He was one of my literary and personal heroes. I saw him speak once at the University of Houston and zip, pow. He looked like he had just come from painting a house, wearing an old tennis shirt and a bandanna covering his head. When he opened his mouth, my first reaction was to feel awe.
I don't remember much of that session a decade ago, although dreams and parents' legacies came up from a conversation with another poet who was speaking as well. Wallace naturally generated smart, lucid paragraph-size thoughts, and it was all I could do to keep up, mentally.
One of the editors for Gulf Coast, the U of H literary magazine, helped get Wallace from the airport and showed him the sights, and was just as awe-struck as I was. By all reports, a really nice, humble guy, survived by his wife and dog.
I have two copies of Infinite Jest, the second as a backup for when I read the first one to death. I tried not to write the sentence that way, but that's how it came out and I can't change it.