The peculiar thing about the Father & Son Market is that, given the extremely small role it plays in the novel, it might as well have been a complete invention. And yet it most certainly was not: Father & Son was and very much still is a convenience store on Comm. Ave. where you can purchase things (bottled water, in my boring case) as characters do in the novel: where Hal buys candy, where Mario is given yellow tea, and where Avril buys Benson & Hedges at $5.60 a pack (for all of Wallace’s prescience, cigarette tax hikes were apparently one thing he failed to envision).
I’m having a hard time putting my finger on why this discovery surprises me so much: this series has already covered the curious fact that Wallace turned the extraordinarily sensitive location of his own former substance abuse recovery facility into a primary setting for this novel, even if he did change its name. Yet the Father & Son Market is no more than 100 yards distant, essentially unchanged in its transition to the page.
To be fair, Father & Son Market is entirely unremarkable, a place no one in the neighborhood would expect to appear in an iconic novel, and which no reader of said novel would expect to find in real life. But let’s also consider that the (often strained) relationships of fathers and sons is a strong theme in Infinite Jest, represented most significantly by the line of Incandenza men, from Mario Sr. to his great-grandsons who are among the story’s main characters.
My assumption, then, is that Wallace simply enjoyed the serendipity too much to bother with renaming what almost no one would recognize in the first place.