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On Boredom

January 20, 2010

Work is often tedious. There most likely isn’t a job out there that is at least occasionally boring. While I am not at all complaining about my job since I am very fortunate to be employed, the nature of my employment is such that I have time to reflect on tedium and ways to dull its effects.

Given that time for reflection, I grow increasingly excited about the posthumous publication of David Foster Wallace’s unfinished novel The Pale King. According to an article in the New Yorker, Foster’s last novel deals with the problem of boredom in a mid-western IRS office. After a sprawling novel about entertainment it should be interesting to see his treatment of entertainment’s opposite.

My desire is to replace boredom with engagement; whether it is engaging in conversation with a person close by, an interesting text, or a curious thought.

How do you endure your tedium?

In case you’re curious, published excerpts from The Pale King can be found here, here, here, and here. (I am particularly fond of “All That,” the last link, which was recently published in the New Yorker) Enjoy!

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