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.
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.
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.”
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.
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!