21 years. You could even say more because it was 21 years since it was published. Gestational periods vary on a first born. So his baby grew up into a privileged college junior who probably took one of his own classes and showed up, feeling superior and special, clever and ironic, and pissed him off so much that when it graduated early he thought there was nothing more to do but hang himself.
Now, his child, fresh out of college and entering the workforce, can do nothing but slave away in the marketplace and die the same anonymous death that most of the masses face, never reaching the level of fame or renown as it's father. Sure, people talk about it, but talking about its birth and growth is not the same as appreciating its accomplishments, the things it was able to do on its own, the lives it transformed, single-handedly, without any help from Daddy.
It's sad, though, because its father is always in its shadow now-- and that becomes part of the narrative of its own life-- did it cause his death? The question is as unanswerable as why it was born.
DFW 2/21/62 - 9/12/08