A co-worker recently introduced me to an Internet meme that combines the wonkish humor endemic to programmers and their ilk with the high-culture aspirations of literary types such as myself. It’s a supposed lost Nintendo game circa 1990 based on Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. According to the website “it’s an unreleased localization of a Japanese cart called ‘Doki Doki Toshokan: Gatsby no Monogatari.” Of course, those claims are completely bogus. Nintendo never released a Gatsby game here or abroad. But it’s easy to imagine Doki Dok Toshokan as a forgotten treasure recovered from Nintendo’s vault. The graphics are of the two-tone, blocky 8-bit variety, and stylistically everything about it feels like an old-school Nintendo game. The music is so synthetically melodic and completely lacking in tonal subtly that you can almost hear the binary code ticking away behind the scenes. It’s magical in the way that only NES games can be, and once you get accustomed to the awkward interface used to emulate the original Nintendo controller on a keyboard (space bar to jump, the letter Z to shoot), it’s an easy game to master and beat (I completed all four levels in about half an hour during lunch).

kurt suicide scene

A despairing friend called late one night to say that he was looking at a photo of himself as a toddler holding his father’s rifle.

“I have an appointment with that rifle,” he told me. “I’ve always known I was going to end my life with it.”

He’s fine now, thank God, but his remark brought to mind a journal entry I made as a teenager, in which I said that I was sure I was going to kill myself one day; it was only a matter of how and when.