David Foster Wallace: "I Wish You More Than Luck"

YouTube / Howard Koepka
YouTube / Howard Koepka / YouTube / Howard Koepka

On May 21, 2005, author David Foster Wallace gave a commencement address at Kenyon College. His address was dense, funny, brilliant, sad, and at times uplifting. Near the beginning he relates this brief story:

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"

So begins an explanation of what the "water" of adult life is, as DFW saw it (he died in 2008). I first pointed to a video illustrating a portion of his speech in 2013 but it was quickly pulled offline. Now it's back. Set aside ten minutes, clear your mind, and let's connect. (Note that you might not even want to look at the visuals if they distract you; I prefer just listening to this one, despite the nice images.)

If you'd prefer a full written transcript of DFW's remarks, here it is.