I Am Starting My Own Fight Club

Novel Experiences

I want to start this column off with a bang. To dive into my experiment headfirst, without testing the depth. Since I plan to model my life around a book I had better make it something exciting. Something particularly visceral. Something punchy.

via Amazon.com, published by W. W. Norton & Company

Perhaps, in this case, the obvious choice is the best one.

Fight Club is Chuck Palahniuk’s debut novel. It is searing tale of nihilism and counter-culture rebellion. The story prompts the reader to question the merits of our increasingly capitalistic society and examine even the most basic of our human impulses. The book and the subsequent movie adaptation have become an undeniable cult phenomenon. 

But I digress. Critical praise and cultural examination are not what I’m after here. As you know, the goal of this Novel Experiences project is re-create a book to the best of my ability. To examine its fundamental nature from the inside out. I have, I believe, found a way to do that.

After all, how better to connect with Mr. Palahniuk’s seminal work than by starting my own fight club?

There are many aspects of modern life which leave one feeling unfulfilled. For instance, my marriage, though wholly pleasant, is not without its share of conflict and tedium. My work is intellectually stimulating, but it does not offer a physical release to the stresses that accumulate inside me. Fighting my fellow man in a dark, damp basement provides a method of escape from all that. It is a way for a man to reconnect with his physicality, his primal nature. A fight club allows him to vent the steam of his aggression, away from the judgmental eye of society.

via skeeze

Though this experiment is not a lone endeavor. Not in the slightest. Imagine me, by myself, howling and punching the air in a vain attempt at exercising my demons. I do that enough on a regular basis to know that it is hardly an ideal scenario to accomplish my lofty goals. What any fight club needs is, of course, right there in the name. Fight Club. This is a society. An organization. This pursuit requires camaraderie.

Thus I set out to enlist companions willing to join my pugilistic experiment.

I started, naturally, at the workplace. What better place to tap into the collective conscious of simmering resentment and rage than at the office? I spent the bulk of a work day going from person to person, asking them to join my fight club. The results were disappointing.

Chris Derricks was initially on board, though he backed out when I informed him that there would be no women involved. I believe his words were, “I’m too busy splayin’ lady legs to smash dicks with you guys.”

via Archangel12

In fact, not one of the so-called creative types I approached were the least bit interested in physically venting their frustrations. Clearly my fellow writers are far less willing than I am to confront the existential anguish that grips them at all times.

In total, only one person from The Double Thumb agreed to join: Joaquin, one of our tech nerds whose last name I have not bothered to learn. He jumped at the opportunity with an enthusiasm that matched my own. I know that he is tough enough to handle it. After all, he is the sole survivor of the bear attack in our server room around three years ago. We call him “One-Armed Joaquin” despite the facts that he only lost his hand from the wrist down or that the phrase doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

The next recruit was a waiter at a local diner I frequent. Rugo is certainly tough: big, broad-shouldered, with three domestic violence convictions to his name. He was perhaps a little too stoked when I extended the invitation. He went and flipped off his supervisor and announced to the entire restaurant that he regularly puts his penis in the hamburger meat before I was able to make it clear that I was not hiring him to do anything and he definitely should not quit his job. Nonetheless, with all the time he has off now we do not have to worry about his schedule conflicts when planning our club meetings.

via Arno roca’ s eyes

Lastly is Greg. He is my neighbor and a family man with two young kids. He does have one major quality that makes him perfect for our fight club, though: he is the only one of us who has a basement. He agreed to let us use it, though I did not tell him what it was for. I expect a slight ruckus when he eventually finds out, but I hope to have enough wheels spinning by that point that he is unable to derail the train.

So there we have it. The four of us. We are a small group, no doubt, but one wholly committed to our fledgling fight club. With any luck we shall be bludgeoning each other senseless in no time!


Continue to Part 2: The First Punch


Image credits: Cover kids fighting, Fight Club book, Guys fighting, Black and white guy, Kickass spin kick bros

About Gus Harrington (16 Articles)
Gus quickly became one of today's leading literary critics, despite not yet having any of his own works published. Gus joined The Double Thumb so that he could “offer an intelligent alternative to the mainstream critic community.” Gus is married to his lovely wife Tabitha Harrington. They live in a beautiful beachfront house in La Jolla, California despite both of them having severe sand allergies. Six months out of the year, Gus tours across the country signing other people's books. Keep an eye out for him in your hometown, and be sure to buy an autograph!

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  3. I do like the idea of punching someone in the face but I’m less sold on the idea of someone punching me in return. Is that a common concern among new applicants?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, for sure. Believe me, I hardly feel prepared to take such a beating. Still, I believe it is necessary for the sake of this experiment.

      Strangely enough, I have talked to several people who expressed the exact opposite concern. “Yeah, this club sounds great, but I don’t want to hit anyone,” they’d say. “You guys can punch me as much as you like, though. I’ll just stand there and breathe heavily.”

      I decided not to include them, largely due to the uncomfortable vibes they were putting off. The HR people at my office are strange.

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  4. Dude, Where is your mind? (That is a subtle reference to Fight Club – the movie). I’ve never read the book, but now I’m going to because you made it sound so interesting. Instead of letting people hit you, maybe you should push your physical ya-yas in Trail-Ultra-Running. I do this, and my face is still pretty (and my legs look pretty good too – although the rest of me is skinny like a stray cat).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will admit that the movie does have a better soundtrack than the book.

      I have tried to maintain an active running habit before, but I cannot seem to keep up with it unless someone is holding a gun to my head. For the sake of my physical health I wish I could, but alas I lack the will. I suppose for now I will just have to hope that punching people in basements is a good regimen for cardio.

      Liked by 1 person

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