Monday, March 26, 2007

I find Chuck Palahniuk's writing personally irrelevant but I'd still like to fight Shigeru Miyamoto

I wasn't yet 30 when Fight Club entered the mainstream consiousness so I couldn't really identify with the main character's 'men without a mission', uberconsumerism angst. I never got caught up in hating myself or my hobbies, which I think is a necessary prerequisite for men hoping to connect with Tyler Durden on a deep personal level. The mid to late nineties were a pretty stable time without much going on in the United States so I could see how men would probably get bored and start beating up each other.

When Fight Club the movie hit theaters in 1999, I was 24, in the military and stationed in South Korea for a year. While Tyler Durden went on about how we had no great war to fight or enemy to worry about, I was living scared day to day worried that North Koreans were going to do chemical weapons to me and run me over with Chinese tanks. Much of the initial premise of the movie didn't apply to me personally but I could still appreciate the viewpoint. Heck, I think even in this post September 11th world much of the book is still probably very relevant to countless men locked in self-loathing induced existential crisises.

I was in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania all last week, tagging along on my wife's business trip. During my vacation there I had a few what I call 'Fight Club moments'. I consider a Fight Club moment a point in time where I do a personaly reality check and ask myself-okay now, are you really truly REALLY REALLY happy? Is this point where you are in life-what you are doing now-what you actually want? These moments of introspection usually happen when a) what I am doing is not exactly what I think other people would consider cool or fun and b) at 30,000 feet when my plane is experiencing moderate turbulence causing it to nosedive like lawn darts.

We checked into a nice hotel downtown and my wife had a conference to attend from 8-5 everyday. Consequently I found myself alone in downtown Pittsburgh with a totally blank schedule for about nine hours every day for a week. I was a little torn between doing fantastically touristy things or things I wanted to really do, which most everybody would consider a waste of a vacation. When I was alone in the hotel each morning I had my Tyler Durden moments. I asked myself, "Okay now are you going to spend the day at the Andy Warhol museum or are you going to blow the day at that comic book store down the street? Would I be checking out the National Aviary or would I go to the library and look for old toy robot ads from the late seventies and early eighties? Those touristy things were undeniably fantastic opportunities. It was a gut wrenching choice. Or maybe it wasn't and I'm still hanging on to the pretense that some part of me thinks art and birds are supposed to be more interesting than robot comics and newspaper ads from 1979.

We got back Friday night and thanks to Pittsburgh I was pretty caught up with my comics and best of all I found over a hundred great newspaper ads. It was a fun time even if I didn't do the traditionally touristy things that would make a visit to Pittsburgh worthwhile in the eyes of the neuro-typicals. As we settled back into our weekend routines I found myself playing five hours of Gamecube Twilight Princess, which I now realize I find very boring. Is it just me or is turning into a video game dog not as exciting as everybody thinks? I need the internet to remind me if I'm supposed to like this dog simulator game because I'm thinking it sucks. If there was any famous guy I'd want to fight right now, it'd definitely be Miyamoto. I wonder if I'd see a little hearts meter above his head depleting ever so slightly as I punch him.

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