four: they win, and you lose.


chuck klosterman’s killing yourself to live: 85% of a true story is one of my favorite books. i have read it many times, but i can still remember the first. it’s 2005, and i’m unwrapping the pre-order package on my old leather couch, giddy with excitement like an adolescent on a first date. i tried to approach the book reasonably and began with the intention to read the first few chapters and finish my linguistics paper. that plan failed miserably. i ended up pulling an all-nighter to accomplish both.

this book isn’t especially poignant, but i’ve always had a thing for the way chuck klosterman writes. everything about him seems so natural. reading his books is like being in college when it’s the middle of july. it’s hot outside. you’re restless, and maybe a little sad. so you invite a close friend over to drink sweaty beers on the back porch and discuss life throughout the night. to put it simply: they make me laugh, pull a bit at nostalgic heartstrings, and turn me into a klosterman-quoting-fiend for the next few days. oh, my. you have to read this excerpt. it’s just so ______ (funny, true, simple, relevant).

it’s nearing the end of the book, and my eyelids are heavy. i get to this excerpt and sit straight up in my chair. i know exactly what he is trying to say. exactly who this person for me is and the aberrant, somewhat loathsome qualities i’ve come to love in so many after him. i’m sure my expression turned to something ridiculous like a cartoon character’s light-bulb realization. as time goes on, this is still one of my favorite quotes. probably because i remember the moment so clearly, but also because, to me, it is timeless.

years later, i’m driving to atlanta with a heartsick friend. we’re talking about lost loves and the sting of heartbreak when this quote pops into my head. i look for the exact wording on my phone, and we share a moment of solace both thinking, fuck yes, chuck. and truer words were never written.


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About stephemera

I drink too much unsweetened iced tea, sleep too little and laugh too loud, all while creating something new every day and trying to remember there is beauty in everything.

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