Some of my all time favorite books are by Chuck Palahniuk. “Fight Club” and “Choke” are easily my favorites. If I could write like anyone in the world it would be like Chuck Palahniuk…or Kresley Cole. Both authors are amazing, but out of all of their books and out of all the other books I’ve read, “Fight Club” is easily one of my top 5 favorite reads. It’s right up there with “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”, “Lolita” and “Slaughter House Five”. All of Kresley Cole’s books take up spaces in my top 20, but that’s for the pure drool factor that she puts into her books and the fact that reading anything by her always puts a smile on my face.
However, it’s the idea behind “Fight Club” that I love and identify with on a certain level. Not only was it amazingly written, told and all around great, but seeing all of these characters working in their jobs that they obviously hated really just struck a cord with me. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been hired on for some amazing job opportunities, but there have been a few times where I would have preferred to straddle a cactus naked than go to work that day. That week. That month…or ever.
Like tutoring at an English as a second language school. Between the social, cultural and economic barriers, it was a hard job for me to deal with. But add in the fact that these kids were going to schools like the University of British Columbia, Capilano College (now Capilano University), Douglas College and Simon Fraser University and taking courses where you need to be able to speak English to be in the course and I was done. I was even more done when I found out that prior to moving here most of these kids had gotten someone to lie about their ESL scores so they could get into a school here in British Columbia and overall annoy me because a few of them will usually end up in class with me.
Long story short, once I got fed up with trying to teach the differences between a pair or pears, verbs and how to order coffee in English, I stopped teaching real English and started teaching them how to not only order coffee, but all sorts of fun slang that is in no way useful for Asian kids who are in Canada to go to school. “Gotta” was how you were supposed to write “got to” and it was perfectly ok to drop the “F-bomb” because it was a proper adjective, noun, verb and subject when used properly.
I know that karma will some day royally back hand me, but until then…I really didn’t like that job.
On the upside, I turned it into something fun. Sure a few kids wound up learning something they shouldn’t have learned, but when you move to an English speaking country, you should probably show up knowing the basics of that country’s particular language. It’s also a reason not to lie about being able to speak that language, because some meaner bo beaner is going to teach you have to use the F-word so you’ll put it in your papers and things like that.
But what I read in “Fight Club” was the fact that these men all had really crappy jobs that they hated and that they had bought into this institution of what you’re supposed to do in life and they wound up in boring jobs that made them unhappy so they could get stuff. And I’m not going to give a total run down of the book, you should read it yourselves, but just reading it really makes me passionate about doing what I want to do and doing what I want to do instead of following along with the social norms expected of me.
And weirdly, it isn’t easy doing the things that I love to do and want to do because I really don’t know what I want to do anymore. I jump back and forth between wanting to finish my degree purely for me and then wanting to finish it so people will leave me the hell alone about getting my degree. Other times finishing my degree is a stepping stone to being free to do the things that I want to do…and then it gets complicated after that. In the end, I’m finishing my degree because I started it and I’ve really lost track of the “why” of why I’m busting my butt to get a piece of paper that means I have to get another piece of paper to really matter in this world.
Honestly, my biggest goal in life right now is to finish my degree and then live in New Orleans for 3-6 months just to be in a place where no one knows my name and spend all of that time exploring and writing.
Outside of that, I have a million goals and I don’t know whether they are my own or whether they stem from wanting to follow the social norms I’ve gotten used to following over the years.
Don’t get me wrong, society is great. I love some of my material belongings like my laptop because they connect me to the world and allow me to write a blog that can be seen around the world rather than keeping a journal that no one will ever see. I’m actually convinced that the secret to life and death has passed through my mind at one point in my lifetime and I missed it because I didn’t write it down or had no way of sharing it with someone. And yes, money is the root of all evils, absolute power corrupts absolutely and there is a ton of stuff wrong with this world, but I’m pretty sure that all of that stuff is better than potential other stuff.
Like a lack of freedom. Freedom of choice is a beautiful thing to have and with that freedom we’ve someone arrived at shining vampires, teenage girls acting like street hookers out to get their fix’s, poverty and countries hiding nuclear weapons, but without it, Hitler probably would have won the war and I wouldn’t be here writing today.
Yes, I’m over-exaggerating. The point is, social norms have their place, but at some point in my life, something has got to give. Now this is my life and not anyone else, so don’t confuse that with me speaking in generalities. At some point I’ve got to have the guts to stop following social norms and what’s expected of me and do what I really want to to. And do what I’m really passionate about.
Of course at that point I’ll have to figure that stuff out and until then I’m sure I’ll have more crappy jobs and do all sorts of things I hate in the name of getting a higher education, a better job and dental, but at least I’m cognizant of the fact that at some point something has to give. I know that at some time in my life, I’m going to have to grow a pair and say that I’m ok with being marginalized as some crazy eccentric and do what I want to do…because being selfish is fun.
The idea of living in New Orleans and not caring about the fact that Japan is the next Atlantis, people all over the world are starving, First Nations issues is Canada are rampant and growing and not trying to make a difference in the world is an idea that I love. I honestly don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life and I’ve gone from being 18 and having a 5 year plan with 10 year goals to being happy to know what I’m doing for the next semester. And I’m ok with that.
Well I’m not ok with taking a stats course, but I’m happy that I have a pseudo-plan.
But in the end, I can name one goal that is purely for me and my passion and I think I’m going to stick to it. That’s the idea I’ve gotten from reading “Fight Club” 20+ times and why it’s in my top 5 favorite books.