshield when the windows fog up because the DEFROST no longer functions, a host of empty McDonald's columnar fry-boxes, and a bunch of other garbage and junk. I should like to add on top of this that the fleece-ish foam upholstery lining the interior roof dome has peeled away and sags in a bulge that rests curiously atop my noggin as I drive, which is maybe neither here nor there w/r/t what I'm explaining here but definitely obstructs my peripheral vision a tad is what I'm trying to say.'
    'Anyway but yeah so the other day as I was pulling into the drive, the car hit the moat and bottomed out, I splashed all over my lap and seat the Dr. Pepper from the supersized promo Finding Nemo tie-in to McDonalds' 32-oz. fountain cup beverage I'd had held between my thighs, and now something in the Geo "knocks," which the mechanic at Sears says is a busted CV-joint and will cost $350 to fix. So but that's how I lost your lost grandmother's antique thingamajog.'
    'To the GeBBeT.'
    'Pretty much, yeah.'

    * Long story, don't ask.
  • Winner: George Carr
    X's cruise up the driveway soon brought him into view of a black Mercedes 560E. He immediately recalled the anonymous Mercedes 280S that had patrolled his childhood neighborhood, with an incongruous car-hop restaurant tray hanging outside the driver's window, which was occasionally stained with red* marks, the tray. Simultaneously, he flashed back to his own personal First Mercedes, a hapless 220D whose rancorous or perhaps downright combative attitude w/r/t cold weather had turned him away from his father's whole genus of German automotive preference and into a convolved relationship with American autos, often prompting quiet, dust-mote-contemplating afternoons in his own adult reading room, contemplating his inherited patriotism and wondering whether his father's early military subcontract for The RAND Corporation (TM)** had contributed to his eventual dislike for foreign autos.

    After parking the Cutlass, X studied the 560E for signs of his ex-wife, whom he was certain was interested in staking a claim for entitlement to the rose bushes based on his alleged lack of attention and careful parenting. After scenting Drakkar Noir on the seat-leather, X decided it more likely belonged to his chauffeur's daytime lover, whose passion for inexpensive vintage perfume was exceeded only by her desire for post-orgasmic study of the books in his reading room, which study he had discovered only coincidentally, after pulling down his well-worn copy of Lautmann's Sexual Politics in a Fascist State, only to find dried sexual excretions still on the book's spine, which excretions smelled nothing like his ex-wife's.

    *whole long, quiet evenings in his parents' leather-book-lined study having been given over to wondering whether said red stain was closer to the color of dried blood or of dried Hire's Steak-'n'Shake French-fry ketchup.

    **involving what X later discovered were his father's decryption and analysis of WW2-era Enigma messages, in search for clues of homoerotic subtexts in U-boat-maneuver commands, the results of which decryption provided, along with numerous RAND subscontracts, several pseudonymously-written monographs for obscure journals, usually involving either Reich sexuality and/or methods of applying cryptographic techniques to deciphering the semiotic codes of 20th-century sexual communication, which it even later turned out that X's father had written a whole book-length manuscript about, but which his father's third wife had shredded and burned after discovering its discussion of the exact mode of flirtation and communication X's father had used to seduce both her and her teenage son.

  • Honorable Mention: Marie M.
    The Y-shaped Styles of Certain Flowers

    So. There are two people on a date and they're eating dinner, and the guy is telling this long involved story about another guy who was having some difficulties and was diagnosed as having some sort of quote-unquote syndrome, some long german word, meaning extreme psychic pain and existential angst which could only be cured by becoming a rock star or a religious zealot. Meanwhile the woman's thinking about all the things she could be doing, like working out on the stairmaster and reading Time, or going to Brookstone and playing with the Max massager, and there is some embarrassed dialog in her head vis-a-vis wanting the Max but not wanting people to see it in her house and also not wanting it near her genitals as it is not that kind of massager. And also Mogu.


    It's this weird pillow thing Brookstone sells that has the density of a old cat and none of the charm. And so this polemic is set up about choices, one being extreme indulgence, as in rock star, or the extreme aceticism of religious zealotry, but maybe I should change that to some form of monkhood, and her choice in being at dinner with this guy whom she describes as being all right but a little fey in that he wears capezio jazz shoes from the 80s and is slightly balding, although who is she to talk, she had a double chin which she refers to as soft and Liz Taylor-like.


    Well, she is dialoging with herself, date v. stairmaster, and the angsty guy is also dialoging in his own head about rock stardom v. monkhood. And but so the date guy is going on with the story, which becomes an urban legend involving the angsty guy with the choices. The urban legend is this: there is a short in his car, the dash and headlights go out, he replaces a blown fuse with a bullet. He carries a gun because he's angsty. And so her internal dialog continues while he tells the story, which ends when angsty guy turns his car into the driveway or rather pulls it in, and the bullet he's used to replace the fuse fires and shoots him in the testicle. And date-guy goes, quote-unquote Rock star dreams! Gone! And, still thinking about Max and Mogu, she says "Decision made. Then welcome."

  • Homorable Mention: Matt Keeley
    The[1] car[2] pulled[3] up[4] into[5] the[6] driveway.[7] Daniel[8] locked[9] up,[10] and[11] went[12] inside.[13]


    [1] Since the reader hasn't yet been acquainted with this particular car, perhaps she would prefer the indefinite article be used instead.[a]
    [a] Even though it's obvious the car is definite-article-worthy, otherwise she (i.e. the reader) wouldn't be reading about it.

    [2] A blue 2002 Acura RSX. Though Daniel[a] often wished he bought what he had always heard called a 'Weego'[b] a/k/a 'driver's ed car' with two sets of controls (i.e. pedals, steering columns, &c.). Not because he was teaching driving or was even a bad driver, but because he always thought they looked wicked.[c]
    [a] The driver-slash-owner.
    [b] (or perhaps 'We-Go')
    [c] The only other fantasy Daniel has w/r/t cars: the DeLorean, mainly for the stupid jokes he can make about going back in time when he hits 85[i] m.p.h.
    [i] [sic]

    [3] Or rather glided. Daniel takes very good care of his car despite not being a 'car person.'

    [4] 'Up' has always struck him as an odd term to use in this sense. Daniel's driveway isn't on a slight incline as most are, but flat with not even a curb to go over.

    [5] Daniel also regards 'into' as he does 'up', considering that there is nothing to make an 'in' to go 'to'.

    [6] See note 1 supra.

    [7] It's not even really a driveway but more like a very short private road.

    [8] Daniel J. Hobart (1975-2036?) has always liked his name, but never diminutive forms like 'Danny', not even as a child when such names are commonplace.

    [9] He had a remote-control lock that made things easier. Or so he'd tell himself since turning around, putting a key in a lock and turning it until you hear the 'snick' could hardly be called 'difficult'.

    [10] Strangely, this use of the word 'up' didn't bother him at all.

    [11] He didn't actually go immediately inside his house, but rather kicked a stone and dawdled a bit before walking to the door and letting himself in.

    [12] Daniel never liked the way the word 'went' sounded, but it was still one of his most used words, next to 'also' and 'um'.[i]
    [i] Which is hardly even a word, really.

    [13] (i.e. his house)